The lecture is part of a new series that will focus on the successes, struggles and diversity of the LGBT community.
President Barack Obama signs the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
San Diego State University will launch the FLUID lecture series, or “Finding Leadership Under Identity,” on Feb. 20.
The first lecture, “Identity in the Military: Exploring the Repeal of DADT,” is free and open to the public, and will be held from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., Feb. 20, at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
Engaging LGBT-specific issues
The series is designed to engage students, faculty and the community in different topics that focus on identity, specifically issues that affect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The ultimate goal of this series is to move beyond academics to facilitate meaningful discussion and a closer-knit community.
“This series complements the launch of San Diego State University’s new LGBT studies major,” said SDSU Chief Diversity Officer Aaron Bruce. “FLUID brings together a variety of campus and community entities to foster scholarly discourse and draw attention to important topics that affect the LGBT community.”
LGBT in the U.S. military
The first lecture will highlight Kristen Kavanaugh, discussing the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the military ban on openly gay military service. She will be joined by Matthew Phelps, a military officer, who will discuss his personal experiences in dealing with DADT.
“Both Kristen and Matthew offer valuable perspectives on the issue due to their military backgrounds and personal experiences with DADT,” said Melissa Perez, FLUID project coordinator. “Their extensive knowledge on the subject and their vibrant personalities will provide for an informative, thought-provoking and exciting discussion.”
About Kavanaugh and Phelps
Kristen Kavanaugh is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and former Marine Corps Captain who was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Currently, Kavanaugh is in the final semester of her master's degree in social work with an emphasis in military social work at the University of Southern California. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Military Acceptance Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting acceptance of all marginalized populations within the military.
Capt. Matthew Phelps enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002, driven to serve after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
He achieved the rank of sergeant before commissioning in 2005. As a logistics officer, Capt. Phelps was deployed to Iraq in 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently serves as a company commander at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif.
For more information about the series, visit the FLUID lecture series website.