As 2010 begins, the Utah Pride Center is offering a number of fun, informative and supportive events for Utah’s diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population.
As in years past, January is the Center’s Bisexual Awareness Month. Although activities in honor of this month have been somewhat scaled down this year, they still include a Bisexuality 101 panel on Jan. 19 in the Salt Lake City Main Library’s auditorium from 7–9 p.m.
“[Panelists] will be having a frank discussion answering some of the tough questions about what it means to be bisexual,” said Jennifer Nuttall, the Center’s Adult Programs Director.
BAM events will conclude on Jan. 29 with a Coming Out social at the Utah Pride Center, 361 N. 300 West, again from 7–9 p.m.
This month, the Center will also begin work on its speakers bureau, for members of the community who enjoy public speaking and who would like to speak about issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in front of a number of different groups.
Nuttall said starting the speaker’s bureau has been one of her aspirations since coming to work at the Center six years ago. The bureau is being launched, she added, in part because the Utah Pride Center has “outgrown its ability to respond to requests from the community” to conduct such things as panel discussions on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues for various groups and organizations including schools, businesses and social service organizations.
“As we’ve talked about over and over, the thing that seems to change people’s views on these things is meeting actual GBLT people and hearing their stories,” she said. “Combining these stories with concrete information so they get both sides [of the issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people] is a really good method for helping people understand our community better and hopefully becoming allies and working for equality.”
Those interested in becoming part of the speakers’ bureau should contact Katie O’Farrell, the Center’s volunteer coordinator, at [email protected] or 801-539-8800, ex. 22. A training session for participants will be held in the near future and will cover such topics as public speaking skills and how to deal with difficult or embarrassing questions.
Additionally, Nuttall said she hoped that the speakers bureau would attract gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from a wide variety of backgrounds including the medical and health fields in order to best address the issues that intersect with being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, such as healthcare disparities and the legal challenges same-sex couples face when protecting their assets.
“The more diversity we can get on it, the better,” she said.
Nuttall said she hopes the bureau can start up in the first quarter of the year.
Similarly, the Utah Pride Center will be offering LGBTQ cultural competence training on Jan. 26 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. in its main building at 355 N. 300 West. The three hour training session is the first in the Center’s four part series which introduces participants to the issues effecting the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer and questioning people and is a prerequisite for its following three workshops which discuss these issues in greater detail.
“Usually people will contract with us to do this [kind of training] for an organization or social service agency, but I’ve had so many people from different agencies that can’t afford to do this, but have [for example] a diversity officer who wants to attend,” said Nuttall. To meet that need, the Center charges $35 per individual for these on-site workshops, which it hopes to offer four times each year.
Nuttall added that other gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people could also benefit from attending the workshops.
“Just being from the population doesn’t mean you understand other segments of our community and how to work with them,” she explained.
The materials for the training have been assembled by Jenny Arm, the Utah Pride Center’s Training Coordinator and Research Associate. To register for the training contact her at [email protected] or 801-539-8800, ex. 29.