Don Belton was a charismatic and accomplished scholar who taught in the Creative Writing Program in the English Department at Indiana University. He was a prolific writer, perhaps best known as the editor of Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream or for his debut novel, Almost Midnight. As a homosexual African-American man, Belton was a pioneer in studying the intersections of race and sexuality in America. Following his untimely death, the Lilly Library received his personal collection of 25,000 items in 2010, including (but not limited to) journals, notebooks, correspondences, course materials, and photographs.
Transgender visibility is something that most people have no idea about or don’t really understand. On the most basic level Trans visibility is knowing what the term transgender means and how to interact with those folks in a respectable way. On the more advanced level, it is the understanding of transgender people as an oppressed population that faces violence and discrimination at an alarming rate, and even more so for transgender women of color. For example, 49% of transgender people reported physical abuse, and trans women of color have a 1 in 8 chance of being murdered. Not only do trans folks face violence and oppression from others, but they face increased risks of depression and suicide with 41% of trans people having attempted suicide.
This is the time for the transgender community to be visible not only because of the alarming statistics above, but because of the fight for equality and legal protections for the LGBT community. As individuals who are cisgender, one who affirms the gender assigned to them at birth, we have the opportunity to speak up for those who do not have the same privileges. We can stand in solidarity with the transgender community and be allies in the fight for equal rights.
Last month Tuesday, March 31st was Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate transgender people and to raise awareness of the issues that those in the transgender community face every day. I had the honor to celebrate this day by tabling at the Indiana Memorial Union Commons Desk. Dannie (my partner in this endeavor) and I spent the day handing out information about Transgender Day of Visibility and how students on the IUB campus can be Trans allies.
Although hundreds of students walked by our table throughout the day we only had about 120 people stop and talk and get a handout. That number may seem small, but it is a great start considering the lack of public discourse at IU about trans issues in the past. I hope that in the future transgender students and allies can continue the efforts of bringing more visibility to the transgender population on our campus. With visibility, allies and other students can be more respectful and supportive of our fellow trans students and insure that IU is a safe and affirming place for the trans community and other LGBT students.
Guest post by Deshea Meely
GLBT Student Support Services
Social Work Intern
The Kinsey Institute is one of the most fascinating places on the Indiana University campus. Founded in 1947 by Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, the Institute works to advance “sexual health and knowledge worldwide” (The Kinsey Institute, 2014). The Institute takes on many diverse roles including promoting and undertaking interdisciplinary research, collecting and preserving archives and collections, disseminating information to the public, as well as training researchers in fields related to sex, gender, and reproduction.
The Kinsey Institute offers a variety of services, events, and exhibits that are open to the public throughout the year. In addition, the Kinsey Institute Collections include art, artifacts, print and digital materials, and photographs that span over 2,000 years. Any researchers who need access to information related to sexuality, gender, and reproduction, whether they are students, faculty members, or community members, can use the library and its collections (advance notice may be required). Some items are even available in full-text on the Kinsey Institute website.
The missions of the Kinsey Institute and the GLBT Library are very similar. Although our users may have different information needs, both the Kinsey Institute and GLBT Library want to promote and advance knowledge related to the topics of sex, gender, and sexuality. Oftentimes, if the GLBT Library does not have an item within a specific area of interest, the Kinsey Institute can help you find additional items or information. In the future, the Kinsey Institute and the GLBT Library plan to collaborate on a variety of events and programs that will be of interest to students, faculty, and community members, so be sure to keep up with QNews for more information (http://studentaffairs.iub.edu/glbt/q-news-notes/)! Also, take time to visit the Kinsey Institute if you have a chance. Self-guided tours can be taken Monday-Friday between 1:30pm-5:00pm and you can also visit the Kinsey Institute Gallery.
For more information about the Kinsey Institute visit http://www.kinseyinstitute.org. Also check out their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kinseyinstitute) and Twitter page (@kinseyinstitute) for interesting information about the Institute, events/exhibits, and related research/information.