Illinois Wesleyan Celebrates Gender Issues Week
March 6, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva will give a presentation titled
“Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Hansen Student
Center (300 E. Beecher St., Bloomington).
This event is part of Illinois Wesleyan University’s annual Gender Issues Week, which
sets out to inform, educate and provide programs dealing with issues pertinent to
women and men, and it is free and open to the public.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a policy about homosexuality in the military. It prohibits
anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from
serving in the military because it "would create an unacceptable risk to the high
standards of morale, good order and discipline and unit cohesion that are the essence
of military capability." The don’t tell part states that homosexuals and bisexuals
in the military are not allowed to disclose their sexual preference, and the don’t
ask part indicates the superior officers should not question military members about
their sexual preference.
Alva, a native of San Antonio, Texas, was the first American wounded in the war in
Iraq. He joined the United Stated Marine Corps at age 19, and was a member of the
Third Battalion of the Seventh Marines. At 22, Alva was deployed to Somalia for Operation
Restore Hope. He was traveling in Iraq in a convoy to Basra with his battalion on
March 23, 2003 when he stepped on a landmine, breaking his right arm and damaging
his leg so brutally that it needed amputation. Alva was recognized by the military
for his service and was awarded a Purple Heart. He received a medical discharge from
the Marine Corps.
Alva has been interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show and various television news shows. He has also appeared in People magazine and major newspapers.
Since his discharge, Alva has come out as a homosexual and is currently working with
the Human Rights Campaign to speak out against the military policy “don’t ask don’t
tell.” On Feb. 27. 2008, he joined representative Marty Meehan, [D-Mass.], in calling
for an end to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
Gender Issues Week Series of Events
Saturday, March 7: Rocky Horror Picture Show at 8 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center. The event is co-sponsored by Pride Alliance.
Monday, March 9: Stop by the Sodexho Steps outside of the Bertholf Commons (104 E. University St.,
Bloomington) at 11:30 a.m. for “Love Your Body.” Illustrate what you love about your
body. The event is co-sponsored by the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.
Wednesday, March 11: Eric Alva presents “Ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the Hansen Student Center.
Thursday, March 12: Professor Michael Young leads a discussion titled “Homosexuality: Essentialist or
Constructivist” in the Evelyn Chapel basement at 9 p.m. (1301 N. Park St., Bloomington).
The event is co-sponsored by Pride Alliance.
For additional information on Alva, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s Web site www.hrc.org/alva/. For additional information on Gender Issues Week contact Student Senate Awareness
Events Commissioner Brittany Powell at email@example.com.
Contact: Allegra Gallian, ’09, (309) 556-3181