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LGBT student supporters gathered around Baker Center to protest anti-LGBT Christian evangelists on Sept. 14, 2015. (FILE)

OU's Pride Week will highlight the gender binary

Ohio University’s 2018 Pride Week will focus on “disrupting the binary.”

“We realized that we definitely reached out to a lot of communities, but this is a community that we haven't really reach out and put thought into expressing,” Jesse Keller, vice-commissioner of LGBTQA Affairs for OU Student Senate, said. “Our commission decided that we wanted to focus this year on … identities beyond the ones that have been generally accepted and things like that to make those people feel validated.”

The gender binary refers to how most people identify as male or female, but some might categorize their own gender as being both genders or neither, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Other terms that relate to the experience include nonbinary, genderqueer and agender. 

Unlike previous Pride Weeks, OU Student Senate will collaborate with The Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St., Athens High School and the Athens County Public Library, 30 Home St., to host events outside the university. 

Among the events planned include a movie screening of Dee Rees’ Pariah, as well as a children’s book reading event. 

“Our commission really wanted to … make it more or a conjoined and united sort of activist community, and one of the ways we did that is by partnering with different groups that have the same ideas and same mission that we do,” Keller, a junior studying acting and screenwriting, said. “It’s kind of a positive thing to make it more focused on reaching out to each other as members of the community.”

Brock Zahler, a sophomore studying communication, believes that talking about the gender binary shows OU is becoming more inclusive.

“It think it’s really great, and I’m glad we have something for everyone here, especially for younger freshmen,” Zahler said. “… It gives them a positive experience in college.”

Although Pride Week is often seen as an activist event to spread awareness and messages about what needs to be done to improve equality for LGBT individuals, Keller believes it can also be viewed as a time to celebrate the progress that has been made for LGBT individuals throughout the years. 

“Pride Week is all about … reminding people that they are not alone and there is hope. There is connection, and it is a reason to celebrate and an identity to celebrate,” Keller said. “It’s really a week extended to expanding the community and making people feel welcomed and accepted.”


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