Shades of gray will be celebrated this week as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center hosts a variety of events aimed at spreading the message that sexuality and gender is not always black and white.
“Beyond the Binary” is the LGBTRC’s annual awareness week dedicated to educating the campus community about non-monosexual, and other intersecting identities, said event coordinator Laura Mitchell.
“The purpose of the week is to celebrate fluid identities and to create awareness around the issues faced by people who identify with those communities,” Mitchell said. “There are many people for whom current labels are not adequate and who are sometimes less visible than those who fit into traditional categories like gay or straight.”
Beyond the Binary was first started three years ago by a UC Davis student and has become one of the LGBTRC’s four annual awareness weeks on campus.
A Beyond the Binary art exhibit in the Memorial Union’s King Lounge kicked off this week’s activities and featured work by seven artists from the UC Davis community.
One of the evening’s artists, Laura Megumi Thatcher, said she wanted to express a deconstruction of gender and sexuality barriers in her work.
“I want people to take away their own message from the pieces, whatever that message may be,” she said. “For me, it was just really about bending expectations. I am really interested in gender roles and the way that gender and sexuality are socially constructed.”
Thatcher said that the LGBTRC holds this yearly event in order to bring down some of the misconceptions the public holds about the LGBT community.
“It is important for people to realize that being a part of the queer community doesn’t just mean you are gay,” she said. “There is a lot more subtlety and ambiguity. There is not just gay and straight, man and woman – there is everything in between as well.”
UC Davis alumna Nikki Sheldon also contributed some of her art to the night’s display and said the goal of the exhibit was simply to spread awareness.
“Ignorance breeds hate and inhibits the true appreciation for people, as they are,” she said. “By featuring the visual and performing arts of queer people, it enables those who are ‘unaware’ to embrace something completely foreign, and open their eyes to the stem of life itself, simply love.”
Various events are being held throughout today, including a workshop at 4 p.m. in the MU’s Garrison Room. The workshop will introduce students to various, non-traditional forms of sexual expression, including bondage, discipline and sadomasochism.
Yesterday, the LGBTRC and the Gender and Sexuality Commission held a town hall meeting discussing The California Aggie column “The Rise of the Girly Men.”
Students interested in artistic expression can also drop by King Lounge on Thursday night at 7 p.m. where the LGBTRC will host a student performance night. The event will showcase several student performances of music, spoken word and video “celebrating bi identity.” It will also include a performance by Trikone, a Bay Area-based organization of the South Asian LGBT community.
For more information about the week’s events, students can check out the LGBTRC’s website at lgbtrc.ucdavis.edu.
ERICA LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.