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A History of Blegen House/ LGBTQ Center Events, Fall 1997 - Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008: Coffee Hour at Blegen House

April 23-25, 2008: Day of Silence Awareness Campaign

Monday, April 21, 2008: “How does Religion and Sexuality Coexist in Your Life?” Dinner and discussion about religion and sexuality. Co-sponsored by Religious and Spiritual Life.

Sunday, April 13, 2008: Blegen-Bayit Block Party!

Friday, April 11, 2008: Sexual Reassignment Surgery – world famous surgeon Dr. Meltzer. Lecture, followed by meet and greet at Blegen House.

Thursday, March 6, 2008: Field-trip to West Point – students spoke in Sociology class about their experiences being LGBTQ.

Thursday, February 28, 2008: Coffee Hour at Blegen House

Monday, February 25, 2008: QTalk – A discussion group about the coming out experience

Thursday, February 21, 2008: Swati – musical performance.

Thursday, January 31, 2008: TransParent – movie and discussion about transmen who have given birth to children.

Fall 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007: Coffee Hour at Blegen House

Thursday, December 6, 2007: “Pic Up the Mic” – movie and discussion about the queer subculture in the Rap/Hip-Hop scene.

Friday, November 30, 2007: “When I Was Ugly” – Michael Penwell shared his personal story about domestic violence in a queer relationship.

Thursday, November 29, 2007: Coffee Hour at Blegen House

Thursday, November 29, 2007: LGBT-JYA – Tips and discussion led by Matt Leung ‘09 about the study abroad experience for LGBT students

Monday, November 19, 2007: QTalk – A discussion group about the coming out experience

Thursday, November 15, 2007: “Gay Tube” – Presentation and discussion by Nick Dressler ’11 about the queer culture among YouTube videos.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007: “Kissing Jessica Stein” – movie screening and discussion with Bayit.

Thursday, November 8, 2007: Coffee Hour at Blegen House

Monday, November 5, 2007: QTalk – A discussion group about the coming out experience

Monday, October 29, 2007: Wimmin’s Night at Blegen House

Thursday, October 11, 2007: QTalk – A discussion group about the coming out experience

Wednesday, October 10, 2007: Coming Out Story Sharing – students, faculty, staff, and administrators gathered together to share their coming out stories.

Monday, October 8, 2007: John Amaechi – Meet and greet at Blegen House with the first professional basketball player to publically come out after retiring from the NBA.

Monday, October 1, 2007: Film Screening with Joy Reed – coming out short film, and sneak peak at upcoming documentary about gay, nude yoga.

Fall 2006

December 6, 2006: Ariel nominated Mexican film director Eva Aridjis (“Ninos de la Calle,” “Taxidermy”) returns to Vassar to screen her new feature “The Favor,” again a prize winner at its CineVegas premier

November 15, 2006: “Pre Gay Boys & Old Gay Men, A Life Cycle - Ethan Haymowitz '03

November 8, 2006: “Welcome to Nollywood” - Vassar film professor Jamie Meltzer '96 screens his moving documentary on the birth of a cinema industry in Nigeria, where local films, now produced by the hundreds, are much preferred to American blockbusters.

October 18, 2006: Break - House is open.

October 11, 2006: National Coming Out Day - 6:00pm: Dean of Admissions David Borus addresses our first Circles conference for LGBTQ High School students on strategies for admission to college. Also present - representatives from Marist College, Dutchess Community College, the Culinary Institute of America and Bard College.

October 4, 2006: “Sexuality in a Time of Change - Socio-Economic Transformations in Bulgaria and the Shaping of Sexual Identities and Culture” - 6:00pm: Boris Petrov '01 looks at the post-communist gay youth movements in Sofia

October 1, 2006: Open House - Decompress after Freshman Parents Weekend. House closes at sundown for Yom Kippur.

September 13, 2006: “Afghanistan Before & After” - 6:00pm: A mother and daughter's hazardous journey to rediscover their homeland and each other. Wazina Zondon, sex educator for Circles LGBT Youth Program, accompanied by her Mom.

