Suzanne Buchholz, Senior Reporter
From 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 17, an event titled “Do I Sound Gay?” was held in the Multipurpose Room at Pierce College Puyallup. It was meant to increase students’ knowledge and boost awareness of acceptance and tolerance of the LGBTQ+ community both within and outside of the campus.
Diversity and Equity Coordinator Britney Taylor was inspired to host this event because of the prominence of the LGBTQ+ community and the Gay Straight Alliance at Pierce. She wanted to help people understand each other and learn to be comfortable being themselves, she said.
“Do I Sound Gay? relates to people on general and personal levels,” Taylor said. “The GSA is a very active club here at Pierce. Also, students attend Pierce to learn, and that learning goes outside of the classroom. Pierce is a diverse campus, and this event contributes to how year-round, students will be encouraged to accept themselves and each other.”
At the event, attendees watched Do I Sound Gay?, the documentary from which the event got its title. The documentary chronicles journalist David Thorpe’s exploration of the stereotype of the “gay voice” and how aspects such as pop culture and social media have portrayed it. It features personal interviews with voice coaches and members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as several celebrities such as Margaret Cho, George Takei and David Sedaris.
“I chose this film because it is an honest, funny, relatable and informative way of addressing an often taboo topic,” Taylor said.
In addition to the documentary, students participated in a guided discussion led by Taylor and GSA President Rhiannon Webber. Free food was also provided.
Webber said the event’s turnout was better than they had expected, and many students seemed genuinely interested in the topic and engaged in the discussion.
“My impression of the Pierce College community is of one that celebrates diversity and enhancing understanding of others,” Webber said. “I feel that this film is another aspect of that, with its efforts to show varied opinions on possible explanations for ‘sounding gay’ and about some of the history behind implicitly gay male characters in TV. and film.”
Taylor said she hopes the event helped students realize the importance of acceptance and were able to engage on a personal with both the documentary and discussion, as well as their peers.
“I hope students will have an honest connection with the documentary in any way that is personal to them,” Taylor said. “I also hope that students will not only learn from the documentary but also from other students during the discussion.”
Webber said they also hope the event helps students be more accepting and avoid hateful attitudes as well as making assumptions of others.
“My hope is that people walked away from the event with a better understanding of the very real harm that stereotypes can cause,” Webber said.
Taylor plans to continue addressing topics of importance on campus with future events, including speakers and performers. She said she hopes students enjoyed the documentary and will show up to other events.
“Together we’ll learn more about each other and ourselves in a safe and welcoming space,” Taylor said.
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