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Several events this month are bringing attention to the history of the LGBT community in the U.S. and in the Ozarks. Charlotte Hardin is the Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Affairs and Student Diversity at Missouri State.
“We just want to emphasize that there’s a place for everyone at the university and in the community. The LGBT community has been a historically excluded group, and we just feel it’s important to include that in the celebrations and in the educational programming that we do throughout the school year.”
Hardin says there has been and continues to be some push-back from some individual students and groups who oppose celebrating LGBT history.
“That’s unfortunate, but that lets us know there’s still a need for the education and for the information to be presented. We hope the information’s presented here on campus in a way that’s not threatening. All the programs are open to anyone who wants to attend and has something to share or has the desire to learn.”
Tomorrow at noon in Plaster Student Union, Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, head of the Missouri State History Department will host a discussion about how LGBT culture and individuals appear in popular culture.
“I’ll be talking about mainly ‘Xena the Warrior Princess’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and examining the ways the producers attempted to imagine characters that would be multicultural characters, characters that would be friendly to LGBT communities, and I think because it was such an effort imagine a different kind of world, these shows offer some interesting points of analysis.”
Kennedy says historically, pop culture has been a tool to broaden understanding about certain groups. She says ideally, pop culture creates narratives and characters that demonstrate the complexities of individuals rather than creating stereotypes. Kennedy will lead the discussion tomorrow at noon in Plaster Student Union as part of Missouri State University’s observance of LGBT History Month.