LGBTQIA Week explors rights progress, perils

By Allison Hand - Staff Reporters



Recent achievements in LGBTQIA rights are being threatened in the age of Donald Trump, say organizers of Highline's LGBTQIA Week, which begins Monday.

That issue and more will be discussed during the five-day observance keyed to National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11.

National Coming Out Day was established in 1988 to encourage members of the LGBTQIA community to, as the most basic form of activism, publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation. The date commemorates the 1987 National March on Washington, D.C. for gay and lesbian rights.

In the past, Highline observances have extended over the entire month of October, but organizers this year say they're condensing the program and will focus on protecting recent gains in LGBTQIA community rights.

Co-chairman Angie Hunckler said that progress is being threatened in the age of Trump and that issue will be a topic of discussion. The week's theme is Protecting Our Progress.

Co-chairman Dominique Austin said "...working toward an inclusive community and campus," is what he looks to achieve this coming week.

Events kick off Monday, Oct. 9 with a discussion titled En-storying Resistance led by Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill, a (non-citizen) Cherokee Two-Spirit and Queer writer, activist and performer also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee and Osage ascent.

According to the schedule, Dr. Driskill will use "poetry, history, and personal story to address how telling the stories of Indigenous and LGBTQ+ peoples can contribute to social transformation, resistance, healing, and imaginings of a decolonized future."

The event is co-sponsored by Academic Affairs and will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Building 7.

On Tuesday, PFLAG, an organization whose mission is to support families, allies and people who are LGBTQ, will visit from noon-1:30 p.m. for a panel and discussion. PFLAG is well-known in the LGBTQ community for its constant avocation of equal rights and positive attitudes for LGBTQ members.

On Wednesday, a LGBTQIA Resource Fair, the first of this kind on campus, will enlighten students about available help. Multiple resources, from both on campus and in the community will be gathering together to support the health and wellness of the LGBTQIA community. The fair will be in the Student Union from noon-2 p.m. Those who attend will be greeted by a DJ, photo booth and the opportunity to receive prizes. All students and staff are encouraged to attend, including those who do not identify with LGBTQIA.

"It's about the educational experience," said Hunckler. "Don't be afraid to immerse yourself."

On Thursday, Dean Spade, an associate professor at the Seattle University of Law, will discuss current conflicts within the LGBTQIA community.

Spades' Fight to Win! Critical Trans Resistance in Scary Times talk will be in Building 7 from 1:30-3 p.m. This discussion will "explore how contemporary movements are developing transformative approaches and practices to address questions in the face of worsening conditions of wealth concentration, state violence, and climate chaos."

On Friday, to conclude LGBTQIA Week, artist Syd Emmanuel Arrojo will be at the Academic Success Center from 9-10:30 a.m.

Arrojo "uses personal experiences to create messages that focus on life lessons such as the art of healing, faith, love, and transformation by sharing a unique blend of a personal story [that] contains multiple marginalized identities along with universal truths of nature."

All students, staff, and members of the community are eligible to attend these free events.

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Suicide Stopped

An alert Highline staff member and local public safety officers helped stop a potential suicide on campus last week. While a staff member was working, he noticed a suspicious male wandering the East Lot around 6:25 a.m. May 25. The staff worker called Highline Public Safety who responded to find the individual running around with a rope in his hands, looking for a place to possibly hang himself. This prompted Public Safety to contact Des Moines Police and South King County Fire and Rescue. By the time first responders came to the scene, the distraught man climbed into a tree near Building 99, ready to use the rope on himself. First responders talked to the man, successfully convincing him to come down from the tree. After the turmoil settled the individual was transported to a nearby hospital for an evaluation. Sgt. George Curtis of Public Safety said this was the first time he has encountered someone attempting to endanger their own life on campus.

Staff member passes out

Public Safety said the actions of the staff member who reported the incident is an excellent example of how “see something, say something” could potentially save a life. A staff member was reported to have passed out in Building 4 at 8:10 a.m. The person was sitting in their chair when they lost consciousness, then fell out, hitting their head on the ground. Public Safety arrived but the staff member refused any medical treatment.

Late night fast food runs a no-no

A suspicious car was spotted on campus at 1:35 a.m. on May 28 by a Public Safety officer. The car was occupied by two students and parked between buildings 29 and 22. The two students had gone to Jack in the Box and decided to eat the fast food on campus. They were told by the officer to leave because campus was closed.


Learn all about Safe Zones

Allies of the LGBTQIA community along with faculty and staff will be hosting a Safe Zones training program, next month. Safe Zones is a program identifying individuals in the school community who are safe and supportive allies of LGTBQIA students and faculty. The Safe Zones training is put on by Highline’s Multicultural Affairs organization. The program is about learning more about the queer community and to build skills to use on the Highline campus and out in other communities. The LGBTQIA Taskforce has been working on creating a basic curriculum for the Safe Zones training that not only provides information that may seem basic or simple. Anyone is welcome to the Safe Zones training. The training will be June 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Writing Center, Building 26 room 319i.

Annual Vicom Portfolio Show is next week

Highline is hosting its annual portfolio show next week. Design students will show off their work and achievements on June 5 - 6. The show is in Building 8, Mt. Olympus room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.

Faculty awards nominations due

The annual vote for Highline’s Outstanding Faculty Awards has been extended June 5. The Highline College Foundation provides two $1,500 awards to be presented to Highline College’s Outstanding Faculty of the Year. Nominations can be made by any student, staff member, faculty member or administrator of Highline. A person may make only one nomination for each award. Further detainominations need to consist of written statements from both the nominator and then a second reference that gives specific emphasis to the nominee’s contribution to education at Highline. Nominations need to be submitted to the Selection Committee in the Office of Instruction, Mailstop 9-2, by 5 p.m. on June 5.

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