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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2006

Panelists To Discuss International Perspectives On Sexual Identity April 26

The public is invited to "Out in the World: International Perspectives on Gay and Lesbian Identity," a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 26 that will explore the legal and social dimensions of sexual identities across cultures. The event, which is a capstone to the three-day GAYLA Celebration, will be from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Minnesota Room at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. This event is free and open to the public. A dessert reception will follow the panel discussion.

"This is an opportunity for UI students, staff and members of the community to share their experience and insight about the role of sexual identity and how it is understood in different places, cultures and communities across the world," said Amy Weismann, deputy director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR).

"This is a very diverse panel with China, India, Guinea-Bissau and Venezuela represented. The panelists have great insights about their experiences in different cultural contexts and will have a lot of great stories to share," said Aaron Lerman, an intern with UICHR and the event's organizer.

This event is a celebratory end to the Day of Silence, which is organized on the UI campus as a part of the GAYLA Celebration, organized primarily by the Office of Residence Life. The Day of Silence is a nationwide acknowledgement of the history of struggle, violence and exclusion that gay and lesbian people have historically experienced.

"It's a moment to reflect on those who have suffered discrimination and an acknowledgement of the work that still needs to be done," said Weismann.

This event is co-sponsored by the UI Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Union (GLBTAU), UI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Staff and Faculty Association (LGBTSFA), the Organization for Active Support of International Students (OASIS), International Law Society, Pride Network, GLBT Youth in Iowa, and Iowa Schools Task Force. It was funded by UICHR, International Programs and Amnesty International.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this event, contact Liz Crooks with UICHR at 319-335-3900 or email

The UICHR is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann or Liz Crooks, 319-335-3900; Writer: Katie Chelminski