August 30, 2006: Orientation Open House - 6:00 - 7:00pm: Stop by for hors doeuvres, lots of info, a rummage sale that will buy armor for a Circles student sent to fight in Afghanistan. Stay for a screening of Alejandra Islas' film on the third-gender people of Juchitan, Mexico: “Muxes - Authentic Intrepid Seekers of Danger.”

Spring 2006

April 24 - 28, 2006: Collaboration with QCVC on Pride Week, including panels on Poughkeepsie/ Vassar Life, the State of our own Community at Vassar, and History of LGBTQ People at Vassar; a rededication of the 1991 Vassar AIDS quilt; and a community dinner.
See Event Listing

April 19, 2006: Lifetime Transition - Kiana Moore, who worked three years as Blegen Head Intern, spoke frankly on her life as a transgendered person. Her visit coincided with the faculty vote to include gender identity and expression in the Vassar nondiscrimination policy.

April 15, 2006: Colgate University conference: “Big Gay Weekend for Northeastern schools.” Vassar sent eight representatives.

April 8, 2006: Sunday Community Brunch - cooking by Blegen House Interns.

March 8, 2006: Rachel Simmons, author of bestselling book “Odd Girl Out,” on aggression and bullying between girls. This program will be co-sponsored with the Women’s Center.
Press Release

Feburary 5, 2006: Super Bowl Sunday alternative event - food, and videos of the Sydney Gay Games, (where the only restriction is that anyone who wants to can compete.)

Feburary 3, 2006: Visit of Blegen interns and other LGBTQ students to the US Military Academy at West Point at the invitation of the USMA Sociology Dept. to speak to classes on Deviance and Social Control.

January 25, 2006: Screening of Sundance - prizewinning feature film “Brother to Brother”, with a discussion afterward with Rodney Evans, the writer/director, who just won the HBO ‘New Director to Watch’ prize at the 2005 Black Movie Awards.

Fall 2005

November 28, 2005: Keith Boykin - lecture, “Beyond the Down Low: Black and Gay In America.” With Women’s Studies, Sociology, Africana Studies. Press Release

November 26, 2005: First WAM night (Women, Art, Music) with dinner cooked at house. Elana Santana, Sascha Atkins-Loria. (Women's Center Interns.)

November 15, 2005: Participation in “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit, 2000 pairs of boots representing American dead, and slippers to represent the dead Iraqis.

November 14, 2005: Art Exhibit “Gender, Body, Sexuality” Anna Gutman '06 Artists reception 11/19.

November 13, 2005: Cooking event: “Food for Thought: A Gathering of Women.” Eating Disorder Reach-out Service, ALANA Center, Women's Center.

November 5, 2005: Lecture, Dr. Toby Melter spoke about the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association’s standards of care and current surgical techniques for GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery) and ancillary procedures.

November 2, 2005: LGBTQ Community Discussion on The Imperialist, right-wing campus publication

October 31, 2005: CIRCLES county-wide annual Halloween party.

October 27, 2005:Two Colonels” programs. Discussions on two topics: Gays in the Military and the Case for a Universal Draft, and, Life in the Military. Included fire-side chats in the dorms, a lecture at Taylor Hall, followed by a reception at Main. Sponsored by The Blegen House/Campus Life, the Women's Studies Programs, the Women's Center, and Residential Life.

October 13, 2005: N.Y. Anti-violence project training for CARES/Blegen.

October 10, 2005: National Coming Out Day events, including QCVC Faculty Panel on Gay Marriage.

October 2, 2005: Freshman Parents Weekend open house & films for students.

September 1, 2005: CIRCLES radio program WTBQ 1110AM begins broadcasts 1:30 Fridays.

September 1, 2005: Queer Alphabets Class (Freshman Course) begins meeting at house.

September 19, 2005: All-College Program, The U.S. Constitution: Who Is Protected? with Professors Molly Shanley, Diane Harriford, and Wilfred Rumble, and students Rick Rodems and Daniel Ross.

September 7, 2005: Open House/ Welcome BBQ - Pasta Bar

August 31, 2005: Meeting with staff of tri-county Circles, high school program.

