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Parthenon 2002

January 29, 2002: Multicultural speaker discusses myths, personal struggle with sexuality


Approximately 60 students filled the Don Morris Room to listen to a lecture about "Battling Biphobia and Bringing Bisexuals Closer to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community."

Skott Freedman, guest speaker for Multicultural Affairs and International Programs, focused his talk on his own personal struggle with his own sexuality as a bisexual and fighting the myths that heterosexuals and homosexuals have about bisexuals. Freedman said there are presumptions when someone is identified as bisexual.

"Bisexuals don't transition from a heterosexual lifestyle to a homosexual lifestyle," he said. "We are taught that certain attractions shouldn't be acted upon, but in truth we are wearing a mask."

Freedman said there were bisexuals still in the closet among the gay community as well as in the heterosexual population. He said that both communities felt that it was choice.

"Being gay myself it is good to get another perspective because you don't hear about these issues very often," Jason Rasner, English literature education major from Toledo, Ohio said.

Freedman said the way people can combat biphobia is don't presume someone's sexuality, think of sexuality as a always changing process, keep an open mind, and use inclusive terminology.

"I thought that he did a good job by being informative and not pushing his views on people," Sheryl Webb, communications major from Charleston, said.

Freedman has performed and spoken at more than 30 colleges and universities nationwide in the last year. He has written articles for The Advocate among other publications.

"Behavior is not the sole indication of sexual orientation," he said.

The rest of the evening was devoted to a question and answer session with Freedman. He answered questions by using his own personal experiences as a bisexual and research about the bisexual community.

"It was a great success," Dr. Keith Beard, assistant professor of psychology, said. "It got people to think about sexuality in less white and black manner."

Pride Week begins with discussion about family issues, hate crimes

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2002

The Lambda Society kicked off Pride Week Monday night with the theme of family values.

A series of lectures that informed 25 student and community audience members about hate crimes and domestic violence against same-sex partners.

"Our theme of the week focuses on family. We want to be treated like everyone else in the community by focusing on these issues," Casie McGee, president of Lambda Society and co-coordinator of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Outreach Programs (LGBO), said.

Guest speaker Raymie White, graduate student from Clendenin, spoke to the audience about the issues surrounding hate crimes in West Virginia

"Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are the most brutal and include acts of torture, mutilation, castration and sexual assault," White said.

White told the audience that current statistics reported by the FBI state hate crimes based on sexual orientation are being underreported because of the fear of being "outed."

"The death of Matt Shepard has sparked my interest hate crime issues," he said.

White said prevention by getting involved and informing others is the way to in understand and combat hate crimes.

"One of the most common defenses that an assailant might have is that they were afraid the gay person might want to sleep with them," he said.

Under the current hate crime laws, White said that sexual orientation and disability are not covered and it is up to the discretion of the authorities to code the crimes in other ways.

"MUPD can even choose to code these crimes in other ways because they aren't in the books," White said.

The second portion of the program ended with a lecture concerning domestic violence with same-sex partners by Dr. Sherry Smith, associate professor of criminal justice.

"There can be situations where domestic violence occurs with same-sex individuals. Only a few states recognize domestic violence as an issue for these individuals," Smith, said.

Smith said West Virginia takes general issues based on a heterosexual perspective on domestic crimes and applied them to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgender community.

"This is political propaganda. This community has unique problems that have to be addressed through education," she said.

Smith informed the audience that surrounding states such as Kentucky and Ohio have explicit programs covering these groups. She said West Virginia has no prevention programs.

"Sexuality issues isn't the only determining factor for domestic violence," Smith said.

Smith said education to the law enforcement personnel in this region is one of the keys to combat the problem.

"A solution for domestic violence awareness is breaking down those heterosexual barriers and creating guidelines for this community," she said.

Smith ended her presentation by saying collaborative services for the victims and perpetrator need to be in placed to combat and understand domestic violence.

Audience members were able able to ask questions on these issues that surrounded hate crimes and domestic violence for same-sex partners.

"It was very informative because I didn't know that much about the legal aspect of hate crimes and domestic violence," Richard Thomas, Huntington freshman, said.

The Lambda Society will have a number of free events planned for Pride Week focusing on the family values theme:

April 16 a movie night in Jenkins Hall Room. 236.

April 17 Family Fun Day at Ritter Park from noon-4 p.m.

Panel Discussion on Spirituality and Homosexuality with panelist:

Jim McClure, Okey Napier and Tonya Beckett at 7 p.m. in Memorial Student Center Room. 2W16.

April 18 guest speaker: Leslea Newman, author of "Heather has Two Mommies," in Corbly Hall Room. 105



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Last updated: 01/11/12.