IU East will host LGBTQ events this spring

Indiana University East will host a series of LGBTQ events this spring to celebrate inclusion and diversity. Events are free and open to the public.

The LGBTQ events are sponsored by the IU East School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English, Diversity and Mindful Explorations Funds, the Composition Program, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Strategic Investments, Safe Zone, and the Alliance Student Group.

Travis Rountree, assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Program, is organizing the spring events.

“These events are part of an ongoing effort for the campus to reach out to the community and promote diversity and inclusion,” Rountree said.

A film series will kick off the spring events on Thursday, February 21, with a showing of the film Southern Comfort. The 2001 documentary YouTube film is about Robert Eads during his last year of life and the transgender community he created in rural Georgia. A second film will be shown on Wednesday, March 20. Love, Simon is a 2018 movie that shares the struggles of coming out in high school.

In March, the series will include an author presentation by Stephen Mills, award-winning LGBTQ poet who is a native of Richmond, Indiana. Rountree said Mills will read some of his poetry that often refers back to the region.

Mills is the author of the Lambda Award-winning book He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices and A History of the Unmarried, both from Sibling Rivalry Press.

He earned his Master of Fine Arts from Florida State University. Mills’ work has appeared in The Antioch Review, PANK, The New York Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Knockout, The Rumpus, and others. He is the winner of the 2008 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award and the 2014 Christopher Hewitt Award for Fiction. His third poetry collection Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution is available from Sibling Rivalry Press. Currently, Mills lives in New York City with his partner and two schnauzers.

The spring events will conclude on April 11 with a LGBTQ panel of community members. The panel will be announced at a later time.

“The Local LGBTQ Community Members Panel will involve community members from Richmond and the surrounding areas to talk about growing up and living here,” Rountree said.

During the panel discussion, Rountree is also looking forward to unveiling IU East’s first LGBTQ archive. Rountree, along with students in his Argumentative Writing course, his teaching assistant Abbie Sliger, and Beth South, campus archivist for the IU East Library, are collecting and analyzing the materials for the archive.

“Housed at IU East, the archive will be a physical and online resource for those who want to know more about the LGBTQ community in our region,” Rountree said. “All of these events hope to encourage a feeling of inclusion and belonging to not only those who identify as LGBTQ, but also those who are allies or would just like to learn more about the community. The archive and these events will hopefully help to unearth and celebrate the untold history of the LGBTQ community in our dynamic region.”

For more information, contact Travis Rountree at tarountr@iu.edu.

LGBTQ Spring Events Schedule:
Film Series: Southern Comfort
Thursday, February 21
5:30-7 p.m.
Tom Raper Hall Room 124
Southern Comfort is a Youtube film about a transgender community in rural Georgia. Free pizza will be available at the event.

Author Presentation: Stephen Mills, award winning poet
Wednesday, March 6
5:30-7 p.m., Reception to follow
Whitewater Hall, First Bank Richmond Community Room
Stephen S. Mills is an award-winning LGBTQ poet from Richmond, Indiana. He is the author of the Lambda Award-winning book He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices and A History of the Unmarried.

Film Series: Love, Simon
Wednesday, March 20
5:30-7 p.m.
Tom Raper Hall Room 124
Love, Simon: Film about the struggles of coming out in high school. Free pizza will be available at the event.

Panel of Local LGBTQ community members
Thursday, April 11
5:30-7 p.m., Reception to follow
Tom Raper Hall Room 124
This conversation will engage with the lives of the local LGBTQ community in Richmond, Indiana, and the surrounding areas.