Chaz Bono, an LGBT rights advocate, author and musician who grew up on TV and changed his adult life in the public eye as well, is the keynote speaker for MT Lambda's SpringOut! 2013 celebration at MTSU on Tuesday, April 9.
Bono's talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Tucker Theatre inside the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Auditorium. The theatre doors will open at 6 p.m. for free first-come, first-served seating for his visit.
SpringOut! 2013 is a weeklong campus pride event for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their friends and supporters at MTSU and the Middle Tennessee community.
MT Lambda, a student organization established in 1988 at MTSU, started SpringOut! in 2003 to bring the campus together via education and entertainment.
The organization also will present its first LGBTQ Advocacy Award before Bono's talk on Tuesday.
"MT Lambda chose to invite Chaz Bono to highlight the difficult living conditions for transgender people in Tennessee," MT Lambda president Joshua Rigsby said.
"Chaz's appearance will highlight the positive and inclusive climate at MTSU and bring awareness to the fact that even within the confines of Tennessee’s legislative difficulties, it is still possible to create a welcoming and supportive environment that is focused on equality. Because of this, we expect a great deal of community interest."
Bono, 44, the only child of pop duo Sonny and Cher, was born female. Then known as Chastity, Bono came out at age 18 to both parents as a lesbian. He publicly announced his sexual orientation in 1995 in a magazine and later wrote two books about his life, "Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families" and "The End of the Innocence."
By 2010, Bono had undergone a female-to-male gender transition and legally changed his name to Chaz. A documentary about his transition, "Becoming Chaz," premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and later aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, earning three Emmy nominations. A third book, "Transition: Becoming Who I Was Always Meant to Be," was published in 2010.
MTSU's SpringOut! 2013 celebration begins on Monday, April 8, with "Outapalooza!", where community organizations and campus groups will showcase available resources in a carnival atmosphere from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Keathley University Center Knoll.
Monday night at 7 features the SpringOut! Drag Out drag show in the James Union Building's Tennessee Room. Advance tickets are $5 each or $10 for VIP seating; tickets at the door will be $10 and $15, respectively.
The week's schedule also includes:
a Sexual Assault Awareness Month-LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness information table, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 9, KUC Knoll.
a transgender awareness information table, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, on the KUC Knoll.
a free public panel discussion focusing on religion and LGBTQ issues on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the KUC Theater.
a "NO H8" photo booth on Thursday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the KUC Knoll.
MT Lambda also is displaying an LGBTQ historical timeline all week inside the James E. Walker Library, organizers said.
"In the past MT Lambda has brought speakers to campus such as Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard; comedian and actor Ant; and director/producer/actor Del Shores, just to name a few," Rigsby said. "This year will be our biggest SpringOut! week yet, including our Outtapalooza event, our Spring Drag Show and the religious panel focused on LGBTQ issues."
More details are available at MT Lambda's website.