Metro Weekly

Sex and Identity Symposium

American University hosts area universities' joint LGBT-issues conference

History may be written by the victors, but some local college students are forgoing what may be written in their textbooks and pursuing educational opportunities outside of the classroom.

American University is hosting the 6th Annual DC Metro Area GLBT Studies Symposium, a collaborative effort by students, staff and faculty from American, George Washington University, Howard University and George Mason University that seeks to provide participants with opportunities to learn about LGBT issues and their intersection with history, society and politics, which may not be discussed in-depth in traditional college courses.

”It’s really a great opportunity for us to make sure the community, both locally and across the U.S., is aware of what’s going on with LGBT people here and abroad,” says Jacob Wilson, a graduate assistant at American’s GLBTA Resource Center and an organizer of the symposium.

The Nov. 19 symposium is free and open to members of the public, and will feature three concurrent sessions where participants can learn about topics ranging from domestic-partner benefits, to sex trafficking of LGBT youth abroad, to life as an LGBT individual in the Middle East.

Wilson says the aim of the symposium, titled ”Scholarships to Activism,” is to educate the public about such issues and encourage them to foster or create change aimed at improving the lives of LGBT people across the globe.

The organizers of the symposium will also award the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) with the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for Visionary Leaders for the center’s work to advance the equality of transgender people. The center’s executive director, Mara Keisling, will accept the award on behalf of her organization, as well as deliver the keynote address.

The symposium, Saturday, Nov. 19, will be held at American University’s Mary Graydon Center, second floor. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact AU’s GLBTA Resource Center at 202-885-3347 or online at

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