August 30, 2005: Freshman Orientation (“Gays of Our Lives”) facilitated by Blegen interns.

Spring semester of 2004 was largely devoted to study and celebration of the life and work of painter/poet Stan Rice. After organizing a competition in his name, which offered cash prizes provided by Stan’s wife, the novelist Anne Rice, the Blegen staff went to the community in Poughkeepsie to encourage participation, visiting schools, neighborhood centers and libraries.

At Vassar, Rice’s poetry was taught in the English department by Professor Pat Wallace and in a Blegen House workshop led by Professor Judith Nichols, herself a poet/painter, and co-organizer of the semester’s events.

Later in the term, with the assistance of Terri Quinn of Campus Activities, and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, a gallery show of Rice paintings was installed at the Palmer Gallery in the College Center. On the final night of the exhibit a dinner was held at the Blegen House for the Rice family, after which a tribute to Rice and his work was held at the Villard room, with poetry readings by Wallace’s students, reminisces by family and friends, including Christopher Rice, the poet’s son, himself a bestselling novelist, and Michael Riley, professor at Claremont McKenna College and Stan’s biographer. Prizes were awarded for the best poems and paintings submitted by people from the community.

Following this event, we continued with other programming. Intern Sharla Alegria developed a panel on same-sex marriage, with speakers Molly Shanley, Jamie Weinstein, Larry Cerecedes and Rena Blumenthal. In the month of May we were honored to co-sponsor the campus visit of legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones with Physical Education and Dance department.

In the fall of 2004-05 we again co-sponsored an event with Physical Education and Dance, an all-campus visit from the great ocean swimmer Lynne Cox.

Fall 2003

December 12, 2003: Blegen Intern Ashkan Sepahvand: “Khomeini Wore Pearls.”

November 21, 2003:Ninos de la Calle” - Eva Aridjis gave the first American screening of her film, which won two Mexican academy awards.

November 6, 2003: Blegen Intern Dustin Kight gave a reading of poems by Mark Doty.

October 15, 2003: Professor of English Paul Russell read from his latest novel“War Against the Animals.”

October 4, 2003: Jill Schneiderman and Meg Stewart talked about living together and with their two children in Trinidad and Tobago.

Spring 2003

April 10, 2003: “Hope along the Wind”: screening of his film on gay rights pioneer Harry Hay by cinematographer and Vassar film professor Philippe Roque

April 3, 2003: “Is There A Biological Basis for Sexual Orientation?” Vassar professor of genetics, Nancy Pokrywka says yes.

March 25-6, 2003: Eyes to See Otherwise / Ojos de Otro Mirar. World celebrated poet/novelist Homero Aridjis, president of International P.E.N., the worldwide association of writers, and former Mexican ambassador to the Netherlands and Switzerland, with his wife, author Betty Ferber, co-founders of the Group of 100, the first environmental movement in Mexico.

February 27, 2003: Ed Pittman, Associate Dean of the College: “In The Case of Bayard Rustin.” The creator of Martin Luther King's march on Washington was a gay man.

February 20, 2003: Jane Elven, Planned Parenthood, “Reflections on Forty Years in the Gay Rights Movement and Where We're Going Next.”

Fall 2002

November 14, 2002: Yolanda Ramos ‘94, Meet the new Director of ALANA Center.

November 7, 2002: Ethan Haymovitz ‘03 - Senior Thesis: “Effects of Homophobia on the Social Functioning of Gay Men.”

October 29, 2002: Visiting Prof Women’s Studies Jamie Weinstein: “Queer Identity, Buddhism and Lacan.”

October 22, 2002: David George, Prof Emeritus University of Pennsylvania: “Gay Men: Sex, Love and Relationships.”

October 10, 2002: Development staff member Lance Ringel, on his role as the New York Governor’s Liaison to the Lesbian/Gay Community.

Spring 2002

April 25, 2002: ALANA Director Lisa Thompson: The Meaning of Coming Out in Different Cultures.

