Despite the challenges members of the LGBT community face each day, there is one week out of the year that they come together to show their pride for who they are.
Starting Monday, Ohio University’s Student Senate LGBT Commission — along with the help of Open Doors, SHADES, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, Black Student Union, SAC and the LGBTA Center — will present Pride Week.
Pride Week, which began as Visibility Week in 1992, is commemorated each year to celebrate the LGBT community and educate non-LGBT people about discrimination, issues and terms related to the LGBT community, according to a press release.
The education and experiences that are involved in Pride Week are very important to OU as a whole, said Amelia Shaw, Student Senate’s LGBT affairs commissioner.
“Pride Week is important because there are many events for straight and cis-gendered people each day, so this is a time set aside for the LGBT community,” Shaw said.
The week has 10 official events ranging from a discussion on religion and sexuality to a knitting circle. There is also an annual keynote speaker, which Shaw said is planned almost a year in advance.
After each Pride Week, attendees are given a survey indicating their suggestions for next year. The speaker is then chosen based on the result of the surveys.
“Last year, we had a gay male come in and give a speech,” Shaw said. “After the surveys last year, there seemed to be a big push for a trans-identified speaker.”
To try to meet that demand, this year’s keynote speaker is Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C.
Keisling is a transgender-identified woman and parent. Keisling has appeared multiple news outlets and is one the leading speakers for transgender equality, according to a press release.
Mickey Hart, head of the LGBTA Center, said that Keisling’s appearance is relevant to many of the issues that that the center has been focusing on this year.
“This year we have put a pretty big focus on helping people focus on gender expression more than in the past,” Hart said. “We really wanted to compliment that by bringing her in to speak.”
Though Pride Week focuses on LGBTA issues, both Hart and Shaw agree that it also celebrates the issues even within the community.
“The LGBT community is very diverse and very far ranging,” Hart said. “In the LGBT community, while there is a lot in common, there are a lot of differences. I think that is what Pride Week helps to show.”
If You Go
What: Discussion On Religion and Sexuality
When: 6 p.m. Monday
Where: Multicultural Center, Baker Center room 205
What: SafeZone Training
When: 2-4 p.m. Tuesday
Where Baker Center Room 233
What: Keynote Speaker: Mara Keisling
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Walter Hall Rotunda
What: Dine and Discuss with Mara Keisling
When: 12-1 p.m. Wednesday
Where: LGBTA Center Baker Room 354
What: Knitting With Pride
When: 3-5 p.m. Wednesday
Where: LGBTA Center Baker Room 354
What: Racism in the LGBT Community and Homophobia in the African American
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Multicultural Center Baker Room 205
What: Open Doors’ Variety Show
When: 10:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Casa Cantina, 4 W State Street
What: Free Anonymous HIV Testing
When: 10:30 a.m-3:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Baker University Center
What: Volunteer with United Campus Ministry’s Saturday Lunch
When 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday
Where: UCM 18 North College Street
What: Open Doors’ Casa Dance
When: 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday
Where: Casa Cantina, 4 W. State Street