1988: LGSU Conference

News: LGSU conference scheduled

By Toni Ferrante, published March 25, 1988

CWRU's Lesbian-Gay Student Union will host its seventh annual conference this weekend, an event which will attract an audience form around the Cleveland area and out-of-state. "Together we're finding our future strengths" is this year's theme.

LGSU President Barb Lucas hopes a lot of students will participate. "I hope they take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about a minority group that's surrounded by myths and suspicion," Lucas said.

"There are a lot of workshops on things people should be aware of, even if they're not gay," she added. "People can always benefit by learning about others whose experiences are different and perhaps painful."

Cleve Jones will give the opening address Friday night from 8-9:30 p.m. in Thwing Ballroom. Jones began the "Names Quilt", which is made of patches with the names of all who have died of AIDS. Lucas said this quilt will come to Cleveland in June.

A non-alcoholic dance will follow in the Ballroom from 9:30-11 p.m.

Workshops planned for Saturday include sessions on AIDS, safe sex, gay couples who want children, politics, legal rights for gays who feel they are being discriminated against, and sexual addiction. There will also be a photo session showcasing the work of Jeb, a lesbian photographer who Lucas said "depicts lesbian images."

Former Methodist Minister Rosemary Denman will speak at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on being forced to leave the clergy because she is a lesbian.

Two activities are scheduled for Saturday night, including an entertainment show in Cleveland State University's University Center Auditorium, and a "Spring into Summer" benefit for the NOCI at a downtown bar. Lucas said NOCI provides funding for numerous organizations, including the LGSU.

A worship service and affirmation service are scheduled for Sunday morning in Amasa Stone Chapel. The worship service will be from 9-10 a.m., followed by the affirmation service from 10-11 a.m. Lucas said the affirmation service is "a pseudo wedding-type ceremony."

Lucas hopes that what people learn from the weekend's activities, especially Denman's speech, "might encourage people to think twice before saying something discriminating."

Registration begins tonight in Thwing Center. The conference costs $8, but it is free with a valid CWRU I.D.

News: Lesbian speaks on discrimination

By Aaron Adams, published April 1, 1988

Rose Mary Denman, a lesbian minister of the Unitarian Universalists, spoke last Sunday on how she was suspended from the United Methodist clergy for being a lesbian.

Denman's speech was part of the seventh annual All-Ohio Lesbian/Gay conference held here last weekend by CWRU's Lesbian/Gay Student Union.

"I was an adamant homophobic," said Denman. She explained that she had been an ardent supporter of the Methodist Church and agreed that homosexuals should be banned from entering the clergy. "And then I fell in love with a woman," she said. Denman said she became involved with Winnie Weir, a friend of several years.

Denman requested a leave of absence from her position as a Methodist minister to deal with her identity crisis. During her leave, she wrote for a gay/lesbian newspaper. Weir's former lover sent several articles written by Denman to a Methodist bishop.

"I was told to remain celibate or leave the ministry," she said. Denman then asked the bishop for a third leave of absence in order to make a transition from the Methodist Church to the Unitarian Universalists Association.

The bishop denied her leave and also demanded that she turn in her ordination papers. Denman refused to comply.

"He issued charges that I was a self-avowed practicing lesbian," said Denman. A jury of ministers that the bishop selected found Denman in violation of church law.

"As far as I'm' concerned, I won that trial because a lot of the country saw that the Church is divided and not united, as it says it is," she said. "I hope that more and more gay and lesbian ministers will come out."

Denman said that homosexuals should define themselves and not let anyone else tell them who they are. "We have to recognize who we are before we can have anybody else recognize us," she said.

According to Martha Pontoni, editor of Gay People's Chronicle and a member of LGSU, 376 people participated in the conference. "This is the biggest (conference) we've ever had," Pontoni said.