Florida Gulf Coast University’s Gay Straight Alliance has booked a powerhouse speaker for the third annual Pride Week, which kicks off Nov. 12.
Robyn Ochs — an LGBTQ+ activist who focuses on bisexuality, has taught at Harvard and has written multiple works on the topic of bisexuality — will be the keynote speaker on the fi rst day of day of FGCU Pride Week 2013.
“We’ve been in touch since February,” GSA Vice President Santiago Luaces said. “She’s just an amazing person and an incredible speaker. She’s the kind of person who makes you happy just by being around her.”
Each year, the vice president of the GSA coordinates Pride Week, and when Luaces heard Ochs speak at last year’s Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference, he knew he had found his crown jewel for the FGCU event.
Ochs, who is bisexual, focuses a lot of her activism on promoting bisexual awareness. According to co-presidents Jackie Reale and Robbie Lloyd and Luaces, “bi-phobia” is an issue in the straight and gay community.
“Santiago has been working so hard since MBLGTACC to get (Ochs) to come to FGCU,” Reale said.
Pride Week typically is the second week of November and goes from Tuesday through Friday. This year, the GSA is also collaborating with Edison College to create an even bigger celebration. They also welcome non-FGCU affi liated members of the community to join their celebration.
This year, the biggest day of Pride Week will be the opening Tuesday. Ochs will be speaking at the opening ceremony on the library lawn around 2 p.m., and in the evening, the GSA will be hosting a workshop in the Cohen Center room 214. There will also be a dinner with Ochs.
“Workshop Wednesday” is the second day of the event, and the focus of the biggest workshop will be anti-oppression.
On Thursday, Trixie Towers will perform at the “Out” Door Festival, which includes a DJ and live entertainment. There will also be free HIV testing and supporting FGCU RSOs such as Voices for Planned Parenthood at FGCU, Gender Equality Organization and the Caribbean Student Alliance.
Friday will wrap up Pride Week with a NOH8 photo shoot and a social hour.
As always, the GSA hopes to promote both education and acceptance. This year’s Pride Week is not just about recognizing pride in homosexuality, but pride in being a community.
“Pride week isn’t just about pride in being gay, it’s about being proud of who you are,” Luaces said. “It’s not just GSA pride, it’s FGCU pride.”
Photo credit: Oscar Santiago Torres