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Thursday, October 8, 2015

OSU Queer History Month hits front page of student newspaper

Pride Center Celebrates Queer History, OSU barometer Oct. 8, 2015, p. 1

PHOTO: Front page of the student newspaper featured the Oregon State University's OSU Pride Center annual OSU Queer History Month celebration. See Julie Cooper, "Pride Center celebrates Queer History," OSU Barometer, Thu. Oct. 8, 2015, p. 1, OSU "Pride Center Programs, Queer History Month (October)," accessed Oct. 8, 2015 , Pride Center Programs page accessed Oct. 9, 2015 and "Oregon State Queer Archives is screening a documentary film made by our friend Kiah McConnell about the history of OSU's LGBTQ+ community. Come watch it on the 5th floor of the Valley Library TODAY starting at 4pm! See you there!," Oct. 7, 2015. The student newspaper article quotes, "PJ Harris, a second year theater major and Peer Facilitator at the Pride Center addressed the historically sensitive nature of the term "queer," and the LGBTQ+ community's recent reclamation of it. . . 'We recognize that a lot of people, especially depending on generation, location, background, and experience, have issues with the word "queer," said Harris. "We do want to be sensitive to that. However, queer is a word that we feel that the LGBTQ community is trying to take back for itself. A lot of people identify as queer. And we also love all the puns that we can make out of that, such as 'Queervallis.'" (See official OSU press release: Natalia Fernandez, Oregon State university multicultural librarian, "Oregon State Queer Archives to preserve, share history of LGBT experience on campus," posted Sep. 30, 2015))

Oregon State students MasQUEERrade2014 Rainbow Continuum

PHOTO: still frame of "Oregon State University Rainbow Continuum students MasQUEERrade2014" as shown in the OSU student documentary film about the queer history of OSU. See video at about 28:40 minutes: From Natalia Fernandez, "OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film by Kiah McConnell, 2015," Oregon State Queer Archives accessed Oct. 14, 2015. The documentary shows the first gay student meeting notice printed in the student newspaper in 1976 (at about 26:39 minutes) and Stina Goetter, Rainbow Continuum Director 2013-2004, proudly notes that OSU has the oldest college student organization in the Pacific Northwest continuously meeting since 1976, and says with pride, "It is still going!" (About 26:50 minutes) The cultural importance of history and traditions to students, even though they may not fully appreciate the importance, has been known for centuries by successful student groups, such as fraternities and sororities. Ironically, one of the longest traditions at OSU, which is popular with all OSU students, is the annual drag show that is described by a student participant in the film (about 28:40 minutes) -- I say this is ironic because before the Stonewall riot occurred in 1969, the stereotypical gay bar always had a drag queen performer and heterosexual people would commonly confuse drag performers with transgender and gay people. To counter this confusion, Stonewall era gay liberationists tried to publically distance gay people from "drag queens," while secretly enjoying drag performances. This old political concern is not as great today because mainstream society has become much better educated about the continuum of sexual orientation and gender identity as being different from the ancient theatrical art of drag performers. (See official OSU press release: Natalia Fernandez, Oregon State university multicultural librarian, "Oregon State Queer Archives to preserve, share history of LGBT experience on campus," posted Sep. 30, 2015))

On a loosely related and sad note, the student video reminded me of the continuing issue of queer students not feeling free to be themselves, for example, the Native American OSU student who said she could express both of her identities in the OSU Pride Center, but she felt funny about saying she was gay in the Native American student center. Recently, a former OSU freshman (in 2004) committed suicide after being raised by a father and family who are members of an anti-gay church. I must remain silent to avoid any libel because my current opinion is based only on many publically observed facts and I am not privy to any insider information. (See "Corvallis man found dead on Lincoln County beach," posted Oct. 12, 2015, "Obiturary: Thomas R. Heresco," Gazette-Times published Oct. 14, 2015 and Thomas R. Heresco August 9, 1986 - October 9, 2015 Tribute Wall

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