Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.10.17
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Daily Nebraskan - STAFF ED: Universities should be places of acceptance for LGBT movement
2. Daily Nebraskan - LGBTQA curates chalk drawings encouraging community's acceptance
3. Daily Nebraskan - Vigil aims to assuage LGBT anxiety
4. Dallas Voice - A former Aggie cadet comes out and comes clean
5. The State News (Michigan State University) - Making it better: MSU community reflects on support of LBGT students
6. The State News (Michigan State University) - Events to help promote LBGT acceptance
7. The Daily Illini - Campus celebrates National Coming Out Day
8. WYTV - College Suicide Among Gay Students
9. WWMT - Candlelight vigil for tolerance
10. KLEW TV - UI celebrates Coming Out Day
11. The Signal (Georgia State University) - Gay bashing needs to be addressed
12. Ripon College Days - The Network celebrates GLBT month with events
13. The Michigan Daily - Regents commend campus response to Shirvell attacks
14. The Saratogian - Skidmore College group to host LGBTQ panel
15. The Spectator (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire) - Eau Queer Film Festival controversy leads to administrative response
16. Chicago Tribune - Wis. students rally after woman in 'Gay' shirt hit
17. Long Island Report - Tyler Clementi tragedy prompts Hofstra student vigil
18. WTOL - UT students hold vigil to honor victims of hate crimes
19. Gazette Xtra - Hundreds attend anti-hate-crime rally at UW-Whitewater
1. Daily Nebraskan, October 3, 2010
20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0448
STAFF ED: Universities should be places of acceptance for LGBT movement
Over the last three weeks, a noticeable rise in gay youth taking their own lives has grabbed headlines. Probably the most publicized death, that of 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, has raised questions of invasion of privacy. But the wider, more disturbing trend is that of widespread discomfort among gays on college campuses.
A recent study conducted by the advocacy group Campus Pride found that roughly 25 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual university employees and students have been harassed due to their sexual orientation. The "chilly" campus climate described in Campus Pride's report is what makes it possible for people like Clementi's roommate to take the invasive and thoughtless actions which lead to Clementi's death.
A college campus can be a lonely place for anyone. But it doesn't have to be.
One would hope that in this day and age, an editorial like this wouldn't need to exist. One would hope that to anyone reading this, a message calling for compassion and tolerance, would be a sermon to the choir. But apparently, even in a modern, open society, young people still have time to find their ways to hate. Perhaps that will never stop. So the fight for equality and love should never stop either.
October is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11. On Oct. 4, UNL will observe the "You Are Loved" chalk message project on the Nebraska Union Plaza from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The project centers around the creation of optimistic chalk messages to counteract negative attitudes and interactions which can lead despondent students to suicide. Such projects are always a positive thing, and UNL does itself credit by having an outspoken and supportive LGBT network. More can always be done, of course, and the fight against intolerance should start at the individual level. Kindness and understanding shouldn't be mandated to a population by administration, only supported. With hope, we can all do our parts to prevent the kind of tragedy that befell Clementi and students like him nationwide.
2. Daily Nebraskan, October 4, 2010
20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0448
LGBTQA curates chalk drawings encouraging community's acceptance
By Hailey Konnath
Messages such as "No room for hate" and "I love you" decorated the Nebraska Union Plaza Monday. The drawings were a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Ally Resource Center's "You are Loved Chalk Message Project." It was the project's second year.
The goal of the project was to show support for the LGBTQA community and provide resources for suicide prevention.
"I knew I wanted to do it because I saw pictures from it last year," said Marissa Sichta, a freshman general studies major who spent the afternoon chalk-drawing for the project in front of the Union.
Sichta said the response had been fairly neutral.
"People kind of just look," she said. "Not good or bad, just curious. A few people take pictures. A few people pick up chalk and draw."
Jason Lucht, LGBTQA programming assistant and a senior psychology and women's and gender studies double major, said last year there was a turnout of around 30 participants, and he was surprised at how positive the student body's reaction was.
With an hour left in this year's event, he estimated about 20 to 25 people had participated.
"Any little bit does wonders," Lucht said.
Much planning went into the organization of the project. The Resource Center posted on event calendars, set up signs and used word-of-mouth to spread information. They had to reserve the plaza, gather supplies, find resources and put materials together.
Lucht said he encouraged his LGBTQA Resource Center volunteers, or "queerteers" as they are officially named, to chalk as they desired throughout the day. He did not, however, encourage them to approach passersby during the project. He said some people just don't like to be approached, especially in regard to a potentially controversial social issue.
"We are not here to make anyone feel uncomfortable," he said, "just to help people get help."
Sichta said she thinks "You are Loved" will have a positive impact on UNL.
"I think it will help if there's anybody who attends the university who is scared to be open about their sexuality," she said. "They'll know it's OK because there are people here to help you. They'll know where our research center is, and it might help people to be more open-minded."
