LGBTQ Center at URI hosts week-long symposium, “Pioneers of Pride”

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KINGSTON, R.I. – March 13, 2013 – Would you like to learn more about gender equity in the college classroom, the rise of HIV infection among gay men in Rhode Island, or unsung heroes and heroines in the history of the LGBTQ community?

These topics and more will be explored at a weeklong symposium this month hosted by the LGBTQ Center at the University of Rhode Island. All events are free and open to the public.

“Our theme, Pioneers of Pride, reflects people and approaches to issues that are revolutionary,” said Annie Russell, director of the LGBTQ Center. “We have a variety of programs and events, some performance in nature, while others discussion or workshop in approach. Come join us for all the events!”

The celebration will kick off Thursday, March 21, with a LGBTQ breakfast from 10 a.m. to noon at the Memorial Union, Atrium 1. A Safe Zone Workshop, a two-hour LGBTQ 101 training, will follow from 1 to 3 p.m., Room 203, in the Multicultural Center.

Later that night, writer Barrie Jean Borich will talk about her book, The Body Geographic, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Hardge Forum at the Multicultural Center. Borich is an assistant professor of creative writing at DePaul University in Chicago.

Her memoir explores the hardships of her immigrant ancestors to the travails of her youth, from the changing demographics of Midwestern cities to her personal journey coming out and living as a lesbian.

More talks are scheduled for Friday, March 22: 10 to 11 a.m., “Sung and Unsung Heroes in LGBTQ History,” Room 318, Memorial Union; from noon to 1 p.m., “Embracing Our Identify As Spiritual and Sexual Beings,” Room 318, Memorial Union; 2 to 3 p.m., “The Silent Epidemic of HIV in Rhode Island Among Gay Men: Challenges and Opportunities,” Room 318, Memorial Union.

Also on March 22, free and confidential HIV testing will be offered at the LGBTQ Center, Room 111, in Adams Hall. The testing is sponsored by Aids Project Rhode Island.

Bring your spirit to “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Buffy the Vampire Slayer” from 8 to 10 p.m., later that evening in Edwards Auditorium, performed by RKO Army.

Students can find their fashion voices on Saturday, March 23, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Providence Place Mall. They can gather in front of the Memorial Union at 1 p.m. and take a RIPTA bus to the mall – or they can meet there.

Sunday, March 24, from 1 to 3 p.m., an interfaith community service will be at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at the University of Rhode Island, 35 Lower College Road.

More talks are scheduled for Monday, March 25, 10 to 11 a.m., “Gender Inclusion in the Classroom,” LGBTQ Center (Adams Hall, Room 111); 11 a.m. to noon, “Using Qualitative Methods to Study Identity, Intersectionality, and Meaning Making in College Students with Multiple Identities,” Room 318, Memorial Union; 1:30 to 3 p.m. “Break the Silence: Concerning Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in the LGBTQ Community,” Women’s Center; and 4 to 6 p.m., “History of LGBT Life in Rhode Island and at the University,” Memorial Union, Atrium 2.

On Tuesday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a talk called, “Trans 101,” in the Hardge Forum, Multicultural Center. The talk will focus on transgender and gender topics and issues. Only those who have attended another Safe Zone Workshop can participate in the seminar.

Also on Tuesday, a talk about reducing the stigma of mental illness will be from 1 to 2 p.m., Room 318, in the Memorial Union, and a talk about diversity and social change movements will be from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Hardge Forum at the Multicultural Center. “Honoring Passover: A Public Seder Celebration” will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Hardge Forum at the Multicultural Center.

The symposium will continue on Friday, March 27, with three events: 10 to 11:30 a.m., “The Making of It Gets Better,” Women’s Center; 1 to 2 p.m. “Who’s Out? Who’s In? Becoming Gay in Post-Stonewall New York,” Room 360, Memorial Union; and 7 to 9 p.m., “HIV Prevention Meets Catwalk: Condom Fashion Show.” There is a $7 admission to the show, in the Memorial Union ballroom.

Sponsors of the symposium are URI’S LGBTQ Center, FACE AIDS, URI’S Multicultural Center, URI’s Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity, URI’s Women’s Center, the English Department, Gender and Women’s Studies, St. Augustine’s Church, the Hillel Center, AIDS Project Rhode Island, RKO Army, URI’s LGBT+ Alumni Group, Disability Services, Partners in Health, CondomNation, and URI’s Fashion Merchandising Society.

For more information, please call the LGBTQ Center at 401-874-2894 or email Annie Russell at . Also, please visit the center’s Facebook page at

Photo courtesy of LGBTQ Center.