LGBT Caucus sponsors award-winning film and PBS director

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 12, 2007 – The LGBT faculty-staff caucus at Virginia Tech will host the award-winning PBS film director Daniel Karslake, and an educational screening of "For the Bible Tells Me So" at The Lyric Theatre Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

The film will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and an open reception. In addition, on Friday, Nov. 30, the caucus is hosting a panel forum with director, as well as Fred Piercy (human development department chair), Dave Winston (Dairy Science, LGBT caucus), Rev. Kelly Sisson (Glade Church) and Scott Russell (campus minister).

Both events are free and open to the public.

"For the Bible Tells Me So,” a First Run Production, has won three audience awards at film festivals across the country and was nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Award in 2007. Some people feel very conflicted when it comes to homosexuality and the Bible. People of great faith who have a gay friend or relative may experience profound spiritual turmoil. Healing and transformative, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture.

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson – the film shows how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, For the Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

For six years, Daniel Karslake has been an award-winning producer for the highly acclaimed newsmagazine, “In the Life,” which airs nationally on PBS in over 120 markets. Recognition for his outstanding work for the show, which has centered primarily on issues regarding religion and homosexuality, includes an Emmy nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as praise from GLAAD and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

This is the caucus's second annual "Artist-in-Residence" package. Karslake will also be meeting with classes, professors, and participating in a moderated discussion with local clergy. At the end of last year's "Revelations,” a theatrical presentation about resiliency, discussion centered around religion and the difficulties encountered by the LGBT community in Appalachia.

“This non-fiction film makes for a very nice progression in the conversation,” said Jean Elliott, co-chair of the caucus. “Our university is in great need of healing, in great need of anything that spreads the message of tolerance, understanding, and inclusiveness. Karslake's film speaks directly to a mainstream audience. The film includes gay men and lesbians, young and old, and a family of color. It is very inclusive. Most importantly, the topic is a conversation that needs to happen in the New River Valley.”

“I am so pleased that our organization, along with our co-sponsors and supporters, can bring this caliber of programming to the area,” said Ken Belcher, co-chair of the LGBT caucus at Virginia Tech. “This program, targeted to both the university and greater NRV communities is in direct support of our mission of outreach and education. Last year's program, "Revelations," drew well over 200 people and stimulated a significant discussion afterwards. My goal is to far surpass that number of attendees this year!”

This residency and screening has received campus-wide support, including sponsorship from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Women’s Center, the Departments of Communication, Interdisciplinary Studies, Human Development, and the School of the Arts. It has also been awarded a Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series grant.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus at Virginia Tech formed in 1992 as an affiliate of the Women's Network. The LGBT Caucus is open to all Virginia Tech faculty, staff, graduate students, and individuals who support the objectives of the Caucus.

The LGBT Caucus at Virginia Tech is committed to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. The caucus seeks to improve the lives of LGBT individuals both at the University and in the New River Valley community through educational programming, social activities, public service, and outreach. Together with our allies, we strive to share information and initiate progressive community change as we visibly work for social justice and human rights.