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.