April 18, 2002: Philippe Roques, Associate Professor of Film, “Circumventing Oppression: Gay and Lesbian Meeting Places in Castro’s Cuba.”

April 11, 2002: Anne MacKay’49, Cristina Biaggi ‘59, Gail Ellen Dunlap ‘59 “The Wolf Girls Howl Again” interviews with the subjects of the book.

April 4, 2002: Vassar's former vice president of College Relations, Dixie Sheridan ‘65, Photographs and stories of same-sex love and the history of Vassar.

February 28, 2002: Professors Paul Russell and Judith Nichols read from recent works.

February 22, 2002: Eric Marcus ‘85 -- “Making Gay History, One Person at a Time.”

February 7, 2002: Metcalf Counselor Tracy Ungar: “The Divided Self... or maybe not. A discussion about Dual Identity.”

For the fall semester of 2001, most faculty lectures were cancelled due to objections from some students from the queer movement. The talks were resumed at the request of other students during the spring term of 2002, and have continued since.

Spring 2001

April 19, 2001: Josh Simmons ‘01: “The Golden Girls of Television: Gender Transgression and Alternative Portrayals of the Family.”

April 5, 2001: Former Vassarite James Saslow, NYU: “Inventing Michaelangelo”

February 25, 2001: John Schoonbeck: “Red Giselle.”

February 8, 2001: Panel, Boris Petrov ‘01, Michael Murray, Nancy Pokrywka: “Evolutionary Theory, Sexual Orientation and Prejudice.”

January 30, 2001: Mark Lipton, Mellon Fellow: “Out of my Way: Sex Tourism and my Auto-Ethnography.”

January 25, 2001: Greg Morisse, ‘00 recovering Blegen intern visits from Harvard Divinity

Fall 2000

November 30, 2000: Show: “The Making of Michael Gold” performed by Michael Goldfried ‘94

November 16, 2000: AIDS update from Vassar health educator Bill Kernan

November 9, 2000: Sarah From, ‘00 “Check It At the Door: Identity Boundaries and Sexual Place-making at Gay Nightspots in Amsterdam.”

October 5, 2000: “Genetics, Gender and Sexual Identity” Assistant Professor of Biology Nancy Pokrywka

September 21, 2000: Isle of Klezbos, performance of traditional music

September 21, 2000: Jason Fleetwood-Boldt ‘01, “Opposition to Gay Marriage from the Left”

September 14, 2000: Nicole Wyland,’00, “Lipstick Lesbian; Invisibly Queer.”

Spring 2000

May 3, 2000: Blegen Founder Shirley Idelson, now of Minnesota Public Radio: “Lesbian Rabbis.”

April 27, 2000: “The Earth Around Us”, Celebration of new book by Jill Schneiderman

April 13, 2000: Kiana Moore ‘02, “Struggles of a Transgendered Student”

April 6, 2000: Professor of Philosophy Michael Murray: “Current Controversies in Queer Theory”

March 30, 2000: Associate Professor of Film Philippe Roques: “HIV in Cuba”

March 23, 2000: “The Sleeping Ballerina” John Schoonbeck on the rescue of Olga Spessivtzeva from an asylum by a gay man who pretended to love her.

February 17, 2000: “Closets, closets and more closets... The life and work of Elizabeth Bishop”, by Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of English Barbara Page.

February 10, 2000: Adjunct Professor of Women's Studies Robin Hackett “Sexology, Primitivism and Lesbian Modernism.”

February 3, 2000: Associate Professor of Italian Eugenio Giusti: “New and Not-so-new Iconographies in the Gay Communities.”

Fall 1999

November 11, 1999: Visitor Marc Adams, employee of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, author “The Preacher’s Son” talked about being a former “ex-gay.”

October 14, 1999: Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Longman screened “Dakan”, the first African feature-length film on homosexuality.

October 7, 1999: Asstistant Professor of Geology Kirsten Menking talked about a community education program she ran in Santa Cruz, CA

September 30, 1999: “Homosexuality and Religion.” K. Kyriell Muhammad, ‘94 Harvard Committee on the Study of Religion.

