OUTstanding 2014, “The LGBTQ+ Mind, Body, and Soul”
The OUTstanding Planning Committee is back again, working hard towards making the fourth annual conference the biggest and the best yet. We are still here, with the same mission: educating and exploring issues of LGBTQ+ (we use “LGBTQ+” here to signify the inclusion of all gender and sexual minorities) identity and equality. We are working toward UT’s VOL Vision 2015: to nurture and explore diversity, we hope you will join us (again or for the first time!).
Several occurrences in Knoxville and at UT over the past few years have proven, especially to the planning committee, that OUTstanding is one of the most important events UT could have. LGBTQ+ visibility is becoming prominent in a way never before seen at the University of Tennessee.
The OUTstanding Planning Committee are an interdisciplinary group of students, staff and faculty from across the university who have banded together to explore the visibility of diversity and LGBTQ+ cultural issues in order to create campus-wide discussion, education, exploration and celebration of intersectional diversity of the community on campus and in general society. To do this, we have attempted to create a space where individuals and groups from UT, Knoxville, and the surrounding region, along with nationally recognized speakers and participants, can explore, celebrate, and facilitate discussions and networking surrounding these important issues. The seminar themes and issues will be in the form of keynote addresses, presentations, workshops, panels, scholar forums, and inspiring entertainment from LGBTQ+ artists. Presenters and participants alike will come from diverse backgrounds and bring creative and intersecting opinions, views, and issues to the table. Such issues for discussion include but are not limited to gender expression, class issues, race issues and ethnic LGBTQ+ diversity, religion and community, disability within the community, campus environment, local history, and a special focus on how to foster continuing celebration and advocation of LGBTQ+ rights and more.
One of the main goals of this year’s seminar will be to encourage total wellness of participants. Guests are invited to explore how their gender and sexual identities intersect with their health and explore health as a topic that spans their mental wellbeing, physical fitness, sexual health, body image, and their ability to express themselves creatively. We also encourage guests to explore the ways in which oppression and discrimination have hurt them, and to find ways that they might find healing in community.