UNL's LGBTQA Resource Center was founded in 2007 and has made strides toward creating a safer and more accepting community for LGBTQA members. It has spent a great deal of effort reaching out to other universities and spreading the word on its goals and services.
"To make the progress that we have in four years is nothing short of amazing," Lucht said.
He is currently planning the "It Gets Better" vigil. This will be focused on the large number of suicides and assaults in the past month and trying to prevent future tragedies.
"This is a place where you can be safe," Lucht said.
3. Daily Nebraskan, October 6, 2010
20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0448
Vigil aims to assuage LGBT anxiety
By Paige Cornwell
Pat Tetreault's eyes well up as she sits in her office in the LGBTQA Resource Center talking about an issue prevalent among young people. It's a tough subject, she said. It makes her emotional.
The subject: the suicide rate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
There have been multiple gay youth suicides in the past month, including Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate taped him having a sexual encounter with another man.
To commemorate the deaths, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln LGBTQA Resource Center is sponsoring the "It Gets Better" vigil tonight at 7 p.m. The vigil will be in the Nebraska Union Ballroom.
The center decided to have the vigil last Friday, after Clementi became the eighth person in September to commit suicide after being bullied for his sexual orientation.
"We thought it was a good thing to do to commemorate the lives lost, and provide the perspective that it does get better," said Tetreault, assistant director for LGBTQA programs and services.
Though there has been greater coverage in the media of LGBT suicide risk, it is not a new subject, Tetreault said. LGBT teens are about three times more likely to have exhibited suicidal behavior, according to a study by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
"It impacts the LGBT community, and the people who care about the LGBT community," Tetreault said.
The LGBTQA Resource Center will have a table at the vigil with manuals and handouts on suicide awareness and prevention.
Awareness of the high suicide rates is important for everyone, said Mike Dunn, a sophomore English major.
"I think that hopefully raising awareness lets people who do support the gay community in a nonvocal way realize that it's important to get your support out there, whether it's standing up to homophobia or just putting up a safe space card," Dunn said.
The vigil coincides with the Husker football game, which the center wasn't aware of when they were planning the event, Tetreault said, and they recognize that people are busy. Still, she hopes people will stop by.
She wipes a tear from her eye.
"It always helps when people do something to show that they care," Tetreault said.
4. Dallas Voice, October 11, 2010
4145 Travis, Third Floor, Dallas, TX 75204
A former Aggie cadet comes out and comes clean
By Tammye Nash
Clint Hooper is a gay man who went to Texas A&M and served in A&M’s Cadet Corps.
On Monday, to mark National Coming Out Day, Clint sent a letter to Col. Jake Betty, interim commandant of the A&M Cadet Corps., coming out to Betty as a gay man, and “coming clean” about how he “broke the Aggie Honor Code in every way.”
With Clint’s permission, I wanted to share that letter with all of you in Instant Tea land:
I am a proud Aggie, and as such, I believe it is my responsibility to inform you that as a cadet, I broke the Aggie Honor Code in every way and would like to come clean and come out.
As a closeted gay man in the Corps of Cadets, I lied. I lied to my buddies, to my leaders as an underclassman, to my followers as a First Sergeant and a Company Commander, and to myself. I lied because in a setting that is so masculinized it is “Not a privilege to be gay, sir!” there was seemingly no possible way to be honest.
As a closeted gay man in the Corps of Cadets, I cheated. I cheated during the selection process for leadership positions. I was selected to be company First Sergeant and Commander over my buddies because of my dishonesty. I knew that, should I have been truthful, I would not have been placed in those leadership positions.
As a closeted gay man in the Corps of Cadets, I stole. I stole the learning experience of knowing a gay man from my buddies and fellow cadets. There is a stigma and fear of gay people that only knowing and conversing with a gay person can dispel. I have seen it time and time again, the literal eye-opening experience when a person I knew has had a meaningful and educational conversation with a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person and realizes that what they have been told is wrong.
As you may know, today is National Coming Out Day. It is a day where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and allied individuals across the national make an effort to make people they known and love aware that they know and love a GLBT person. At this critical time in our nation, and ultimately, humankind’s history, it is imperative that you, the Commandant’s Staff, Corps Housing, cadets and anyone affiliated with the corps know that you are all surrounded by co-workers, friends, family, cadets, classmates, buddies, ol’ ladies, leaders, followers and professors who are openly being discriminated against and forced to live a life of lies. Since 1994, more than 14,000 soldiers have been discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; 29 states allow GLBT persons to be fired because of their sexuality, and GLBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
With nearly 2,000 cadets walking the quad every day, it would be naive to believe that the Corps uniform is not being worn by even a single gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individual. We are there. We are in the ranks of khaki. We are living on the quad. We are eating in Duncan. We are marching into Kyle Field to the beat of the drums that countless other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cadets have marched to for over a century.