September 23, 1999: Judith Nichols: “Naming and Other Tricks of Learning.”

Spring 1999

April 22, 1999: Prof Geography Brian Godfrey: “Becoming Visibly Queer: from Private Spaces to Public Places.” Slide lecture.

April 15, 1999: Judith Nichols, Jill Schneiderman, John Schoonbeck discussed their various experiences as lesbians and a gay man raising children.

April 8, 1999: Ann Northrop ‘70, News Anchor, leader of ACT-UP, discussed the takeover of St Patrick’s Cathedral and its aftermath.

March 25, 1999: Robin Nussbaum ‘99 Senior Thesis: “Gaydar - Does It Really Exist?”

March 4, 1999: Wolf Girls at Vassar author Anne MacKay ‘49 with the book’s subjects, Cristina Biaggi ‘59 and gail Ellen Dunlap ‘59.

February 25, 1999: Assistant Professor of German Jeff Schneider: “The Return of the Same: Queer Continuities at the Turn of Two Centuries.”

February 18, 1999: Jen Markovics ‘99 led a panel on genetics with Associate Professor of Biology J. William Straus, and Professor of Psychology Steve Clark.

February 11, 1999: Professor of English Paul Russell read an essay of his from the book Queer 13.

Fall 1998

December 9, 1998: Vassar/Juilliard grad Bill Gross ‘93 performed his N.Y. cabaret show `entitled “First Fruits.”

November 19, 1998: Blegen Director John Schoonbeck read his paper “Liberace and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.”

November 12, 1998: University of Iowa Law School Dean Pat Cain ‘74: “Litigating for Gay and Lesbian Rights.”

November 5, 1998: N.Y. State Scholar/Athlete Kirt Vogt ‘96 discussed lesbians in sports.

October 14, 1998: Jeff Dupre ‘94 screened and discussed his Sundance winner “Out of the Past” on the eve of its nationwide PBS airing.

October 1, 1998: Judy Green ‘72, Candidate for New York State Assembly spoke on being an out lesbian in a political campaign.

September 24, 1998: Carlos Baguer ‘98 showed slides of his clandestine return to Cuba, which his uncle had once fled with his life companion: Batista’s son.

Spring 1998

May 7, 1998: Professor of Women’s Studies Diane Harriford: “Homophobia: Is it worse in the black community?”

April 23, 1998: Film; “Black Lizard”, with Akihiro Maruyama, transgendered star of Japanese cinema.

April 16, 1998: Vassar's former Vice President of College Relations Dixie Sheridan: “My Vassar, a Homophobic Lesbian Oasis.”

April 9, 1998: Asstistant Professor of German Jeff Schneider: “The Problem of Male Prostitution by Soldiers in Imperial Germany.”

March 26, 1998: Women’s Studies Instructor Dee Deporto discussed life after Vassar for lesbians and gay men.

February 19, 1998: Asstistant Professor of Political Science Tim Longman: “Homosexuality in Africa: Does It Exist?”

February 12, 1998: Development Department’s Cindy Sterling discussed financial issues pertinent to lesbians and gay men.

February 5, 1998: Former local schoolteacher Dave Johnson told of his life as a transgendered person.

January 29, 1998: Assistant Professor of Drama Denise Whalen showed film examples of Modern Lesbian and Gay Theater.

Fall 1997

December 4, 1997: Associate Professor of Psychology Jannay Morrow spoke on “Coming Out and Coming of Age.”

November 20, 1997: Professor of English Paul Russell read his short story about a gay college student’s awakening.

November 6, 1997: Associate Professor of Geology Jill Schneiderman discussed “Lesbians and Motherhood.”

October 30, 1997: Instructor of Film Philippe Roques screened and discussed his documentary on the Radical Faeries, called “Faerie Tales.”

October 12, 1997: Assistant Professor of Music Charles Kamm on “Peter Grimes” and its composer Benjamin Britten, his life partner Peter Pears, and friend W.H. Auden.

September 25, 1997: Assistant Professor of English Judith Nichols read her essay, “Lesbian Homebody”