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Murray State's LGBT Programming Hosts Coming-of-Age Film 'Pariah'

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

The film Pariah is a coming-of-age art drama looking at the life of a young woman in New York City discovering her own identity and the conflicts that arise from race, religion, sexual orientation and adolescent anxiety. Murray State University Minority Teaching Fellow Tracie Gilbert joins Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk about the film and the unique stories it presents that tend to get overlooked, ahead of tonight's 7:30 showing at the Curris Center Theatre.

Tracie Gibert thinks of tonight's film showing as an extension of Black History Month. She says, "I think when we talk about Black History Month, we tend to look at a lot of traditional stories, and we don't always take the time to look at some of the marginalized stories or the stories that exist at the ends that we don't talk a lot about. And so I thought this was a great way to recognize an excellent African American filmmaker who made a great piece that talks about something that is pretty prevalent in our community and a story that is pretty significant in our community even though it rarely, if ever, gets light shown on it."

Gilbert's Doctoral focus is on the social construction among African Americans. She says for the most part, outside of biological functions, sexuality is socially constructed. And yet, at the same time, social construction of sexuality is directly connected to the social construction of race. As a racialized people, African Americans have experienced a major brunt of having a racialized sexuality imposed on them at a macro level, she says. The questions she hopes to answer are: how do African Americans reconcile that? Is there reconciliation? What is the relationship of how African Americans construct sexuality in comparison to it's social construction on a macro level?

Over the weekend, President Obama spoke on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma as part of the "Bloody Sunday" 50th anniversary event, in which he mentioned the need for conversation about racial divide to be rekindled. Gilbert says on some level, her work could contribute to that conversation, but there's also the intra-cultural conversation that happens among African American community groups that can be just as integral. She says in the United States, when we talk about race, it tends to be between white people and people of color, but we don't often think about ways communities make sense of race and identity within their own communities. She believes her work could add value to intra-cultural conversations.

Pariah event page on Facebook

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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