A leader in developing partnerships between major corporations and minority business enterprises in three Southern states will deliver the awards dinner keynote address at MTSU’s annual LGBT+ College Conference, which is set for April 6-8 across campus.
Eric Watson, president and chief executive officer of the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Development Council, will speak at the conference awards dinner set for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room.
Watson’s nonprofit organization has more than 175 corporations and 430 certified minority business enterprises in North Carolina, South Carolina and central Virginia as members.
The theme of this year’s conference is “All Identities — Removing Obstacles to Inclusion.”
Research presentations, workshops, and discussions will focus on how gender, race, culture, ethnicity, age, social class, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression play a significant role in how people experience the world.
Tara Prairie, an MTSU doctoral candidate, will present her research into stigmas faced by the sexual and gender minority community in health care in a 12:15 p.m. address Thursday, April 6, in the Tennessee Room.
The conference film festival will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Keathley University Center Theater. Original short films pertaining to the conference theme will be screened and judged.
“It’s listed on a national film festival website, and it’s gotten submissions from across the globe,” said Dr. William Langston, conference organizer and psychology professor.
“LGBT Life in Middle Tennessee Before Stonewall,” a documentary featuring interviews with 28 subjects ranging in age from 63 to 85, will be screened during an 11 a.m. luncheon Friday, April 7, in Ballrooms A and B of the Student Union. A panel discussion and question-and-answer session will follow the screening.
David Jay, founder of www.asexuality.org, will talk about the history and politics of the asexual, grey-a, and demisexual communities at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in Room 160 in the College of Education Building. The emphasis will be on challenging a view of emotional intimacy that is centered on sex.
“What we’re trying to do is to get campuses to be aware, get student organizations to be aware that these are students who are covered under LGBT+ and should be included in their groups,” said Langston.
Other conference events will focus on how employers address diversity issues, the LGBT+ community and people of color, personal reflections on obstacles to inclusion, how to bring an LGBT+ event to campus and helping student organizations preserve their history.
Sponsors of the LGBT+ College Conference include Nissan, First Tennessee Bank, the MTSU Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance and the law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP.
Additional supporters include Dell, Hilton Garden Inn, the United States Secret Service, the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund, and the College of Behavioral and Health Science’s Departments of Psychology, Social Work, and Health and Human Performance.
All conference events except the awards dinner are free and open to the public. Students can attend the dinner free; public admission is $50. Registration, which is free, is required.
For more information, contact Langston at 615-898-5489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)