GU Pride Comes Out for OUTober
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 02:10
GU Pride’s OUTober is taking on the intersection of sexuality and socioeconomic factors in its month-long celebration of LGBTQ identity.
GU Pride President Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) said that this year’s focus on socioeconomics is intended to broaden OUTober’s appeal to a larger community.
“On a basic level, we engage everyone at Georgetown, but the reason why [OUTober is] important for Georgetown as an institution is by raising awareness about the LGBTQ community, you fight back against things that weren’t as public five years ago, like violence against gay students,” he said.
At an event last Wednesday, “Beyond Gay Marriage: Race, Class and the Future of the LGBTQ Movement,” six panelists discussed how other factors, like immigrant status, class and race, affect the LGBTQ community.
One of the panelists, Kimberley McLeod (COL ’09), urged students to embrace multiple sides of their identities. McLeod is the founder and editor-in-chief of Elixher, an online magazine catering to the black female queer community.
By accepting her identity as a black lesbian, McLeod said she is able to embrace her individuality.
“I exist as a totality of who I am,” McLeod said.
The panelists also said that the gay movement should support causes beyond gay marriage. Panelist Urooj Arshad, who advocates for the LGBTQ community in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, talked about how homosexuals face violence and discrimination.
Sticking with traditional OUTober events, students walked through a door in Red Square on Coming Out Day last Friday, allowing them to “come out” as LGBTQ or an ally.
PBS, which produces a Religion and Ethics newsweekly, filmed the event for an episode exploring the identities of Catholic colleges. According to Lloyd, PBS wanted to investigate the balance Georgetown achieved as a Catholic institution that has such an active and vibrant LGBTQ community.
Celeste Chisholm (COL ’15), the trans* representative for GU Pride, appreciated the distinctive balance.
“We are a Catholic school, and the fact that we can do something like this, I think, is indicative of a lot of understanding between two traditionally polarized groups,” Chisholm said. “I think doing that allows a conversation to be started and it also sets a precedent for other schools like ours.”
Pride started planning the month-long program last April and had speakers lined up over the summer with some support and funding from the LGBTQ Center.
Lloyd said that during OUTober, Pride had to be aware of other events occurring simultaneously that affected the LGBTQ community. He specifically cited Love Saxa events this month that brought speakers whom Lloyd described as homophobic.
“During OUTober, we have to have a heightened sensitivity towards events that happen during the same time,” Lloyd said. “Because it took place during OUTober, Pride had to have a presence. You can’t let that sort of speaker go when it’s our month.”
Lloyd expressed his hope that students will glean a sense of understanding from OUTober.
“By having some of the events about different identities, I hope students get a fuller understanding about themselves,” Lloyd said. “I think that our focus for OUTober is very Jesuit in that we’re forcing people to engage all aspects of their identity and focus on unpacking the intersections of those identities.”