Friday, April 10, 2009

Peers for Pride makes the news!

UT ‘Peers for Pride’ students present GLBT monologues
Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

Daily Texan Staff

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Published: Friday, April 10, 2009
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2009

Nine students presented monologues on different identities within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Thursday evening at the Will C. Hogg Building.

The students are participating in a new two-semester course called “Peers for Pride,” which allows students to interact with an audience about GLBT-related current events and cultural topics.

“[The students] learn about identity, what’s it like to be gay in America, what’s hard to talk about and how to talk about it,” said Shane Whalley, the program’s director and course

The idea came to Whalley after government senior Linda Dominguez presented her monologue as a final project in Whalley’s social-work class two semesters ago.

“It’s similar to ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ except I wrote it for the LGBTQ community to raise awareness for other groups of people,” Dominguez said.

Whalley required participants to submit an application and go through an interview before they are accepted to the course. The six-credit-hour class counts in both the social work and women’s and gender studies programs.
The program also trains students to lead campus workshops, where they present the five- to eight-minute monologues for a final project. Students encourage audience interaction at the workshops, allowing the crowd to ask them questions while they portray the identities represented.

The workshops have nurtured the creative side of the mind, said government senior Jessie Beal, who performed at the presentation.

During the course, students follow issues in the news, including same-sex marriage, hate crimes and popular culture. They have also discussed whether characters and stereotypes presented by mass media — such as the reality TV show ”RuPaul’s Drag Race” — help or hurt the GLBT community, Whalley said.

Students in the program also learn how to respond to arguments and handle situations that stem from misconceptions.
“People would ask triggering questions and have misunderstandings, but now I can see where they’re coming from, and I know how to answer,” said humanities senior Lizzy Dupont.

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