GSA hosts annual panel discussion
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 00:11
Members of the Gay Straight Alliance held their second annual panel discussion Nov. 8. The event focused on the discussion of religion.
The idea for the panel sparked last semester from the joint adverse experience that many of the members had in other organizations.
Amber Hammons, an open lesbian and Christian, said she faced some difficulties when she came out to her church a few years ago.
“I served as a worship leader and various other leadership roles did not react well to my coming out,” Hammons said. “I thought the panel was important to have not only because of my adverse experience but because of all the negative discourse that surrounds LGBT people and religion in this particular region of the country.”
The title of the panel was “Religious, Secular and Spiritual Pursuits for the Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Community and Allies,” and the event served as a way to create a safe space for healthy and productive discourse about religion, secular, as well as spiritual pursuits for the LGBT community.
“I think having a panel like this occurring on Southern Miss’s campus really sets our school apart from other Mississippi institutions,” Hammons said. “This is a relevant source of adversity and negative discourse in our physical location.”
USM Kate Green, one of many speakers at the GSA event, discussed spiritualism and meditation. Green also spoke about the history of the Unitarians as well as about their inclusive fellowship.
Other speakers included Susan Hrostwoski, CeCe Garrett, Rabbi Uri Barnea, Chaz from the Secular Student Alliance of USM, and the Hattiesburg Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sent several speakers to discuss topics with the students. “Chaz talked about the USM Secular Student Alliance, and Rabbi Uri spoke about Reform Judaism and his congregation,” Hammons said.
Several Gay Straight Alliance members attended the panel, along with social work students, secular student alliance members and other non-member students.
Hammons said USM has passionate community leaders who are dedicated to making more affirming organizations available in the community.
The GSA has a meeting every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in room 210 of the Thad Cochran Center. Visit their webpage to learn more: www.usm.edu/gsa/