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A Place at the Table

JungCenterThe Jung Center’s September LGBT lecture series
by Marene Gustin

Society is more accepting than ever before, but it still has a long way to go. Yes, there are gay characters on Glee, but there’s also the tragedy of Tyler Clementi,” says John Schwartz, a New York Times reporter and author of Oddly Normal. The paperback version comes out this month.

“My goal in writing Oddly Normal was to reach out to families with LGBT kids,” says Schwartz, “or kids who are different in any number of ways, and to talk about the pressures the kids are under and what parents must do to tell them, through examples and conversation, that they have got their back.”

Schwartz writes from experience: his youngest son, Joseph, struggled with his sexual identity and tried to commit suicide at age thirteen. Schwartz and his wife, both former Texans, had no problem with their son being gay, but the writer says his son didn’t see the support around him.

“As it turns out, and as we came to understand over time, many gay kids don’t see the support that’s there,” he explains. “These days, a lot of gay kids see their orientation as no big deal, and are happy and very well adjusted; this is the message of researchers like Ritch Savin-Williams of Cornell University. But more vulnerable kids, young people who are more Velcro than Teflon—kids like Joe—still bear a burden that can come with being different.”

Schwartz will give a lecture titled “Raising an Oddly Normal Child” as part of an inaugural lecture series entitled A Place at the Table, held at The Jung Center each Thursday in September.

The series is co-sponsored with the Human Rights Campaign and will explore the psychological, legal, historical, and personal perspectives for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movement. Event co-sponsors include Equality Texas Foundation, PFLAG, The Montrose Center, and Legacy Community Health Services, with support provided by Shell and The Hollyfield Foundation.

The four-part series also features lectures by Robert Hopcke, Mitchell Katine, and Jill Carroll, PhD.

Hopcke is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Berkeley, California, specializing in issues of sexuality, religion, and spirituality. He is known internationally for his groundbreaking work within Jungian psychology, including the 1997 national bestseller There Are No Accidents and the first full-length work in English on homosexuality within the field of analytical psychology, called Jung, Jungians and Homosexuality.

Katine is a founding partner with the law firm of Katine & Nechman L.L.P. Since the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Katine has been a stalwart leader in the battle to help those with HIV/AIDS. He has also helped create numerous LGBT legal organizations in Houston and Texas, and he regularly appears on local and national television and radio programs discussing issues such as same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian adoption, HIV/AIDS, and civil rights. He is particularly proud of his role as local counsel in the Lawrence v. Texas case, in which the Supreme Court overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and nullified all sodomy statutes in the country.

Carroll is a recognized expert on issues of religious tolerance, philosophy of religion, American religion, and religion in public life. She is a former director of the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance at Rice University as well as a former adjunct associate professor in their Department of Religious Studies.

“I will be giving an overview of the history of the gay rights movement in the U.S.,” Carroll says. “When President Obama mentioned Stonewall in his speech not long ago, many people didn’t know what he was referring to, but the GLBT community knew immediately: Stonewall was a major moment in our fight for equality. wTo have Stonewall placed in the same sentence with Selma by our president, in itself, was a major moment as well. So, my lecture will offer a basic history of the gay rights movement so that people—gay or straight—can have an understanding of this long march to justice and equality that is not yet complete.”

Founded in 1958, Houston’s C. G. Jung Educational Center is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to continuing education for the human spirit through psychology, spirituality, and the arts and humanities.

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A Place at the Table
Lecture series by Jill Carroll, Mitchell Katine, Robert Hopcke, and John Schwartz.

• Four Thursdays, September 5–26, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
• Series: $70 ($55 members of The Jung Center or a co-sponsoring organization).
Per lecture: $20 ($15 members of The Jung Center or a co-sponsoring organization).
• The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose.


Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.

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