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|Morehouse College celebrates first gay ‘Pride Week’|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Wednesday, 24 March 2010 16:58|
Morehouse College is celebrating its first gay “Pride Week” this week, including a visit tomorrow from the Soulforce Equality Ride.
Pride Week, sponsored by the Morehouse gay student group Safe Space, includes a roundtable discussion tomorrow night with the Soulforce riders about “Sexuality and Power.” Soulforce is a national social justice organization dedicated to eradicating negative ideas about LGBT people.
Pride events at Morehouse began on Tuesday with a panel discussion featuring B. Scott, an openly gay African American who is an “internet sensation” with his YouTube videos and blogs on his website www.lovebscott.com about fashion, celebrities and nightlife.
William Bynum Jr., vice president for student services at Morehouse, said the administration fully supports the week as a way to educate students and faculty.
“Safe Space is one of numerous student organizations — we have over 60 student organizations and the different organizations hold a week of activities,” Bynum told the Georgia Voice.
“We are extremely supportive of their activities. I’m one of the advisers for Safe Space and support their desire to further educate,” he said. “It’s taken Safe Space a number of years before it felt comfortable to put on a week of activities and we want to be sure we continue to educate ourselves.”
In 2002, Morehouse student Gregory Love was beaten with a baseball bat by fellow student Aaron Price. Price said in his defense that he thought Love was making a sexual pass at him. There was a national backlash against the campus at the time from people who accused it of being anti-gay.
“I do recognize some of those opinions are out there, especially after that horrific incident in 2002. What we have found now, and I’ve been at Morehouse for nine months [after working for many years at Clark University in Atlanta], that under the leadership of President Robert Franklin the campus is at a different place,” Bynum said.
“We want to ensure our students get a good quality education and we want to make sure every student is welcome,” he added.
Soulforce Equality riders, who are being welcomed onto campus by students and administrators as part of Pride Week, said they plan to talk to administrators about the Morehouse dress code put in place last year.
The policy prohibits such things as baseball caps, do-rags or hoods in the classroom as well as sagging pants. The policy also states, “no wearing of clothing usually worn by women (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events.”
Mac Simon, a transman who will be on the Morehouse campus with the Soulforce Equality riders, said the policy discriminates against transgender students.
But Bynum said most students accept the policy.
“In fact, when we previewed it with Safe Space, of the 27 that were there, 24 said they supported it and only three did not,” he said.
Soulforce Equality Riders have a full schedule of events in Atlanta.
Tonight, they are meeting with members of YouthPride, an Atlanta group for LGBT and questioning young people.
On Thursday, Soulforce visits Morehouse.
Friday evening, the group will attend a potluck dinner at First Metropolitan Community Church. The dinner, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., is open to the public.
Finally, on Saturday, two Equality Riders will present a discussion of "Feminist Perspectives on Fluid Sexuality" as part of the annual Toni Cade Conference at Spelman College, a historically black women's college that is adjacent to Morehouse. The discussion is from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.
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