Pride in Pride

I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of Oslo Pride last night, which consisted of a panel discussion and a big party afterwards. Being the old lady that I am, I stayed for the politics and left before the party. I really love that aspect to Pride here. It isn’t this booze filled, all night, crazy party. It’s organized around actual political progression for the LGBTI community, both domestically and globally.

I learned so much about the Syrian refugee crisis. I sat in on more political debates today and the first panel I attended was all about gay men who had fled the Middle East in search of a safe place. One man who had gone from Syria to Jordan to Egypt and finally Turkey talked about his fear and belief that he had a sickness instead of a sexual preference. He spoke openly about the six years he spent in intensive therapy, trying to “cure the gay.” His therapists tried everything from electroshock therapy to hypnosis. He spoke about one session where his therapist had him watch a pornographic film until he was almost ready to ejaculate and then would show him photos of his father. It was heartbreaking.

This aspect to Oslo Pride puts such a real and connective face to how far the LGBTI community still has to go in their struggle for equality. In order for progress to be made, their struggle must become our struggle. Solidarity mustn’t be shown only when one’s own personal convictions are under attack, but when there is an attack on any minority, any race, any sexuality, any religion. Solidarity is a verb. Action is required of us all.

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Steven Listopad

Steven Listopad, Henderson State University faculty and NDSU PhD candidate, has been an assistant professor of JMC and student media director at two North Dakota universities. He’s received honors from the Hefner Foundation, AEJMC, JEA, and SCJ for his work with New Voices USA and currently coordinates the New Voices USA website and the national campaign in conjunction with SPLC. His converged student media center at UJ was a finalist in North Dakota’s annual professional entrepreneurial competition, InnovateND, and he was a Scripps Fellow for Entrepreneurial Journalism. He has taught journalism in China, France, Italy, and Norway. He is currently the ieiMedia program director for OsloRocks, a music and culture international journalism experience. Listopad has been a member of CMA since 2005 and has served on the CMA and ACP Advisory Councils. He was chair of the CMA Adviser Awards Committee from 2013 to 2015. Listopad was honored with CMA’s Distinguished Multimedia Adviser Award in 2010 and has received two CMA Presidential Citations.