Within each fish Cadence and in every Standard is a section of Core Values that states, “We respect others and have regard for their dignity, worth and individuality.” Yet I do not believe this to be so. When young men and women, destined to become leaders in the pubic and private sectors of society, are made to feel rejected, insignificant and outcast, then there is no regard for dignity, worth or individuality.
As an integral part of a university that is constantly working on not only advancement in education and science, but on improving our society, the Corps, as a foundation of the university, should take a stand on the acceptance of GLBT cadets and individuals in general. The Corps of Cadets proudly boasts that it is producing “leaders of character.” These future leaders will undoubtedly lead or be GLBT people. To deny this is absurd. This nation is changing, and the movement is reaching far and wide. People, young and old, are taking to the streets, picking up their phones and writing to their congressmen and women, demanding their own or their loved ones’ rights. One of our own, former president of Texas A&M Robert Gates, is currently working on the process of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Wouldn’t it be prudent of the Corps of Cadets to be at the forefront of this movement?
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is succumbing to public opinion and will be repealed sooner rather than later; states will change their employment laws that allow people to be fired based on their sexuality, and equality will lead to more public acceptance of the GLBT community. When this happens, should the Corps of Cadets be left behind as a relic of the past? Or should the Corps of Cadets take the necessary steps now to ensure that its former, current and future cadets are proud to say that they received the quality leadership experience and education that I received without having to break the Aggie Honor Code?
Colonel Betty, I am asking you to take a stand for the rights and welfare of the cadets that you advise and oversee. Though they may not be known to you, they are there and they are looking to for leadership. Support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and make it known that the Corps of Cadets is a safe environment for everyone no matter their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, (dis)ability or sexual orientation. That hate is not an Aggie value, discrimination based on sexuality will not be tolerated and that the leaders, destined for the military and for the civilian sector, which are forged and educated in our corps are true leaders of character. To not do so would be an injustice to them, to you, to our Cadet Corps, and to the university we hold so dear.
Clint Hooper, Denton
5. The State News (Michigan State University), October 7, 2010
435 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823
Making it better: MSU community reflects on support of LBGT students
By Lauren McKown and Summer Ballentine
Coming from small, rural beginnings, Mark Doebler said MSU seemed like a big place.
With MSU having 5,200 acres and almost 50,000 students, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the sprawling land-grant university.
But what he found at MSU was something his K-12 education couldn’t provide — relief.
“(In high school) I’d been harassed and bullied,” Doebler said. “I’d been called a homo and a fag. My principal was really supportive, and I had good friends. And knowing that I had that support was what helped me through those years.”
Once at MSU, Doebler found the Alliance of Queer & Ally Students, an accepting environment in which he was able to grow.
Now vice chair of the Alliance, Doebler, a social relations and policy and psychology sophomore, feels safe on campus as he raises awareness about Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender, or LBGT, issues through the organization.
Doebler was among more than 1,000 members of the MSU community who took part in a 2008 survey about LBGT climate on campus.
Results from the report were presented at a campus climate symposium last week, which happened to coincide with a number of highly publicized national incidents centering on homophobia.
From the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi to the harassment of University of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong by a government official, the violent results of homophobia have caused a stir nationwide during the past few weeks.
In response to the events, Doebler, along with close to 100 MSU community members, participated in a vigil Wednesday evening at Beaumont Tower to commemorate those that have been lost as well as to allow those who might be struggling the chance to speak out.
The event, “Make It Better: A Vigil to End Homophobia and Transphobia”, was organized by the LBGT Resource Center.
During Wednesday’s vigil, sophomore prenursing major Jonathan “Hammy” Hamilton told that despite homophobia, the LBGT community would remain strong.
“We’re not going to step down,” Hamilton said. “We’re a strong group of people. Together we can push past recent tragedies and hopefully prevent it from happening again.”
The vigil was a time for the community to come together, Doebler said.
“We know that we’re together, and we’re fighting to go on,” Doebler said. “(It’s) also a chance for people to get their feelings out and breathe.”
Testing the waters
After receiving a grant in spring 2008 to conduct the survey, the LBGT Resource Center, the Center for Gender in Global Context and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Association, or GLFSA, sent questions about campus climate out to the university.
GLFSA President Grant Littke said there was concern the three groups were not aware of all the issues on campus. The last in-depth survey of the LBGT climate at MSU was conducted in 1992, he said.
Michael Craw, GLFSA vice president and principal investigator of the survey, helped create the design and wrote some of the questions. Craw said the groups anticipated about 200 students would respond to the survey and were surprised with the overwhelming response.
“I think that one of the reasons people were interested in responding (is because) we haven’t had a conversation about climate in so long,” Craw said. “We had so many heterosexuals who responded to the survey; it shows a large part of the heterosexual community is concerned.”
