Last weekend, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Conference brought students and alumni from other colleges together to participate in events that dealt with various issue affecting the LGB community.
The conference was organized by the Oberlin Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Alumni (OLGBA) and the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Union (LGBU). The theme of the conference this weekend was "From Family to Community: What Holds Us Together, What Pulls Us Apart."
The events planned for the conference included the keynote address by writer Urvashi Vaid, discussions evolving around bisexuality and transgender in the 90s, the LGBT People of Color Caucus, LGBT Night at the `Sco, and a Gay Academics/Queer Studies Panel. A total of 24 events were offered throughout the weekend.
According to Andrew LaVallee, LGBU co-chair, the weekend was originally planned to host alumni who were or who are presently active in the Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual community. LaVallee said, however, that plans soon grew to include activities for students, both from Oberlin and other colleges.
The weekend was a learning experience for both Oberlin and visiting students. According to first-year Lauren Whitehouse, the visiting students were surprised by Oberlin's atmosphere. Whitehouse said, "These people were just amazed at how open we Oberlin students are. They loved it here."
First-year John Erwin, a student host for the conference, said that he saw the same reaction as Whitehouse's from visiting students. He said, "Visiting students from Wright State University kept saying how a conference like there was at Oberlin would never happen at their school."
Oberlin students also felt they got something from the conference. College sophomore Marianne Noreika, a Residential Coordinator in North Hall, said that she felt the weekend, especially the parenting workshop on Saturday morning, was both fun and informative. Noreika said, "People were very attentive and had a lot to say. I learned quite a bit."
Erwin said that he felt he learned much more about the subcultures and divisiveness within the LGB community. He said that there were many different views on what made a person gay, and felt pleased that the activities of the conference pointed out the differences and similarities within the LGB communities.
"It's hard to have a movement when there are so many different types of people in it," Erwin said.
Erwin said that he thought the conference helped LGBU come closer together by exposing its members to the views of those outside Oberlin. He said, "Among the LGBU, there are so many different factions. The good thing about the whole conference this weekend, was that it made us look beyond Oberlin so that we weren't fighting against each other so much and it really united everyone a lot."
LGBT conference to draw alumni
- November 1, 1996
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 8; November 8, 1996
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