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First Trans World Awareness Week starts Oct. 3

JAC Stringer to give keynote speech in Bentley Hall on Thursday

The LGBT Center, Open Doors, and other students organizations are sponsoring the first Trans World Awareness Week at Ohio University, Oct. 3-8, as part of LGBT History Month.

The purpose of the week is to educate members of the Athens community about transgender and genderqueer people and issues. Throughout the week there are events planned, all of which are free and open for everyone to attend.

The highlight of the week is featured guest, JAC Stringer, also known as Midwest GenderQueer, a transgender activist and speaker.

Stringer will be hosting several events including:

•    "'You look like a Freak…' Gender & Societal Recognition," will evaluate the cultural concept of normalcy and how it affects members of the queer, trans, and genderqueer community. It will take place Wednesday, 8-10 p.m. at United Campus Ministry, 18 N. College Street.

•    "The Binary Line: Gender & Discrimination," will take place Thursday, noon-1 p.m. in the Women's Center in Baker University Center 403.

•    "Nearly All About Gender" will feature Stringer leading a conversation about gender and transgender. The event will take place on Thursday, 8-9:30 p.m. in Bentley Hall 140.

"Open Doors is really excited to have Stringer visit. The 'T' in LGBT is often overlooked," said Michael Pistrui, co-chair of Open Doors. "Having an awareness week like this is a wonderful opportunity to bring greater awareness to issues that trans and genderqueer members of our community face."

Other activities for the week include:

•    "Cory and His Mom's Story" is a reflection on the experiences of a mother and her son throughout his transition. The event is Monday, 8-9:30 p.m. in Baker University Center 231.

•    "Breaking Down Barriers: Exploring Transgender Needs in Higher Education" is a panel discussion that addresses transgender issues in housing and the classroom. It will take place Tuesday, 7-8:30 p.m. in Scripps Hall's Anderson Auditorium.

•    "Transcendence: Creative Interventions on Campus" is an arts experience featuring Ohio University student Justin Credible, alumnus Elle and others. It will be held Friday, 8-10 p.m. in Baker University Center 240.

•    The Open Doors' Gender Blender Ball will be held Saturday, 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Casa Nueva restaurant at 4 W. State Street. Up to 25 percent of proceeds will benefit TransOhio.

"I think we have worked to help people better understand transgender people and their concerns, but it is time to step it up a bit," said Mickey Hart, director of the LGBT center. "Spending a week examining these issues will help folks take a needed leap in their understanding and learning."

TWA Week is coordinated by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center and Open Doors with additional support and collaboration from: Graduate Student Senate, TransACT, Ohio University's Women's Center, TransOhio, Residential Housing, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, Student Senate and SAC.