About 66 percent of respondents identified themselves as heterosexual, according to the report.
Travis Brown, a second year graduate student and self-identified heterosexual, said that it’s important for members of the LBGT community to feel supported.
“It’s important to bring the community together,” Brown said. “When you get positive support from the local community, it strengthens your resolve.”
Results from the survey show areas MSU can improve on and areas where MSU is successful. The survey was important to raise awareness, theatre junior Chris Robinson said.
“In light of recent events, I think it’s extremely important for people to be aware of the LBGT community on their campus,” said Robinson, who is openly gay. “I think that the report will bring light to the issues.”
Survey results showed MSU is a overall a positive place for LBGT community members to learn, work and live, said Deanna Hurlbert, the assistant director for the LBGT Resource Center.
“It affirms that MSU is a pretty good place to be for LBGT people,” she said. “I think that it gives people a sense of comfort here. Certainly not complete safety, (but) MSU is a pretty good place to be relative to our size.”
According to the report, 57 percent of respondents were comfortable or very comfortable with the overall climate at MSU, and many responded that resources like the LBGT Resource Center and its complex caucus groups were positive resources.
Littke said he was pleasantly surprised at the results.
“The climate has clearly improved in the sense that this is a welcoming, receptive climate,” he said.
Although prejudice isn’t something of the past, communication senior and openly-gay, YouTube vlogger Tyler Oakley said his experience at MSU has been positive overall.
“I’ve been out my whole time at MSU,” he said. “It wasn’t really a concern if or when I could come out; it was if people were going to accept me.”
Room to improve
Although MSU has made progress during the last decade, Doebler said he hopes to see things continue to improve, especially in the area of faculty and campus attitudes toward transgender students.
“It’s not just an MSU problem but a general problem in society,” he said. “There’s been a rise in knowledge about transgender issues, so we’re moving in the right direction. It’s just going to take some time.”
The MSU Counseling Center prides itself on being an LBGT friendly environment, said Jennifer Grzegorek, a staff psychologist for the center, but she agreed work needs to be done in terms of resources for transgender students.
“(The university) is early on in developing policies that are transgender inclusive,” Grzegorek said.
Only eight transgender individuals responded to the survey, but of those who did, 62 percent said they were uncomfortable with campus attitudes toward the LBGT community.
Improvements can be made in health care, housing and bathrooms for transgender individuals, she said.
Students also echoed that although campus is a relatively safe place for the LBGT community, East Lansing is sometimes not the most accepting environment.
“In no way do I feel comfortable going to the bar by myself,” Oakley said.
“Just this year, I’ve been pushed down and called names.”
Other areas in which the report suggested MSU could improve include making faculty feel more comfortable, improving LBGT services at Olin Health Center, being more welcoming of community members of color and the potential initiation of an LBGT studies program, among other things.
Although the national tragedies stemming from homophobia haven’t struck the MSU campus directly, Oakley said it’s something he hopes MSU pays close attention to in the coming months.
“(Harassment) could have happened to any student, any roommate, any student body president,” he said.
“It just hasn’t happened here yet. There’s always room for learning and learning from mistakes. I think if there is going to be real change at MSU, it has to come from the students.”
6. The State News, October 10, 2010
435 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823
Events to help promote LBGT acceptance
By Summer Ballentine
A week of games, dancing and community events is aimed to have a deeper educational undertone for many MSU students.
Monday marks National Coming Out Day, and groups at MSU will host several events to raise awareness of the LBGT community throughout the week.
National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 11. Nick Pfost, chair of the Alliance of Queer & Ally Students, said each year on-campus LBGT groups sponsor events for the week in order to incorporate all the events.
“It’s a week to raise awareness about specific issues and to bring amazing opportunities to campus,” Pfost said. “There are so many organizations on campus — to try to fit everything in one day would be a logistical nightmare. It makes more of a presence when we’re making this a weeklong event.”
One of the annual events, Picnic and Gaymes, took place Sunday at the Student Services garden. Spectrum, West Circle PRIDE and Michigan Pride sponsored the event.
This is the first year Michigan Pride is helping with the events at MSU.
Students met for free lunch and games, such as bocce ball, as well as an opportunity to meet other members of the LBGT community.
“The more people you meet (who are) like you, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the less isolated,” astrophysics freshman Anthony Suna said. “Awareness pushes us in the right direction.”
Other events include Out and Famous: Tyler Oakley, a presentation by the MSU student and YouTube video blogger about his experience coming out as well as free bowling, ‘Out’ Politicians, featuring openly LBGT politicians, and culminating with a masquerade ball on Saturday.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, Ann Arbor City Councilwoman Sandi Smith, Ingham County Commissioner Brian McGrain and Oakland County Commissioner Dave Coulter will speak
during ‘Out’ Politicians at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Club Spartan at Case Hall.
