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SIU recognizing LGBTQ+ History Month in October

People holding up rainbow flag
Stavrialena Gontzou
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UnSplash

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is recognizing October as LGBTQ+ History Month with a wide variety of special events and activities.

Angela Towne, LGBTQ+ Resource Center coordinator, said more than 20 events are planned, all open to the public and many free, to inform, affirm, entertain, enlighten, celebrate and bring together the LGBTQ+ community, allies and friends.

“The theme is ‘Celebrating Our Tenacity, Continuing Our Growth,’ and we have received an incredible amount of support and collaboration both from across campus and throughout the greater community,” Towne said.

Begins Sept. 30
The celebration actually begins with an LGBTQ+ Ballroom Extravaganza and Rainbow Café Fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 30, from 7-9 p.m. in the Student Center Ballrooms. The Shades Project will teach Ballroom 101, and competitions will be held. The cost is $7 for community members or $5 for SIU students. Sign up online.

Community Festival open to all
Music, entertainment and fun for all ages is on tap at the free Southern Illinois LGBTQ+ Festival on Saturday, Oct. 1. The event takes place from noon to 5 p.m. at Veteran Memorial Plaza in downtown Carbondale, featuring vendors, games, drag performers such as Rain Foxx and Maxi Glamour, and bands, including Loose Gravel, Jenni and the Housewives and SuperFun Yeah Yeah RocketShip. Afterward, there will be a free youth after-party at the Gaia House from 7-10 p.m. and a bar crawl for those ages 21 and older beginning a Tres Hombres.

 Lydia Nibley, director of the film "Two Spirits."
Photo Provided
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University Communications and Marketing
Lydia Nibley, director of the film "Two Spirits."

Award-winning flicks
Towne said she’s also very excited to be bringing some special award-winning movies to SIU in October. Every Thursday, there will be a free Queer Cinema film from 3-6 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium, with complimentary popcorn, candy and giveaways. After the showing of each film, a guest moderator will host a discussion. The director of the final film, “Two Spirits,” will be on hand for the showing of her movie.

The film schedule is:

  • Oct. 6 — “Moonlight,” the first LGBTQ+ movie to win an Oscar for best picture, is the story of a young Black man struggling with his identity and sexuality as he grows up. H.D. Motyl, associate professor and interim director of the school of theater and dance from the School of Media Arts, will host.
  • Oct. 13 — “A Fantastic Woman,” the best foreign language film of 2017, is the story of a transgender woman, working as a waitress and nightclub singer who must figure out how to deal with the death of her boyfriend. Cristina Castillo, coordinator of the Hispanic/Latinx Resource Center, and Seth Stearns, aquatics coordinator for Recreational Sports and Services, will host.
  • Oct. 20 – “Brother to Brother” is about Black gay men during the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of an older man who meets a gay teen in a New York homeless shelter. This movie won numerous awards despite being released in just three theaters originally. Darryl Clark, assistant professor of musical theater dance, will host.
  • Oct. 27 – “Two Spirits” examines the tragic and senseless death of Navajo youth Fred Martinez, who was murdered at the age of 16 by a man for having the dual traits prized by his culture but not by the rest of the world he lived in. Lydia Nibley, director of the film, will attend the presentation, and after the movie, Nibley will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience. She will also speak to students in classes the preceding day. Wil Clark, director of information technology and chief information officer, will host the movie discussion.
Sonalee Rashatwar, event speaker.
Photo provided
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University Communications and Marketing
Sonalee Rashatwar, event speaker.

Life-changing workshop
Towne said one of the highlights of the month will be the “Body Image is a Social Justice Issue” workshop, 5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Sonalee Rashatwar will speak about alternative concepts of health, and body acceptance as a radical act.

Towne is thrilled to bring Rashatwar, a nonbinary Asian presenter, to campus because “I’ve heard Sonalee speak before about fatphobia, racism, body image and body acceptance, and all I can say is it was transformative and life-changing for me.”

Before the presentation, a free, light meal will be served at 4:30 p.m.

Action-packed month
There will also be a dance, a drag show, additional guest speakers, training sessions, community service activities and much more happening during LGBTQ+ History Month.

Find the complete schedule of events and additional information on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center website.

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