Full Slate of Events During LGBTQ Awareness Week


Saint Francis University’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Awareness Week took place during the week of March 7. The events, which concluded on March 11, were sponsored by the School of Arts and Letters.

“This is a Catholic university, but it is a Franciscan university,” said director of LGBTQ Awareness Week, associate professor of History Lori Woods.

“Our university has a non-discrimination clause that includes not discriminating against individuals based on sexual orientation,” said Woods. “What we are attempting to do is help to foster one of the goals of Franciscan values of higher education, which is to respect everyone.”

Guest speaker Jessica MacNamara spoke on “Exploring the ‘T’ in LGBTQ: Transgender People’s Experiences with Community, Campus Life and Family” on Monday night.

The departments of Sociology/Criminal Justice, Literature and Languages, Fine Arts, Psychology and History and Political Science sponsored a viewing session of the film “The Worlds of Bernice Bing” on Tuesday.

“Looking at her life allows us to look at art, women’s rights, public perspective of what defines an artist and what we look at as sexuality,” said associate professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice Teelyn Mauney. “We examine the whole person, which is why I think her work is so interesting.”

Another film, “The Mask You Live In,” was shown Tuesday afternoon. This viewing was sponsored by the Sociology, Criminal Justice, Psychology and Social Work departments.

Following the film, the Literary Club held a discussion of the young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

On Wednesday, “The Saint of 9/11” was presented by the Rev. Peter Lyons, assistant professor of religious studies. The department of Philosophy and Religious Studies sponsored the event.

To conclude LGBTQ Awareness Week, a panel discussion on LGBTQ issues was conducted on Thursday. Teresa Delgado, an associate professor of theology and ethics at Iona College, also delivered a presentation titled “Beyond Procreativity: Reconsidering Catholic Sexual Ethics in the 21st Century” on Thursday.

Woods said her college years were some of the toughest years of her life because of the lack of support in her college community.

“I came out 30 years ago when I was a sophomore in college. It was a very difficult time in my life,” said Woods. “I think it is important to know that support is there and that students can be an active member of the community.”