Because the politicians are open publicly about their self-identified sexual preferences, Pfost said it’s important for LBGT community members, especially those who have not yet come out, to hear what they have to say.
“(There are) really positive role models who are openly gay and are going to share their experiences,” Pfost said. “It’s important to have positive role models, especially in this community where people feel they are less than human because of how other people treat them or say to treat them.”
For those who do not identify as LBGT, these events offer opportunities for education about LBGT issues and culture, Pfost said.
“It’s not just textbook knowledge,” Pfost said. “It’s a lot of experiential knowledge. … It’s difficult to blanket hate people when you have more personal, meaningful (and) very normal interaction with people of the group you have negative feelings about.”
Amara Vear, president of Spectrum, said the events
also have the potential to impact positively LBGT community members.
“A lot of students still don’t feel that MSU is safe — they don’t feel comfortable coming out,” Vear said. “I hope (these events) show people that there’s a presence of LBGT
individuals. … There are safe places for them, and it shows that there are a lot of others out there at MSU.”
A full listing of events can be found online at lbgtc.msu.edu
7. The Daily Illini, October 11, 2010
512 E. Green St., Champaign, IL 61820
Campus celebrates National Coming Out Day
By Renee Wunderlich
This year’s National Coming Out Day was celebrated on campus Monday by students, staff, community members and Florina “Flo” Kaja of Oxygen’s “The Bad Girl’s Club.” Kaja and other speakers at the event addressed the current spike of highly publicized Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, suicides associated with bullying.
Coming Out Day is a national event celebrated every Oct. 11 since 1988 to commemorate the 1987 LGBT March on Washington, which opened the door to the push for LGBT rights.
“Coming out is an intensely personal decision with serious repercussions,” said William Blanchard, President of PRIDE, a registered student organization on campus that actively supports homosexuality and bisexuality in the campus community.
Blanchard said the purpose of Coming Out Day is not something to force students to come out, but rather to demonstrate community acceptance. He said that, in light of the recent, highly publicized LGBT suicides, it is especially important to let others know that there are people and places that can provide council and support.
Event organizers said this year’s celebration came with added weight because of the string of recent suicides in high school and college-aged gay teens.
Kaja, a celebrity advocate for LGBT awareness, spoke about being an openly bisexual woman in an Islamic-Albanian family, and how the importance of honesty with oneself and the community can only help the cause of supporting LGBT persons.
“I don’t understand why there should even be an issue with being gay,” Kaja said, “It’s 2010; we’re liberated. We’re in college. We’ve got education.”
Kaja said she feels that the main obstacle facing today’s LGBT community is those in power, politically and otherwise, who are trying to hold them back from being themselves.
“They’re just uneducated about it, being gay, being bisexual.” she said, “How, I don’t know, cause we’ve been around for centuries.”
In an interview after she spoke at the rally, Kaja confided that the LGBT suicides was a tough subject for her. She said that she remembers when her friend felt the pressures of his family’s physical abuse to “beat him straight.” Such pressure is what Kaja said she hopes to combat.
Josh Pagan, political chair of PRIDE, was in charge of organizing the rallyand contacted Kaja to speak.
“Typically, when we have LGBT speakers on this campus, they tend to be gay, white males, and we really wanted to get someone who was completely not that.” Pagan said, “So a bisexual Muslim Albanian woman is basically the epitome of diversity. Plus, I’m a huge fan of The Bad Girl’s Club, so Flo immediately popped into my head.”
The National Coming Out Day Rally was co-sponsored by PRIDE, Bi Pride and the Women’s Resource Center. The LGBT Resource Center and the Urbana-South Straight-Gay Alliance lended further support.
8. WYTV, October 11, 2010
3930 Sunset Blvd., Youngstown, OH 44512
College Suicide Among Gay Students
This week marks Pride Week at Youngstown State University.
So what's it like for gay students at YSU? And in the wake of that suicide at Rutgers University, what kind of help is out there if students need it?
Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide last month, after his roommate allegedly videotaped him having sex with another man. It's a new level of cyber bullying. But it doesn't shock YSU student Nick Iacobucci.
Iacobucci is president of YSUnity, the LGBT group on campus. He said the university is working to become more "gay friendly," but they aren't quite there yet.
"We've even heard of people tearing down signs for our organization because they don't agree with it," said Iacobucci.
He said he hasn't been bullied at school, but a new poll shows that 25 percent of gay college students have.
Gay and lesbians are at an increased risk for suicide. Adjusting to college can be difficult for anyone, no matter the situation, but help is available, and it isn't always expensive.
"Our services are free to YSU students. We also serve people in the surrounding area. Most people pay approximately one dollar for a counseling session," said Dr. Victoria Kress.
