Posted on: Friday, November 12, 2010 - 11:42am


BELLINGHAM – A panel will discuss harassment of gays and lesbians, especially teens and young people, in a presentation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 at the YWCA, 1026 North Forest, Bellingham.

“Recent gay teen suicides across the nation have heightened public attention to the issue,” said Stephanie Reinauer, event co-chair. “These tragic events remind us that this is everyone's issue, not just the gay community. We all have LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) friends, family, classmates and co-workers, and it is our responsibility to be strong allies and to speak out against harassment whenever it occurs."

Added co-chair Camille Hackler: “We hope this program will help the community realize that words can hurt vulnerable young people and actions, including violence, can hurt more or even kill.”

Panelists include:

--Moderator Joanne DeMark, Ph.D.,  a WWU staff member and long-time advocate for those whose sexual identity subjects them to discrimination and harassment.  She is a nationally recognized counselor and leader in dialogues on challenging topics such as LGBT issues and domestic violence.

--Kathy Reim, representing Skagit PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) that provides support, education, and advocacy for those facing LGBT issues. She has been a teacher for 30 years and is director of PFLAG’s Pacific Northwest Region.

--Josh Foley, coordinator of the WWU Associated Students LGBT Alliance that offers student support and campus education on sexual identity issues. His mission is to make the campus and community more aware of the issues LGBT people encounter and their need for allies as they face them.

The event is free with coffee and cookies provided; donations appreciated. For additional information, see, call (360) 734-4820 or e-mail

The YWCA sponsors speakers on issues that fulfill the YW’s national mission: eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.