Zach Wahls to deliver remarks on gay rights at CSU

Nationally-renowned LGBTQ rights activist  Zach Wahls will speak in the Lory Student Center Theater Wednesday at 7 p.m. as part of national LGBT history month.

The event is sponsored by CSU’s GLBT Resource Center and ASAP.

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“It’s a month to celebrate and educate the community through music, speakers, performances and dialogue,” said Jennifer Nival, program coordinator for diversity and social justice programming at Campus Activities.

Nival said that Wahls, the son of two mothers, is known for addressing the Iowa House Judiciary Committee when he was 19 years old, in a public hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa.

Wahls is famous for saying, “the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero impact on the content of my character.”

After his address went viral on YouTube, Wahls made appearances on the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” the “Ellen Degeneres Show,” MSNBC and CBS.

“He will speak about his experience growing up with two lesbian mothers, why the struggle for GLBT rights is so important, and his activism work,” Nival said.

Wahls wrote a book titled “My Two Moms” released in April 2012. He is an environmental engineering student at the University of Iowa and an Eagle Scout.

“He’s an Eagle Scout and he’s thinking about how the world can be more just and equitable,” said Foula Dimopoulos,  director of CSU’s GLBT Resource Center.

Dimopoulos thinks that we need more spaces that cultivate dialogue without assuming that we know something about someone’s lives.

“Zach and other people that we’ve brought to campus have the ability to bring people together that affect lots of peoples lives that cultivates and creates spaces for dialogue instead of spaces that attack and judge and demean one another,” Dimopoulos said.

Wahls’s speech, Dimopoulos hopes, sparks activism among the CSU community.

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“I think most students are looking for ways to make changes in the world and he is one that certain has,” said Dimopoulos.

ASAP, who put on the event, expects a full house in the LSC Theatre bringing 270 to 280 students.

“We wanted to bring someone who supports that community and we thought it would be nice to bring a name like Zach Wahls,” said Rechelle Fields, co-coordinator of Contemporary Issues at ASAP.

Wahls’ speech is meant for the GLBT community and its allies interested in equality and education.

“This event is a great opportunity for students to educate themselves about the GLBT community and hear the testimony from Zach about why the struggles for GLBT rights are important,” Nival said. “It also gives students the opportunity to hear from an activist about ways to support our community.”

Diversity Beat and Entertainment Reporter Bailey Constas (@BaileyLiza) can be reached at news@collegian.com.