Dr. Kress runs the Community Counseling Clinic. The sessions cost so little because they're run by graduate students, but professors are waiting in the wing.
"Our students all receive live supervision," explained Dr. Kress. "There is a video recorder that records the session and then the professor sends feedback on the computer monitor only the trainee can see."
Her big message? Don't be afraid to get help if you need it.
"Many college counselors work closely with gay and lesbian students, helping with those issues like coming out to friends, coming out to parents," added Dr. Kress.
There is help out there, but you just have to keep in your mind it does get better eventually.
9. WWMT, October 12, 2010
590 West Maple Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Candlelight vigil for tolerance
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Candlelight vigils around the nation are paying respect to teenage victims of suicide.
In the course of a single month, seven teens committed suicide. They were either bullied, tormented or harassed and all because they were gay.
Those who attended a vigil hoped to spread a message of tolerance.
One of those vigils was held Tuesday night on the campus of GVSU, an emotional event called 'Out of the Dark.'
One of the main points of the vigil was to let all students know that they are not alone and there are resources available at the campus of GVSU to help support them.
For LGBT students, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, suicide rates are much higher than for other groups. One student told Newschannel 3 that on average there are at least two to three suicides a month across the nation that are directly attributed to some sort of harassment for being of a different sexual orientation.
In September, that number jumped to seven. Some of the students at Tuesday night's vigil have experienced the challenges of being different first-hand.
“I have also experienced verbal harassment in the hallways by the way I dress, and each time this occurs to me, I have the courage and strength and support to approach the person and ask why they've done that,” said Joi Dupler, “and illustrate it's unacceptable behavior and most of the time I walk away feeling way more confident than I did before.
“Not all students, not all people feel comfortable doing that. I feel like Grand Vally's atmosphere and support network has given me the courage to do that.”
An incident where a student was spit on four years previously at Grand Valley really jump-started the beginning of many of the support resources that are now in place for students.
The president of the university supports the efforts and he says he's committed to making sure all students feel safe.
10. KLEW TV, October 12, 2010
KLEW-TV, 2626 17th Street, Lewiston, ID 83501
UI celebrates Coming Out Day
By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
MOSCOW - Monday the University of Idaho held it's 5th annual observance of National Coming Out Day.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allied Office at UI hosted the gathering at the Commons in recognition of the internationally observed awareness day that encourages and supports LGBT individuals to "come out."
"October is LGBT History Month and October 11th traditionally is National Coming Out Day," said student event coordinator from the UI Women's Center, Jackie Sandmeyer. "It's really important, not only for the LGBT community, but for the rest of the community, and that's why we have the Ally Fest, to show the support for those who identify themselves as allies who show their support for the LGBT community."
The celebration was also a time to foster open discussions about LGBT issues. UI Academic Affairs Provost Doug Baker said the university does promote a culture and climate on campus that is very supportive and welcoming, so everyone can learn from each other.
"Our strategic plan does get us to try and think about these things and our activities do as well," said Baker. "We want to have transformational experiences in discovery, understanding and global citizenship…that means all of us, learning from each other and having dialog. Today is one of those days where we get to have open dialog around being gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual and allies."
The University of Idaho will continue to celebrate LGBT History Month with various events going on around campus until the end of October.
11. The Signal (Georgia State University), October 13, 2010
44 Courtland Street, Suite 200, University Center, Atlanta, GA 30303
Gay bashing needs to be addressed
By Ashleigh Atwell
Tyler Clementi had a bright future ahead of him. A freshman at Rutgers University, Clementi was a talented violinist and, according to one friend, he had "very good potential".
Sadly, that potential will never be realized, because on Sept. 22, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. It is alleged that he was motivated to end his life after his roommate filmed a romantic encounter between Clementi and another young man. Clementi's suicide was one of five in a span of three weeks.
I was hurt when I heard about Clementi and shocked when I heard about the other deaths. After all, there are people that would argue that gay bashing is not that big of an issue. I beg to differ.
Adolescence and young adulthood are turbulent times in a person's life. During that time, most people are trying to figure out who they are, what they believe in and who they love. One of the biggest hurdles is sexuality.
Contrary to some what people may believe, people do not just wake up one day and say "I'm straight!" or "I'm gay!" Many LGBT people endure personal turmoil because their desires, urges and attractions are contradictory to their upbringings or what society deems as the norm. Many of them are able to come to terms with it and many are not.
Clementi might have been part of the latter category. After all, from what I have read, no one knew he was attracted to men until this story broke. No one knew what was going through his mind as he struggled with his sexuality. No one knows what he was thinking when he jumped off that bridge and no one will ever know.
Clementi might have been scared to come out because he was scared of the embarrassment he probably felt when he saw his intimate moment plastered on the Internet. Maybe he was afraid of receiving the same treatment that 13-year-old Seth Walsh was subjected to that caused him to be homeschooled and ultimately led to his death.
