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Be aware: LGBT prepares for World AIDS Day

Published: Thursday, November 18, 2004

World AIDS Day 2004 hits campus Dec. 1 to scream its theme of "Have you heard me today?"

The focus of this year's annual AIDS day is women and AIDS. According to, "All over the world, women do not enjoy the same rights and access to employment, property and education as men and are more likely to face sexual violence and contract HIV."

Marshall University's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Outreach Office (LGBTO) plans to have information available in the lobby of the Memorial Student Center (MSC) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. about the disease. Free and confidential HIV/AIDS mouth-swab tests will be available for students. No needles will be involved.

Informational brochures, games and condoms will also be provided during the day.

A panel discussion is scheduled for that evening at 7 in the MSC Alumni Lounge. Speakers have not yet been confirmed.

Kelli Kerbawy, co-director of LGBTO, said she encourages students to participate during AIDS day because it is a time for students to ask questions they might have about the disease, as well as a time to honor or remember loved ones affected by the virus.

Marshall's Gay-Straight Alliance has been working on a program in the residence halls that they hope will be completed by World AIDS Day.

The group has recruited student volunteers who live on campus through interviews and launched a program that involves students being able to knock on doors and receive condoms. The signs state "Play it safe-condoms available here."

Students who are keeping the condoms attended a discussion on the proper temperatures condoms should be kept in and how to properly handle them.

Doug Evans, co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, said he would like to see residence services take over and buy condom machines for the dorms. Currently, dorm advisers can not hand out any type of birth control. He said the group has completed 44 percent of the program and hopes to reach 100 percent by Dec. 1.

"Some people have said that condoms promote promiscuity," Evans said. "But we're not giving out condoms that say 'here's a license to go out and have sex'".

The condoms were provided free and in bulk by Tri-State AIDS.

Evans said the group hopes to distribute enough condoms to provide one for each student living on campus.

World AIDS Day 2004 events at Marshall are sponsored by the Marshall University LGBT Outreach Office, Marshall University Women's Center, Women's Studies Student Association and the MU Gay-Straight Alliance.

LGBT office sponsors recording artist

Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Marshall University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Outreach Office tried to battle biphobia Friday in the Memorial Student Center Alumni Lounge.

About 30 students came to watch bisexual international recording artist and lecturer Skott Freedman.

Freedman, of VY Records, has toured college campuses for three years with his music and message of equality and understanding for bisexuals.

'"Sexuality is not a black and white issue," he said. "It's not clean-cut. There are gays, straights and bisexuals. It doesn't need to be put in a pocket or have borders."

He said his own definition of bisexual is "the capacity for attraction to more than one gender."

The two-hour program included Freedman's keyboard music and lecture based on his own experiences and beliefs.

Depression and isolation set in throughout high school when he tried to repress his feelings toward the same sex, he said.

During his freshman year at Ithaca College, he decided to come out as gay, and chartered an LGBT chapter at the school, he said.

When he realized he still had feelings for the opposite sex, he opened up again and proclaimed himself bisexual.

His newly-declared sexuality received mixed reactions, mainly negativity, especially from his gay and lesbian friends.

"The people that should have accepted it the most accepted it the least." By lecturing about his emotions and relationships, Freedman hopes to raise awareness about a topic not often talked about.

"People are curious and it stirs more discussion, which is what I hope for," he said.

Freedman, who came to Marshall University several years ago, said being home only 10 days each month is a small price for raising awareness about bisexuals.

"If you believe in something you make sacrifices, and I've made those sacrifices," he said.

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