The third annual Safe Space Coffee House was held in the Owl Cove in Mitten Hall Wednesday, Oct. 3 with featured speaker University President David Adamany.
Director of Tuttleman Counseling Services Dr. John DiMino opened the meeting.
DiMino spoke of the differences between Native-American and American culture, such as the recognition of 14 different genders.
Adamany’s speech followed.
“Among all Americans who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, it is understood, the fear that is felt by the Muslim community,” said Adamany.
“As America begins to heal themselves, it is easy to see how sexual minorities are being singled out,” said Adamany.
He remarked how the United States military is the “most discriminatory of all nations.”
Adamany added that the Red Cross further adds to these dicrimatory processes by not allowing gay men to donate blood even though the blood goes through several screenings.
“Gay men are excluded from serving their country by giving blood, even though HIV is highest among other segments of the population,” said Adamany. “The wonderful progress made in American is not yet complete.”
Adamany closed with, “In this moment of deep tragedy, the voices of hate continue to ramp in the silence.”
He described the progress that America has made thus far — states offering domestic partner benefits, churches encouraging membership and ordaining gays and lesbians, formation of support groups on college campuses and parents accepting their gay or lesbian child.
The Philadelphia Queer Playback Theater performed following Adamany’s speech.
“[The mission of the Playback Theater is] for people to tell their stories and not feel isolated, that we’ve been on the same path,” said Dove, a member of the group.
The Playback Theater asked the audience what types of feelings they would like to share and in turn acted them out on stage.
Some feelings expressed were “excitement” and “touched.”
They also asked the audience if they would like to share a story.
One transgender student, a former lesbian, told the story of how he started taking hormones to become a man and talked about the inacceptance by his father and the doctor who administered the hormone drugs.
Another transgender student who was moved by this story said, “It makes me really angry that you have to prove who you are.”
He added that he felt “invisible” in the world, and the lack of services and organizations that cater to the transgender community.
Many organizations came out to support the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community.
Among them were RAVE (a peer based group for gay Latino youth), Sister Space (a women’s support group), The Attic Youth Center (a safe haven members of the GLBT community ages 12-23), The Colours Organization Inc., LABRYS (a “healing circle” for minority students), SACE, CASA, S-Flag (Temple Student Friends of the Lesbian and Gay Community), Lutheran Connected (a Lutheran church supporting members of the GLBT community) Phila. Gay Men’s Chorus and Spruce Street Singers (a gay men’s chorus).