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University of Iowa News Release


April 13, 2007

Singer, Cultural Activist To Perform April 20 As Part Of GAYLA Week

Internationally acclaimed singer and cultural activist Magdalen Hsu-Li will visit the University of Iowa for a concert and lecture about the complexities of sexual, racial and personal identity. The event takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union and is free and open to the public.

The performance and lecture is part of the annual GAYLA Week, Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 20, an initiative to celebrate and recognize the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community.

Hsu-Li battled racism and prejudice as a bisexual Asian American, and suffered from Tourette's syndrome as a young person. However, Hsu-Li transformed her anguish into art to become a painter and musician. After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Hsu-Li pursued a career in New York City. Since then, she has used her artistic talents to explore the workings of, and help heal the wounds caused by, prejudice and bigotry. Since her musical debut, she has traveled across America to spread her message of acceptance.

The event is made possible by contributions from the following: UI International Programs, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity; the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment (formerly known as Opportunity at Iowa); Support Service Programs; Center for Asian and Pacific Studies; Women's Resource and Action Center; Asian Pacific American Cultural Center; Equality Iowa; Iowa City Human Rights Commission; Emma Goldman Clinic; UI Department of Women's Studies; UI School of Social Work; UI Department of Sociology; UI Sexuality Studies Program; Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service; Iowa Campaign for Human Rights; Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Office of International Students and Scholars; Pride; Queer Connections; Campaign to Organize Graduate Students; and Women in Science and Engineering.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this event, contact the UI Center for Human Rights at 319-335-3900 or

In addition to Hsu-Li's visit, the UI Office of Residence Life will host Ally Drives on Wednesday, April 18, in conjunction with the National Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is an annual event held to bring attention to anti-GLBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Students and teachers nationwide will observe the day in silence to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face everyday. In its 11th year, the Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country.

The Office of Residence Life will be handing out pink triangle ally buttons at the Ally Drives, which take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hillcrest River View Foyer, Burge Marketplace and Mayflower Lobby. Individuals will also be able to sign pledges supporting the GLBT community. Day of Silence packets will be available in all of the residence halls.

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education, and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa and beyond.

The UICHR is a part of International Programs, which enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Joe Nugent, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann, 319-335-0483,; Writers: Natalie Khairallah and Chelsea Moore.