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TBGLAD Activities Highten Awareness

By Zareena Hussain
Contributing Editor

"I want people to know that lesbian, gay and bisexual families are just like any other families. They are just as full of love and caring and giving as any other families. They are just as capable of producing healthy happy children as any other families are. It might be a little different from what some people are used to, but the difference is not something negative. Difference is beautiful," said Ekene Nwokey.

Nwokey is one of the many figures featured in the photo-text exhibit "Love Makes a Family: Living in Lesbian a Gay Families" on display in Lobby 7, marking the Transgender Bisexual Gays Lesbian Awareness Days (TBGLAD) at MIT for the next two weeks.

It is quotes like these and stories of those like Michael, that give passersby a chance to reflect on a more inclusive definition of family. Michael and his partner Justin met on a subway, became friends, fell in love, and have since been able to provide a loving family for their adopted sons Justin and Zach.

In addition to the exhibit, which is sponsored by Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders at MIT through funding from a grant administered by the Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays, and Transgenders Issues group, many other activities are planned to help celebrate TBGLAD at MIT.

GAMITis sponsoring a movie series for the first week each night, with such films as The Wedding Night and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. There will also be a talk by Sue Hyde of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force focusing on community versus campus activism, a discussion of the life of James Baldwin, and a tentatively scheduled drag extravaganza. TBGLAD will be capped off with the annual social T dance to be held in the GAMIT lounge.

Tonight there will be panel discussion entitled God Loves Everyone:a panel discussion on queer spirituality. Representatives to the forum include reverends from Cambridge-area congregations and in the MIT chaplaincy.

"I give witness to what I believe and understand," said Lutheran Chaplain Constance Parvey who will be one of the speakers at the forum. "I don't have any trouble that there are very fine Christians who are gay and straight."

Instead of being a debate, the forum is intended to be a discussion among panelists sympathetic to homosexuals within their congregations, said Damon W. Suden '99, a member GAMIT.

"We don't want to turn it into Jerry Springer," Suden said.

In fact, far from the likes of television talk shows, this year's TBGLADactivities have a more laid back tone and atmosphere than in years past.

There is also little anticipation that any serious anti-TBGLADactivities will take place.

Three years ago a large cup of ketchup was thrown at students manning the a GAMITbooth during TBGLAD. In another incident, posters advertising TBGLAD events were torn down and thrown at students manning the booth, Suden said.

More recently, however, the mood, outwardly at least, has shifted dramatically.

The "political correctness climate has gotten out of control," Suden said. "I'd rather people say what they thought."