Progress on marriage equality was a reason to celebrate for the more than 230 people who filled the MUB Granite State Room on April 14. The Pancake Breakfast, hosted annually by the Kidder Fund and the President’s Commission on the Status of GLBT Issues, honors those who build a safer, more welcoming campus for the GLBTQQIA community.
Keynote speaker Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation delivered, “The Role of Media Advocacy in LGBT Equality”. Barrios shared his experience in building public support by promoting fair and accurate LGBT images in news, entertainment and social media.
Barrios traced the movement toward marriage equality, saying, “How outrageous is this? New Hampshire is ahead of California and New York!”
UNH’s A Capella group, Alabaster Blue, sang to back up the powerful photo display of marriage, civil union, family and couples memories gathered from UNH and surrounding community members. Students from the support and advocacy organizations of Safe Zones Training, the Alliance, the Stonewall Grads, and the GLBT Commission introduced President Huddleston, welcoming him to share this day of community.Nominations for the Awards for the Kidder Fund and Pink Triangle had come from across campus to honor leaders and heroes, students, faculty, staff and community members who have fostered understanding and advanced opportunities for those whose sexual orientation, gender identity or expression differ from the majority in our culture as well as contributed to efforts for equity and visibility for the GLBTQI community.
President Huddleston presented the winners of the 2010 Kidder Awards to political science Professor Stacy Vandeveer, and to undergraduate senior Cass Mercer. Co-Chairs of the GLBT Commission Daniel Innis and Judy Spiller presented Pink Triangle Awards to staff member Amy Whitney; graduate student Claire Treat and undergraduates David Jacobsen, Carly Souza and Lauren Petraitis.
Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan introduced the screening of the film FREEHELD, to be held later in the day, on the topic of pension benefits for people who are not “husband and wife”. Dying Detective Laurel Hester of New Jersey launched her final battle for justice in LGBT rights. In a remarkable chronicle of the process of providing for loved ones in our lives, the battle is revealed as it grew into a statewide and national conversation.
Throughout the years, many past Pink Triangle recipients including the Executive Director of The United Campus Ministry, Rev. Larry Brickner-Wood, have stood on the stage to receive awards, and so, students who had benefited from Waysmeet programming and companionship thanked United Campus Ministry for its support of the LGBTQ community. Waysmeet’s recent anthrax remediation and replacement costs had been estimated at $90,000, so Bekah Hawley, UNH junior said, “Waysmeet has given to all of us; now we have an opportunity to give to Waysmeet.”
Attendees left the celebration wearing buttons like, “Love is Love”, “Ally” and New Hampshire Marriage Equality”.