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2008 Spring Issue 3 (April 25, 2008)

“Hate on the Margins” follows PRIDE Banquet in order to address diversity during Pride Month

April 25, 2008
By Beth Budnick

The GSC’s Pride Month continued last night with “Hate on the Margins,” an event drawing attention towards the often-ignored issue of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) people of color.

Angelica Johnson ‘08 and Dominic Vendell ’09 organized the night. Presentations, made by fellow Carleton students, included the reading of song lyrics, poetry pieces, and descriptions of violence against LGBT people of color.

Specific pieces included a reading of Lauryn Hill’s song “Adam Lives in Theory” by Chelsea Rae ’09 and a recitation of Lenelle Moïse’s “The Fuck You Now Manifesto” by Jessica Brooks ’09. Chantel Johnson ’10 and Angelica Johnson read poems by Stacy Ann Chin, the black lesbian-feminist activist who visited Carleton for a performance during winter term.

Many of the presentations documented specific instances of violence against LGBT people of color. Recent hate crimes such as the assault of the four teenage lesbians known as the New Jersey 4 and the murders of Lawrence King and Michael Sandy were recognized, with the gruesome and tragic events detailed. Each presentation was concluded by lighting a candle for the victim of violence.
Additionally, Vendell and Johnson showed the short documentary “Cop Watch” from the group FIERCE, a community organization for LGBT youth of color in New York City. The clip described incidences of targeted police brutality and harassment against LGBT on Pier 40 in Manhattan.
The night ended with an a capella song performance by Raymonda Reese ’09, after which “Hate Against the Margins” attendees were invited to participate in discussion questions related to the topics of the readings.

A week earlier, LGBT issues were in the spotlight again at the annual Pride Banquet, held on Friday April 17. The event featured senior reflections, an alumna guest speaker, mingling among LGBTQA community and, of course, plenty of food. Roughly 150 people attended the event, sponsored by the Pride Month Committee, the CSA, the GSC and the Human Sexuality Endowment Fund.

This year’s guest speaker was Renee Willette ’02, who, since her graduation from Carleton as a Political Science major, has engaged in various types of nonprofit work, currently in the field of racial justice. Willette is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California – Berkeley.

Willette spoke on her experience of being queer at Carleton after “coming out” at age 19—“which makes me nine in gay years,” she joked. However, Willette switched gears in her speech to emphasize that since graduating from Carleton, she has learned not to “come out” but, instead, to “be out,” a distinction she highlighted. Rather than hand-holding new colleagues and acquaintances in explaining her sexuality, Willette encouraged both herself and banquet attendees to “be out” and let others react accordingly and grow.

After Willette’s speech, senior guitar duo Mal Hoffman and Melissa Schwartau played a selection of songs, followed by senior guitarist Taylor Ross.

Later in the night, the entire student body was invited to partake in the festivities of a drag show, brought to Carleton by the drag queens and kings of the Gay 90s club in Minneapolis.

Pride Month wraps up next week with no shortage of events. On Monday, the musical duo Coyote Grace will be leading the sex and anatomy workshop “Mapping Desire: Intro to Pleasure-Based Anatomy” at 8 p.m. in the GSC. On Tuesday, the group will lead two more workshops, both on transgender issues. “Trans 101: FTM Transition Based on a First-Hand Account” will be at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, and “Transitioning Together: Shifting Identities, Visibility, and Hanging in There” will be at 5 p.m. Pride Month will conclude with a Coyote Grace concert in the Cave at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.

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