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10/25/12

Queer history month, rights for all Perspectives The Prospector University of Texas at El Paso

Queerhistorymonth,rightsforall
ByByPamelaPrieto Published:Thursday,October8,2009 Updated:Monday,January18,201010:01
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TheUniversityofTexasatElPaso|

Overthesummer,controversyensuedatChico'sTacosafterfivemenwerethrownoutofthe restaurantwhentwoofthemkissed.Thiseventsparkedacurrentofprotestsandactivismthat eventuallyledtheElPasoCityCounciltorecognizesamesexbenefitsforcityemployees. Advocatesforgayrightsaroundthenationcontinuetomeetwiththeirlocalandstate representativestofightagainstdiscriminationonthebasisofsexualorientation. InElPaso,thegayrightsdialoguerecentlyreachedtheofficesofRep.SilvestreReyesinthe hopesofincreasingthecongressman'sroleinthebattleforequalrights. RecentlegislatureandincreaseddiscourseontheissuecontinuetoprovethattheElPaso communityiseagerandacceptantofchangeanddiversity. AtleastIhopeweare. IwasveryshockedtofindthattheresultsforMonday'sElPasoTimesPollshowedthat58 percentofElPasoansopposethecitycouncil'sdecisiontoexpandhealthbenefitstosamesexandunwedcouples. Manypeopleusetheargumentthatgrantingrightstogaycitizensleadstothedestructionoftraditionalfamilyvalues.It'shardtosee howthisisthecasewhenfamiliesarebeingdestroyedbeforetheyhavetheopportunitytobeformed. Anotherargumentisthatgaymarriageswilldevaluestraightmarriages.However,intheU.S.thedivorcerateisalreadyatabout50 percentanditisverydoubtfulthatthisisallthankstothegaypopulation.Marriagesareusuallybrokenbythepeoplewithinthem.The gaycommunityisfightingforthechancetobepartofthesystem,notdestroyit. IsincerelyhopethispollonlyreflectstheopinionoftheTimes'readersandnotofthemajorityofElPasoansandespeciallynotthe majorityofUTEPstudents. Throughouthistory,universitieshaveservedasbirthplacesoffreethinkingandnonconformistideologies.Universitieshavealsobeen aplaceformembersofoppressedgroupstoengageindialogueandactiontoimprovetheirsituationandformallieswithothersthat recognizetheirplight. AtUTEP,studentsareencouragingequalrightswiththecelebrationofgay,lesbian,bisexualandtransgenderhistorymonth,whichis alsoreferredtoasQueerHistoryMonth.Historically,theword"queer"hasmeantoddorunusual,butnowtheLGBTcommunityand academicscholarsassociatedwiththemovementarestartingtoreclaimthatwordinanactofselfempowerment.Equalrightsactivists arenowusingqueerasanumbrellatermforlesbians,gays,bisexualsandtransgendersorindividualswhorejecttraditionalsexual identitiesandgenderroles.AccordingtoJesusSmith,aninternattheRainbowMinerInitiative,partofthepointofusingtheterm "queer"isthatit"simultaneouslybuildsupandtearsdownboundariesofidentity." UTEPwillcelebratethemonthwitheventsthatincludeQueernival,aQueerLeadershipConference,aQueerCareerDayandmany othereventsthatwillrununtilNov.21. IfyouknownothingabouttheLGBTcommunity,thisisagreatopportunitytolearnabouttheexperiencesandthehistoryofacivilrights movementthatisquicklygainingsupportfromUTEPandcollegestudentsacrosstheglobe. PamelaPrietomaybereachedatprospector@utep.edu.

www.utepprospector.com/2.7378/queerhistorymonthrightsforall1.1034574?compArticle=yes

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