Campus organizations join forces to celebrate diversity


The Appalachian Online

Katie Murawski

After individual cancellations due to inclement weather conditions, Appalachian State University’s LGBT Center, Appalachian Popular Programming Society and LIPS will collaborate to celebrate and learn about diverse genders and sexualitites Friday on Sanford Mall from 2-6 p.m.

The former individual events, including special events from APPS, the LGBT Pride Festival and LIPS’ SlutWalk, will all be included in the collaboration. More than 20 gender and sexuality identities will be celebrated and recognized in addition to focusing on a protest against sexual violence and victim blaming.

The newly combined series of events is open to all and especially to those who are usually marginalized by a heteronormative society and those unfamiliar with derogatory terms.

The LGBT Center’s events include a cardio dance workout, a karaoke machine and a free T-shirt upon completing a crossword puzzle about gender and sexual identity.

Jerry Yelton, LGBT Center intern and junior communication studies major, said making sure the campus and region becomes more aware of diverse identities is the primary goal of the LGBT Center at Appalachian.

Yelton said that the LGBT Center wants to encourage people to “play with their gender, and know that gender exists as a spectrum and not a binary.”

Yelton said the main push of the LGBT Center is the idea that all identities create an individual, and there is no one singular identity for an individual, but the “intersection” of all the different types of identities that form a person.

Amelia Thompson, LIPS president and senior sociology major, said the group’s SlutWalk is “a protest against slut shaming and rape culture.” LIPS members and anyone else interested in participating, can voluntarily dress the part of the quintessential “slut” on Sanford Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to show that regardless of what people are wearing, no one deserves to be raped.

LIPS began as a backlash to the limited portrayals of women and female sexuality in the media and allows members to discuss and redefine sexuality according to their own terms and experience, Thomas said.

There will also be free activities sponsored by APPS’ Special Events Council, including wax hands, an obstacle course, a photobooth, the “Wizzer” – a human-powered pump and spin ride – and a brain scanner machine that can draw a picture of one’s emotions using certain brainwaves.

Special Events Chairperson Noni Alexander said she hopes the free events will draw people in to learn more about the LGBT Center and LIPS, so that next year, and in years to come, people will join these clubs and organizations. 

Story: Katie Murawski, Intern A&E Reporter