LGBTIQA Senior Send-Off dinner, with Remarks by Bishop Flunder

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At the start of this year’s third-annual Dinner to Celebrate Out Seniors, Kate Stern, director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, reflected back to the time when she arrived at Bowdoin seven years ago. She had a list of just four OUTPeers.

Today, that number has grown to over 50. In addition, there are over 300 students who are part
of the OUTAllies group.

Reconciling Spirituality and Sexuality
bishop flundersJulian Tamayo ’16, who attended Bishop Yvette Flunder’s Friday talk, said the “crowd laughed, cried, sang, danced and rejoiced at the words shared during this powerful event.” He was particularly touched when Flunders told the audience, “Change is possible, there is a new day coming…there’s a much bigger tent because we are pushing the tent pegs back because we are making room, because we are making space, and who knows? Who knows, but that some of you that are in this room, will continue with your work to be the folks who deliver and reveal to the church that peace, acceptance, inclusion, affirmation are all the things that are closest to the heart of God.”
Attending the April 30 dinner were 30 seniors and staff from across the college, including Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, Assistant Professor of Africana studies Judith Casselbery, McKeen Center Director Sarah Seames, and Associate Dean of Student Affairs Allen Delong.

After recognizing the many students who work at the Resource Center, Stern introduced guest speaker Bishop Yvette Flunder. Flunder, who gave a talk the next day at Bowdoin on “reconciling spirituality and sexuality,” is the founder and pastor of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, Calif., and presiding bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She has spoken in front of the Supreme Court twice, including for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Flunder fights for marriage equality and LGBT rights, and on behalf of the transgender community. She shared with the Bowdoin students her hopes for a more inclusive society in America, and she also spoke personally about her spouse, Shirley, who she has been with for 31 years, and about her two daughters and grandchildren.

Following a dinner of butternut squash ravioli and Bowdoin logs, Foster shared a few words with the seniors. “Thank you for your courage,” he said to the seniors. “You are always welcome here and you have helped change this place.” Foster also underscored the great strides being made today as more people across the country become comfortable coming out.

This year, Gabriela Serrato Marks ’15 was awarded the Rainbow Polar Bear Award. According to Stern, who presented the award, “[Serrato Marks] knows what it means to speak up and to call people in, not out.”

Serrato Marks has worked for the Resource Center for three years, and has been actively engaged all four years on campus. “I’ve learned how to be me at Bowdoin,” she said.

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Gabriela Serrato Marks ’15 and Kate Stern

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