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Film festival promotes LGBT awareness

By | April 25, 2013 | News

Sexuality was the hot topic at a film and panel discussion held in the library Wednesday, geared towards the struggles of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Just one of the events held during Diversity Awareness Week around campus, a screening of the documentary ‘Anyone and Everyone’ was shown at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Following the final screening, a discussion took place in which a panel of LGBT people talked about their personal experiences.

The film focused on sharing the stories of parents with gay children, emphasizing this is a social issue affecting all American families regardless of cultural diversities.

From places such as California, Oklahoma and Rhode Island, the personal accounts were from people of multiple ethnicities and religions. Whether white and Mormon, Indian and Hindu, Italian and Roman Catholic, or Cherokee origin, the filmmaker Susan Schutz showed homosexuality is found in all walks of life.

Delving into the struggles faced by LGBT individuals, the documentary also highlighted the pains behind their experiences in coming out. With the reactions of disappointment, shame and blame appearing repetitively, the film showed there is still progress yet to be made in diminishing homophobia.

This notion of spreading understanding about the LGBT community is a core aim of the organizations behind the event, the Allies Network and Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institution. As Jennifer Crow, a representative of the Allies Network, explained, raising awareness is vital in acceptance.

“We just think it’s important that people are aware of the issues the LGBT community faces, the intolerance,” Crow said. “Hopefully this will shift people’s understanding, to understand these issues and be more sympathetic.”

For Crow, the ultimate goal is not just to have acceptance, but celebration.

“We want to be celebrating! I’m going past tolerance, as I think tolerance is only halfway,” she said. “I want to be able to celebrate everyone’s diversity and that includes the LBGT community.”

The documentary touched on the idea of discrimination against the LGBT community being an injustice based on ignorance. In Crow’s opinion, college is a great avenue to break down that ignorance and instead gain knowledge about such issues.

“I think university is where people widen their understandings, widen their minds,” she said. “So I think this is the perfect place to show these types of things.”

However, as student Sydney Pease believes, such films and events need to also be brought more into the wider community.

“It would be very important if parents of gay children saw this film, rather than just students at this school,” Pease said. “If we could get it out there in the community, I think it’d do a lot more to help.”

As a young person connected to members of the LGBT community, Pease still thinks awareness on campus can progress.

“I’ve gone to many LBGT events on campus, and it’s never a very good turn out,” she explained. “But I feel like if we get out there a little bit and get more people to see it, then people will feel better about the LGBT community.”

While events are regularly organized, too often students are oblivious of what is going on around campus, Conrad Weston Monreal said.

While he knew it was Diversity Awareness Week, a lack of promotion and marketing meant he knew nothing about the specific programs offered.

“The only reason I knew it was Diversity Week was because of a big sign,” Monreal said. “If they were to promote a specific time, it might get more interest.”

As Crow emphasized, with greater advertising of events, a university can help contribute to the awareness of the adversity faced by the LGBT community.

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