Movie screenings and informative discussions are among the public events as Pennsylvania College of Technology this month observes its first Pride Week in recognition of students’ sexual diversity.
The April 13-17 schedule comprises speakers, dialogue and documentaries designed to celebrate the contributions of – and provide an atmosphere of equality and security for – the college’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“We are excited to launch Pride Week and look forward to the event growing in years to come,” said Sara H. Ousby, associate director of student activities for diversity and cultural life. “We want to celebrate all students that attend Penn College, and Pride Week allows us to show support and celebrate our students who may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning their sexuality and gender. Pride Week also creates a space for students who may not be educated about issues relating to gender and sexuality to learn more and ask questions.”
Some of the events, to be kicked off by college President Davie Jane Gilmour at noon Monday, April 13, are intended mainly for employees and students.
Among them is a by-invitation Lavender Graduation ceremony to congratulate LGBT seniors and their allies who are graduating in May, August or December. G. Patrick Butler Jr., who holds two information technology degrees from Penn College, will be the featured speaker for the April 17 event.
Events that are free and open to the public include:
- A film screening at 7 p.m. April 13 of “Out of the Silence,” which tells the story of a small Pennsylvania town confronting a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement and the bullying of a gay teenager. A discussion with students, parents and educators will follow the film, which will be shown in Penn’s Inn on the second floor of the Bush Campus Center. The presentation is co-sponsored by the nonpartisan Keystone Progress Education Fund, and handouts from The Bully Project will be available.
- Shane Bitney Crone will accompany a showing of “Bridegroom” at 7 p.m. April 14 in the college’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium. The award-winning film documents Crone’s relationship with Tom Bridegroom and the devastation and difficulties he faced after his partner’s tragic and unexpected death in a 2011 fall from a rooftop. (Crone was threatened with physical violence if he dared to attend the funeral, was not mentioned in the obituary, and had been denied hospital visitation and other rights accorded married couples.)
- A “More Than Marriage Equality” symposium, co-sponsored by Equality Central PA, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 15 in the Academic Center Auditorium.
- A drag show – co-sponsored by the PC Alliance student organization, the Wildcat Events Board and the Student Government Association – will be held at 8 p.m. in Penn’s Inn. Proceeds will be donated to students participating in Penn College Benefiting THON, which raises money to fight pediatric cancer.