A month filled with educational, engaging opportunities is underway this October: GLBTQ Awareness Month.
GLBTQ = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning.
So far, I’ve been to three events for GLBTQ month. Monday during my lunch break, I went to the brown bag lunch with Shelby Knox, hosted by the Texas Tech Women’s Studies program. Shelby, a Lubbock Native and subject of the 2005 documentary The Education of Shelby Knox, travels the country speaking and organizing for comprehensive sex education. She has appeared on many TV shows — Dr. Phil, Today Show, Daily Show just to name a few — and has testified before Congress (the sound is messed up, but that’s the best clip I could find on YouTube). It was a great discussion, and I learned a lot.
Monday night I attended a fascinating panel discussion about “outing,” and the sometimes unforseen consequences of outing someone who doesn’t want to be out. Being “out” can sometimes be an emotional minefield where individuals are out to one group, but not to others — e.g. out to friends and family but closeted at work. Modern socializing, especially via social networking sites like facebook, can make accidental disclosure more likely or more devastating. It was another great discussion, and I learned a lot there too.
Tuesday night, I saw the film “Shelby Knox Redux” a 40-minute film designed for public education in California. It summarizes the contents of The Education of Shelby Knox and includes Shelby’s recent (late 2008) return visit to Lubbock, where she visited with her family, LGBT activists including 2005 co-star Ricky Waite, the welcoming congregation at St. John’s Methodist Church, and (of course) conservative pastor Ed Ainsworth (aka “Sex Ed”). A panel of people who were in the film answered audience questions after the film, and the discussion was excellent. Once again, I learned a lot.
Here are some things I learned from three events over two days:
Lubbock has had a 200% increase in HIV/AIDS cases from 2006 to 2009, and that Lubbock media (with the exception of the Avalanche-Journal Editorial Board earlier this year — kudos to them!) has been silent about it.
LISD still has abstinence-only sex education in schools, if there is any sex education at all. Parents have a right to see the curriculum for sex education / health that their children are being taught. Reviewing these materials would be a good starting point for talking to LISD administration about getting comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education. Planned Parenthood has a comprehensive sex education program called “Straight Talk” that is available for families and could supplement what is taught in school.
Here’s a great internet resource for comprehensive sex education in Lubbock: ChangingLubbock.com.
Here’s a blog about transsexual issues at TTU: TransTTU. One of the most relevant struggles for transsexuals right now is adding unisex bathrooms wherever possible, and the TransTTU blog is starting a list of venues that have unisex bathrooms.
There are plenty of exciting events throughout October as part of GLBTQ Awareness month. Here are few that interest me:
* 2 free screenings of the 2008 film “Milk”
* GLBTQ Allies training
* The Laramie Project epilogue, ten years later
A pdf calendar of events for the entire month is available.