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Dr. Helis Sikk speaks on the struggles within the LGBTQ+ community

Chante Rutherford

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On November 15, Ashland welcomed Dr. Helis Sikk to speak on the history of violence against LGBTQ people called, “Mainstream Violence”. This event, hosted by Ashland Center for Nonviolence and Eagles for Pride, was a chance for those in the community to become educated on the history of how the LGBTQ community has fought for their rights in American society.

Sikk is a postdoctoral scholar and assistant professor of women and sexuality studies at DePauw University.

Sikk spoke on various topics such as the murder of Matthew Shepard, a young adult, who was an openly gay student who attended the University of Wyoming to racism in the transgender community and how there is an oversexualized world about gay men, women and transgender citizens.

While speaking, Sikk showed various magazine publications that the LGBTQ+ community was created such as The Advocate to share important information like politics, news, entertainment and more while, “embracing their sexualities with no sense of fear.”

Sikk expressed how majority did happen during the Civil Rights era with the Stonewall riots happening in Manhattan to the rise of activists such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

“This does have an effect on history with the start of gay and trans activism,” Sikk said.

Sophomore Jessica Myers saw Sikk as, “very knowledgeable in her subject matter,” when talking about the violence against the LGBTQ+ community and how it is portrayed in the media.

“She did a fantastic job when bringing to light how to bring our group (Eagles for Pride) the ability to grow and have a safe space,” Myers said.

Hines, along with a few other members of the organization, sat and had dinner with the professor prior to the event.

“Helis was an interesting and well-spoken speaker,” said Junior and President of Eagles for Pride Julia Hines.

Hines enjoyed learning about the “more complicated aspects” that reside in the LGBTQ+ community, she said.

“It was great to hear a talk about how there is even privilege in the LGBTQ+ community especially when it comes to race and gender,” Hines said.

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