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East Central University’s Gay-Straight Alliance will be observing two events – a brown bag lunch and a town hall meeting - on Thursday, Oct. 9, in conjunction with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The GSA will be hosting a brown bag lunch at 12:30 p.m., featuring an address by Paula Sophia, who gained national acclaim for her transgender activism as well as transitioning from male to female while serving in the Oklahoma City Police Department. She ran for the Oklahoma State Senate earlier this year and was narrowly defeated by only 22 votes.

Sophia is also an accomplished poet and is the author of the book, Shadowboxer. Members of the GSA will also be on hand to share their “coming out” stories. The GSA will provide sandwiches, desserts and drinks at the event as well.

The GSA will host a town meeting on the “freedom to marry” at 7 p.m. in room 221 of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center. The event will be facilitated by the group Freedom Oklahoma. A conversation will be conducted about why marriage matters as the legal landscape for marriage is changing.

Today, 40 percent of Americans live in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal, whereas 10 years ago, no states had total marriage equality. If the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision in the next year about marriage, the landscape will shift again, according to Dr. Christine Pappas, advisor of the GSA.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with these events,” said Pappas. “Our group has been very active so far this semester and I am very proud of their commitment to raising the visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Oklahoma.”

For more information contact Pappas at 580-559-5819 or .


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