Sept. 30, 2009 – Marking a year of controversy and
struggle for gay rights the University of Utah Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and
Transgendered Resource (LGBT) Center announced the theme of their annual Pride
Week Celebration – “Justice for all… IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” The celebration runs October 3-9, 2009.
Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraq War veteran and West Point graduate
fluent in Arabic, will give the keynote address. Choi, who announced publicly
that he is gay, had discharge proceedings filed against him under the “don’t
ask don’t tell” policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military only if
they do not disclose their sexual orientation. He wrote an open letter to
President Obama and members of congress asking that the policy be repealed. His
keynote address is one of many events and activities planned for the Pride Week
“The University of Utah takes pride in providing all
students with an extraordinary educational experience – one that embraces diverse
perspectives and offers a broad panorama of ideas and viewpoints,” said Michael
K. Young, University of Utah president. “As
such, we welcome LGBT Pride Week at the U and celebrate the contributions of
LGBT students, faculty and alumni who enrich the culture of our campus and our
community. Together, we can create an educational environment that fosters
greater understanding and respect for all people.”
In addition to the keynote address, the Pride Week celebration
will include the annual Gay-la celebration dinner and silent auction.
Award-winning activist, performer and author Thea Hillman will be featured at
the dinner. Hillman’s book “Depending on the Light” won the Lambda Literary
Award for Transgender Literature. All proceeds from the Gay-la and Silent
Auction are dedicated to fund scholarships for LGBT students.
“The University of Utah is excited to celebrate
our well-established tradition of Pride Week,” said Barbara Snyder, vice president
for student affairs. “It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about
each other and embrace the diversity that we value at the U.”
Other Pride Week events include a screening of the
documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk,” a panel discussion titled “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell Turns 15: LGBT in the Military Today,” a performance of “Ten Years
Since Laramie, Revised” at Kingsbury Hall and, once again, the fun and funny
Pride Pet Show.
All events during Pride Week are open to the public, LGBT
students, staff and faculty, community members, and their straight allies. For a
full schedule of events and more information about the University of Utah Pride
Week Celebration, or to purchase tickets to the Gay-la dinner and silent
auction, call 801-587-7973 or visit www.sa.utah.edu/lgbt.