October is nearly over. Deep sigh. This month, Montgomery College celebrated LGBT history month. We did so with activities at all three campuses, including a college-wide official statement of inclusion approved by the MC Board of Trustees on Monday, October 24, 2011. Aside from all the LGBT activities we had on campus, I was also busy participating in other aspects of the community.
Earlier this month, many faculty, staff, and students were taped reading the College’s official anti-bullying statement. I was taped and interviewed one Friday afternoon in the provost’s office — and girl was I nervous! — while the others had been taped and interviewed earlier in the week. The following week, I watched the taping of “Campus Conversations” from the control room. Jason Rivera, Prof. Loraine Hutchins, and Prof. Rita Kranidis, all from Takoma Park, and Prof. Deborah Stearns of Rockville, talked with hosts Elizabeth Homan and Marcus Rosano on LGBT issues at Montgomery College. The conversation was great and it included one brave student: Michelene Coulbary, who spoke of her accepting family and her challenging friends.
Then there was the local events, by which I mean the LGBT program at MC-Rockville. First, big thanks to Prof. Deborah Stearns and Prof. Genevieve Carminati, who worked so hard on planning the events with me. Together, we arranged a viewing of “TransGeneration” — the LOGO reality TV series featuring transgender college students — followed by a discussion that was informed by Dr. Stearns (on terminology). On Tuesday, October 25th, I moderated a panel titled “Is Homophobia Dead?” a discussion in response to the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Again, Deborah Stearns opened the panel with terms; Prof. Michelle Moran gave a history of homosocial lifestyles (which began during WWII) and history of homophobia and the LGBT movement. Prof. Genevieve Carminati closed the panel with a personal narrative reading by a boy who had been bullied in the Philadelphia public school system. There was a good turn-out for this event — 15 students — and many good questions and discussion. The conclusion of our panel? Here it is in Deborah’s words: “Is homophobia dead? No, but it’s choking on its own blood.”
Not only was I working on the LGBT program, I also attended and worked the 16th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference hosted at MC-Rockville on Saturday, October 22nd. The two highlights were listening to Maureen Corrigan’s keynote on the influence of The Great Gatsby today (considering our current market climate) and meeting honoree Maxine Hong Kingston.
One last treat, to top off the month — the cherry on top, as it were — was an invitation to speak to the second grade class at Georgetown Day School. Can you imagine, me in front of 50 8-year-olds? I spoke to them about American Indian heritage (in preparation for November’s American Indian Heritage month). I told some stories, read an illustrated book, and taught them how to draw the Man in the Maze, an activity they so enjoyed. The best part of the experience was how enthusiastic the students were about answering questions and about getting their drawing just right. (I noticed a rainbow flag on the wall; later, Todd Carter, the teacher/friend who had invited me, told me that they had also celebrated Pride! Talk about a liberal elementary education.)
This month has been so busy, so fun, and so fulfilling. I need a break though. Last night, I treated myself by attending the 25th annual High Heel Race in Dupont Circle. I waited 2.5 hours, sitting on a curb, for drag queens to run for 45 seconds down 17th street in broken high heels. I was with a friend, and even though I was tired, it was fun and funny to watch, so the wait was worth it. Seriously, though, I need a short reprieve; after all, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it looks like aside from a cousin, at least three friends and their partners will be coming over for dinner. I’ve never cooked a turkey before, so stayed tuned for that adventurous blog entry. I’m sure it’ll be a doozy.