Dylan Marron visits Northwest

Digital creator and LGBTQ activist Dylan Marron meets with predominantly mass media students in a Q & A style session prior to his lecture Thursday, Oct. 4 in Wells Hall.

Dylan Marron shared his experiences with digital creation and social justice issues while  visiting Northwest Oct. 4 as a speaker for the Student Activities Council Speaks Lecture Series.

Marron was invited to campus by SAC in collaboration with the University Police Department; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the School of Communication and Mass Media.

Per his contract with the School of Communication and Mass Media, Marron had a Q&A session with media students hours prior to his speech for the Lecture Series.

Marron started his career as an actor, but agents continuously told him he would not be able to find work. As he grew older and heard the same message year after year, he realized he was rejected due to his skin color.

In order to discuss the lack of representation in a healthy, progressive manner, he created a video series called “Every Single Word,” where he edits down popular movies to only the words spoken by a person of color.

“I used the internet to make a career when the agents told me I couldn’t,” Marron said in the Q&A.

Marron worked as a writer at Seriously.TV where he created, hosted and produced projects such as “Sitting in Bathrooms with Trans People” and the “Unboxing” series.

He created content which opened discussion about ongoing controversial topics.

“I like infusing what I do with intention,” Marron said.

As a digital creator on several platforms, Marron shares his thoughts and opinions publicly. He receives large amounts of hate for being a homosexual individual who shares his liberal views.

Marron uses this negativity to fuel positive conversations in his latest podcast, “Conversations with People Who Hate Me,” where he asks people why they wrote hateful messages, discussing the thoughts and feelings behind each side.

He also moderates conversations between others who have received hate and the people who wrote those messages.

SAC Speaks Director TJ Johnson is fascinated with the podcasts.

“I think it’s important for people who are listening to podcasts to listen to both sides,”  Johnson said.

At Marron’s talk, he shared clips of the podcast with students and faculty. His audience was filled with both brand new and long-time fans.

One new fan of Marron was freshman Adrien Bradley.

“I had heard about this (event) so I watched some of his unboxing videos,” Bradley said. “Then I saw him now and I am going to listen to him later.”

Sophomore Simon Hamilton, on the other hand, has been a fan of Marron for four or five years, since he found Marron on the podcast, “Welcome to Night Vale.”

“It’s very nice to meet someone who not only shares your ideals, but who is very competent about being able to discuss them civilly among other people,” Hamilton said.

DEI faculty also listened to Marron speak, and they were happy with the event turnout. The organization hopes to promote future speaker events more actively in order to reach a larger audience.

Hosting a highly-respected figure in the LGBT community was a new experience for DEI. It has never sponsored an event for LGBT History Month before.

“We feel that it’s always good to bring in speakers that are going to enhance students’ minds, to allow them to see the other side of arguments, to see other views and opinions from very strong and motivational speakers who have been going out and around the country,” Director of Diversity and Inclusion Justin Mallett said. “To bring someone who has the credentials of Dylan Marron was a great opportunity and great learning experience for all of us here at Northwest.”

Marron’s name was given to SAC and DEI after Helping Everyone Regardless of Orientation went to the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference. Marron was the keynote speaker and the students in the organization wanted him to speak at Northwest.

“HERO is the sole reason Dylan came to campus. They spearheaded the whole thing,” Mallett said. “They wanted to bring Dylan on campus as a speaker through the interaction that they had in the conference that they attended. That’s what led to Dylan coming on campus and that’s what allowed us to build that bridge with HERO that we needed to build because they hadn’t felt like they were a part of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

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