Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hate Rears Its Head On Rural Oregon Community College Campus

On the first day of the OUT IN THE SILENCE Campaign's Rural Oregon Tour, aimed at helping to raise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) visibility and support the efforts of state and local groups building the movement for fairness and equality for all, the Linn-Benton Community College campus was plastered with inflammatory fliers even as the audience was watching the film.

The fliers used the words “JIZZFEST” and “CUMTASTIC” to ridicule and stigmatize LGBT people as nothing more than sexual deviants. They also purposely listed the contact information for the head of the college's new Diversity Achievement Center, which hosted the screening, to send a message that any attempts to promote equality and inclusiveness will be met with resistance.

While the shock, fear and pain caused by the incident was palpable in the room as it came to the audience's attention, the act also brought into stark relief the very real and immediate challenges still faced by LGBT people on a daily basis right there in the community, and helped to quickly move the post-screening conversation to the work that needs to be done to address such problems in a meaningful and systemic way.

In addition to an investigation and response by law enforcement and the college administration, LBCC Diversity Center staff and allies will be working hard in the days ahead to demonstrate that the campus is a welcoming, safe, inclusive and culturally respectful place for all and that it is no place for hate.

They will undoubtedly be joined by members of the groups that organized this OITS rural tour and have been working hard to build the movement for social and economic justice for all in Oregon for the past two decades. These groups include the Rural Organizing Project, Basic Rights Oregon, Community of Welcoming Congregations, Oregon PFLAG, and dozens of local human dignity groups around the state.

Please support the important work these groups are doing on behalf of justice and equality for all by joining us at, or helping to spread word about, the upcoming tour events in communities across Oregon.

More information about the tour can be found HERE.

Thanks for your support and solidarity.

To contact filmmakers Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer, see

1 comment:

hillsideslide said...

While experiences like this are disappointing, they speak about the people who created them, not the folks who gathered to watch OITS & have meaningful conversation.

OITS is challenging perceptions & opening dialogue & hearts all across the country.

Now, I'll meet your bummer of a story about "appearing messages" with this uplifting one.

W/in the past few days, Kate Cohn, a student at Falcon High Sch (Colorado), wore a "Marriage is So Gay" shirt to school. She was forced to change it b/c the principal said it violated the dress code.

Her principal made it clear: no tolerance for pro-gay marriage messages.

She is organizing. She called the news. Fellow students are jumping on board. People across the country are writing in. (why not add your letter?)

A few days later, she was supposed to have a mtg w/ him (which never materialized - he didn't call her to the office).

But, imagine what it felt like when she saw fellow students show up wearing post-it notes over their hearts saying, "I support Kate Cohn!"

(did I mention you could support her by writing the Admin at Falcon High? -just keep it "factual & peaceful," per her request)