Perhaps he was afraid to come out because he did not think he would have a support system or that he would be disowned or shunned. He might have been afraid to come out because he did not think he would be able to deal with the bullying, stereotyping, hatred and damnation that many gay people have endured.
I hope the deaths of Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown and Raymond Chase will not be in vain. I hope that these deaths will help people see that LGBT people need support. No one should be driven to kill themselves because people are intolerant and hateful. LGBT people should be able to live their lives without having to look over their shoulders all the time.
I know that there are people in this world who do not condone homosexuality and that is fine. I am not trying to condemn anyone's beliefs. However, no one deserves to be harassed because of who they choose to love. I do not like a lot of things people do, but I do not go around calling people derogatory names and beat them up because they are different from me or do something that I do not approve of.
I also hope these cases raise awareness of the effects that a type of bullying can have on people. When I was younger, I was taunted and teased. People made comments about everything from my stature to my intelligence to my personality. Although I did not experience turmoil that could have led me to harm myself, my self esteem was affected.
I would wear jackets to conceal my arms because I thought they were too small and they would cause people to make skinny jokes again. I would do what I could to assimilate and make myself invisible. I did these things because of words, so I can only imagine what I would have done if someone put their hands on me.
Like most schools, my schools had zero-tolerance policies for bullying but from what I saw, they were not enforced. I still saw kids being taunted and the only punishment that was administered to the bullies were verbal reprimands and the occasional in-school suspension.
Last year, two 11-year old boys who attended school in DeKalb County killed themselves because they were taunted by students who thought they were gay. According to WSB-TV, one of the children, Jaheem Herrera, and his mother, Masika Bermudez, reported the behavior to school officials and nothing was done.
Evidently, Bermudez had a conversation with one of her son's friends. "He said, ‘Yes ma'am. He told me that he's tired of everybody always messing with him in school. He is tired of telling the teachers and the staff, and they never do anything about the problems. So, the only way out is by killing himself," she said. Bullying is a serious issue. There are countless others, gay or not, who have been driven to suicide and other drastic actions because they were bullied. The bullying does not stop on campuses. Students have been subjected to harassment at home because of the Internet. Megan Meier and Phoebe Price both committed suicide because they were bullied at school and online. This has to stop. Too many people have died because someone thought it would be funny to post something on Facebook, to push someone into a locker or yell "faggot" down a hallway. Bullies need to be held accountable. People should be able to get an education without having to worry about having a wad of paper thrown at the back of their head. A teenager should be able to log into their Facebook or Twitter without a knot in their stomach. Bullying needs to stop and assailants need to be held accountable.
12. Ripon College Days, October 13, 2010
The Network celebrates GLBT month with events
The month of the rainbow has an active following on many campuses including our very own Ripon campus. The Network is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ally support and social change organization for Ripon students, faculty, and staff. The Network group of Ripon College looks to make the campus more aware with all the events planned for GLBT month.
Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered can be a difficult lifestyle. The population has gone through many struggles. The difficulties in their everyday lives are certainly prominent issues in today's society. The president of the Network group, Megan Richards says, "GLBT History month celebrates the diversity and vitality of the GLBT community while remembering the struggles that people continue to go through just because of who they love." She encourages the whole campus to participate in all the events of GLBT as well.
"The main thing I would like everyone to get involved with is ally days. Every Friday during October, members of the Network will be wearing tie-dye shirts in support of friends and family who are GLBT," says Richards.
Students can show their concern, love, and support by participating in this event along with members of the Network.
Not only that, Network will be having a bake sale on Oct. 11, also known as National Coming Out Day, and the proceeds will go to the Trevor Project, which is a 24 hour suicide prevention hotline for gay and questioning youth, says Richards.
Students and faculty members will also be celebrating GLBT as well. A student panel on Oct. 7 is one of the events in which students can participate and learn more about GLBT. Also, Professor Jody Roy will be giving a lecture on Oct. 12. Audiences who enjoy comedians will appreciate the biggest event, being held in the pub, where a very funny comedian named Vidur Kapur will be appearing on Oct. 27.
The last event being held will make GLBT month more colorful and entertaining. Richards informs that, "We're capping off the month with an audience participation showing ofÂ The Rocky Horror Picture Show and costume contest on Oct. 30."
The celebration for GLBT month reveals the diversity and distinction of purpose of the liberal arts student. Network projects the meaning of what it truly is to be diverse at Ripon.
13. The Michigan Daily, October 14, 2010
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Regents commend campus response to Shirvell attacks
By Joseph Lichterman
The University Board of Regents commended the campus community’s response to the recent attacks against Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong at its monthly meeting yesterday.
At the meeting, Regent Julia Darlow (D–Ann Arbor) read a statement on behalf of the regents.
