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April 28 Sunday Series Talk will Focus on the History of Kalamazoo's LGBTQ Community


The Kalamazoo Valley Museum offers community-focused lectures on the second and fourth Sundays at 1:30 p.m. On April 28, Denise Miller presents "From Undercover to Outfront, The Story of Kalamazoo's LGBTQ Community."

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (PRWEB) April 21, 2019

On April 28, Denise Miller presents "From Undercover to Outfront, The Story of Kalamazoo's LGBTQ Community." For more than thirty years, the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center—a non-profit, charitable organization now called OutFront Kalamazoo—has sought to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied community of southwest Michigan. Director Denise Miller will discuss the organization's past and future. Miller, who is also an English instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College has more than 20 years of nonprofit, academic, and anti-racism work. Prior to joining OutFront, she was an anti-racism and intersectionality facilitator and member of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation team through the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The mission of OutFront Kalamazoo is to create a just, inclusive, equitable, and supportive environment in Southwest Michigan for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions. They work to create a region that celebrates diversity and embraces equality. The organization started in 1987 with the Lesbian/Gay Resource Line and a simple two-page newsletter. In 1992, it began sponsoring a Youth Group. During the '80s and '90s, it held LGBT proms and New Year's Eve dinners and dances as community events and fundraisers. In 1997, it moved into its first office in the CARES building at 629 Pioneer Street and, two years later, hired its first staff member, Executive Director Sharon Roepke.

Since then, it has developed many new programs designed to reach out to various groups. In 2003, the organization sponsored Trans∙cend, a peer support group for transgender persons. They have also provided friendly visitors to isolated LGBT seniors, speakers for area classrooms, churches, and civic organizations, and representatives to cooperate on various projects with groups such as the local chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the YWCA, Planned Parenthood, Gryphon Place, Senior Services, and many others.

The group seeks to inform and entertain members of the LGBTQ community and their allies and to educate the persuadable public of the realities of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender at this time in this place. To this end, they sponsor film festivals, documentary film series, book discussion groups, events in honor of Pride Month and Women's History Month, lectures, readings, and more.

They have also worked in cooperation with local and state organizations such as the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, Michigan Equality, and the Triangle Foundation to support or oppose ballot proposals, lobby for particular legislation, or protest perceived threats to the civil liberties of members of the LGBT community.

Admission to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is free.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees.

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