Events and Conversations on Campus Aim to Heighten Awareness, Respect, and Inclusion

October 1, 2014
serious-looking black woman putting on necktie

Wellesley College's LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) Programs and Services office, led by director and advisor Leah Fygetakis, is presenting several events throughout October to observe LGBTQ History Month 2014.

The planned events of note are an exhibition of photography by SD Holman (photo, "Tasha," is from the collection) in Jewett Arts Center running October 3-21, with an artist's reception on October 2; a lecture from writer and radio personality Rev. Irene Monroe '77 on October 8; and comedian Julie Goldman providing laughs on October 23.

In addition, October 11 is International and National Coming Out Day, a day of support and inclusion for individuals whatever their orientation, and often a day that sees pop-up "closets" appear symbolically on campus.

The organizers of National LGBT History Month highlight October as a month for educating and honoring the history and contributions of LGBTQ people and their allies. Each year the organizers take nominations and select 31 people who have made a difference to LGBTQ culture, and celebrate one person a day. This year, October 19 is dedicated to groundbreaking poet and playwright Angelina Weld Grimké. She is listed as a Wellesley alumna of 1902, having attended the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, which became the Department of Hygiene at Wellesley College.

Robbin Chapman, associate provost and academic director of diversity and inclusion, points out that this month is a time of reflection and pride for the entire campus community. “It provides a moment to look back and to appreciate the work of those who blazed the trail.”

She also notes that the recent wave of international anti-LGBTQ legislation (in Russia, India, Uganda, and Nigeria, for example) makes it imperative that we raise awareness of LGBTQ discrimination as a human rights issue. Says Chapman,“We need to build inclusive awareness that encourages all people to live openly and powerfully.”

Campus Events

The exhibition of photography by SD Holman, Butch: Not Like the Other Girls, runs October 3-21 in Jewett. Wellesley is fortunate to be the first college in the United States to exhibit this collection of Holman's, and welcomes the artist with a reception at the opening of the show on October 2, 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Jewett Sculpture Gallery. Holman will share her thoughts on her work and answer questions.

Holman delineates Butch as “an inclusive site of resistance to limitations on the way women, gender, and sexuality are still defined.” According to the artist's press release, "the images honor the beauty, power, and diversity of women who transgress the gender binary, with subjects reflecting the many sizes, shapes, ethnicities, and styles of Butch. Female masculinity is celebrated here." Holman says she hopes that Butch: Not Like the Other Girls is seen as both meaningful and transformative with viewers going away “with a new feeling of seeing beauty in themselves and in others.”

Holman has exhibited at galleries from Los Angeles to New York, and places between. She is also artistic director of The Queer Arts Festival, a professional three-week, transdisciplinary arts festival in Vancouver, B.C.

On October 8 at 7 p.m. in the Clapp Library Lecture Room, the Rev. Irene Monroe ’77 of the radio show All Rev’d Up and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post will speak on her Wellesley experience and the intersectionality of religion, homosexuality, and race. Her talk is entitled, “We All Start Somewhere.”

On October 23 at 9 p.m., Julie Goldman, a Jewish lesbian comedian, will provide the campus with some “Queer Laughs” at Tishman Commons.

The events are free and open to the public.

Photo: "Tasha" by SD Holman