Diversity Dialogues: Jonathan Perry



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2010) – Would you have the courage to stand up for who you are, even if your culture was not accepting of it? Jonathan Perry did. Come hear his Diversity Dialogues lecture on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Small Ballroom. This event is free and sponsored by the Student Activities Board (SAB).

Perry was kicked out of Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God-affiliated institution, because he was gay. Later, while attending Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black university in North Carolina, Perry found out he was HIV positive. He became the first openly gay, HIV positive student attending a historically black college or university in America, to speak out.

Since graduating, Perry has become an established activist, speaking colleges and universities across the country. His activism caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who featured Perry on her show in 2004. Perry’s story has also been shared on CNN.com and on the shows “Men Living on the Down Low” and “Open Mic” on BET. He was recently the keynote speaker for Harvard University’s first Unite Against AIDS Summit and the first recipient of the Unite Against AIDS Inspiration Award.

“Recent events have shown how cruel students and society can be to homosexuals, so I hope that UK students will take this opportunity to learn about and discuss sexual orientation in an open setting,” said Jasmine Whitlow, director of SAB’s multicultural affairs committee.

Perry has organized several forums on race and sexual orientation and ties in HIV/AIDS awareness. His lecture will focus on how culture plays a role in the acceptance of sexual orientation, which will be followed by a question and answer session and light refreshments.

The Diversity Dialogues series strives to discuss relevant issues surrounding diversity. The goal of the series is to educate and have open dialogue between students and community about issues that affect everyone in some way, shape or form.

For more information about this event or SAB, visit www.uksab.org. Questions or comments? Just text SABQ, followed by your question or comment to 411-247 and we’ll reply.