LitFest celebrates LGBT, allies courage

By: Amanda Dee – Social Media Manager

“Be brave” is easy to say. But whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning (LGBT) or an ally, it isn’t easy to live.

This year’s LitFest, starting Friday at 7 p.m. in Marianist Hall, is a safe space for writers to be brave together – for themselves or as allies – with Saturday workshops start at 1 p.m.

American LGBT youth are twice as likely as their non-LGBT peers to be physically assaulted, kicked or pushed at school, according to a Human Rights Campaign study. Four in 10 American LGBT youth say they don’t feel their communities accept LGBT individuals.

To begin to address LGBT discrimination and our campus environment, the University of Dayton English department established a H.W. Martin Post-Doc of Creative Writing and Diversity fellowship.

P.J. Carlisle, Ph.D., was selected for this position last semester, and she, along with writer and fellow LitFest co-coordinator Al Carrillo, Ph.D., are just doing their “small piece” of “God’s will” by heading this year’s LitFest committee, Carlisle said.

“I’ve seen kids get lost in the dark because they were different,” Carlisle said. Carlisle was a “kid like that.”

“Now I’m going to stand here with my beat up lantern and light a bit of the path so they don’t give up,” Carlisle said.

So the committee summoned writers from a foundation with a similar aim: Lambda Literary. According to its mission statement, Lambda Literary works to ensure LGBT can write, publish and read their stories, that they can affirm themselves.

Although the path for LGBT is less illuminated, according to the same Human Rights Campaign study, 75 percent reported their peers did not have a problem with their identities after they came out.

This year’s LitFest, Carlisle said in a press release, is one concentrated day of support, so all University of Dayton authors can emerge.

All events will be held in the common area on the second floor of Marianist Hall. For a full schedule, visit LitFest 2015 University of Dayton on Facebook or contact Al Carrillo at 937-229-3417.