“As the elected governing body of the University of Michigan, we want to express our unequivocal support for the decisive way the University has responded to the unfortunate situation," Darlow said.
While the statement did not specifically mention Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan who has recently spoken out against Armstrong, it indirectly called attention to his acts of discrimination.
“Looking ahead, we will remain ever vigilant to unacceptable displays of intolerance,” she continued. “At the University of Michigan, we often speak of the Michigan Difference, those unique attributes that set us apart. Today, we appreciate the values that are common to all of us.”
Shirvell has gained national attention for his criticism of Armstrong. On his blog, called Chris Armstrong Watch, Shirvell criticized Armstrong for his “radical homosexual agenda.”
Before the University’s Department of Public Safety banned Shirvell from University grounds, Shirvell protested at multiple events that Armstrong attended and spoke against Armstrong during an MSA meeting — calling for the president’s resignation.
In his monthly comments to the regents yesterday, Armstrong thanked the University community for its response.
“The support the University has expressed is incredibly humbling for me and has motivated me to keep moving in my service to the student body,” Armstrong said at yesterday’s meeting. “I would not be here if it were not for the University of Michigan and the reaction the University has taken reignites my faith in this institution.”
In a statement released yesterday, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission — a government body that investigates alleged acts of discrimination — condemned Shirvell for his actions, The Associated Press reported.
In the statement, the MCRC said Shirvell’s "conduct should not be tolerated from anyone, let alone a public official responsible for representing all people equally."
Last month, Armstrong filed a personal protection against Shirvell in a Washtenaw County court. According to an Oct. 13 AnnArbor.com article, Shirvell requested that Judge Nancy Harris recuse herself from the case. Harris’s sister, State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith (D–Salem), has openly criticized Shirvell, and Shirvell alleges that Harris would not be able to objectively rule on the case.
Harris will rule on the personal protection order on Oct. 25.
14. The Saratogian, October 14, 2010
20 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Skidmore College group to host LGBTQ panel
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the wake of the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi — a freshman who was the target of cyber-bullying — Skidmore College students have planned two events to bring the college and the community together to talk about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) issues.
At 8 tonight, the Skidmore Pride Alliance will host LGBTQ students and other members of the Skidmore community who will talk about their experiences at the college and in the community. The panel discussion will be held in Davis Auditorium in Palamountain Hall and is free and open to the public.
The students will also discuss the “It Gets Better” project, an effort to reach out to LGBTQ students.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, the Pride Alliance will join forces with Skidmore’s Christian Fellowship to hold a candlelight vigil on the Case Green in honor of Clementi and six other people who recently committed suicide as a result of sexual orientation-related bullying.
The Sonneteers, an all-female Skidmore a cappella group, will perform “Amazing Grace” and “Hallelujah,” and the Rev. Rick Chrisman will open the event with a speech.
15. The Spectator (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire), October 14, 2010
Hibbard Hall 104, Eau Claire, WI 54701
Eau Queer Film Festival controversy leads to administrative response
By Thomas Fountain and Breann Schossow
Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich said UW-Eau Claire will address the issue of a department chair's comments on the Eau Queer Film Festival, according to a statement to University Senate on Tuesday.
The incident stemmed from e-mails exchanged between Information Systems Department Chair Tom Hilton and senior Crystal Kazik beginning on Sept. 23. Kazik initially sent an e-mail to the Women's Studies mailing list, asking for promotion and support from the recipients said Theresa Kemp, program coordinator of the English Department and interim chair of the Women's Studies Department.
Hilton responded to the student's e-mail on Sept. 24, asking that she reconsider her plan to advertise last summer's San Francisco gay pride event and the Eau Queer Film Festival.
"I applaud reminders that people who identify themselves as gay or lesbian are people, fellow humans who deserve affection and respect. However, I decry attempts to legitimize their addictions and compulsions," Hilton said, according to a Sept. 24 e-mail.
In an interview with The Spectator, Hilton said he chose to respond to Kazik's message out of respect and to acknowledge that he had received the message.
"The other reason was to let her know that there's at least one person on campus, and I supposed that there are more, actually, I know that there are more," he said. "But I'm one person on campus who really doesn't agree with this presently prevalent approach to the issue of homosexual behavior."
In his statement, the chancellor said that the issue will be addressed within the administration, while respecting due process and the rights of all involved individuals.
"It is our responsibility to address the appropriateness of the time and place of expression and whether the intent or result of the speech inhibits the educational process with which we as faculty and staff are entrusted," he said.
In response to the chancellor's remarks, Hilton said he is embarrassed for both his actions and that he has put the chancellor in the position he is in now.
"As far as I'm concerned, this is a mess I made and they are having to spend good money on cleaning it up and I just feel bad for it," Hilton said.
Hilton also said that he is apologetic to the people he offended and he intends on cooperating in full with any administrative response.
Associate professor of sociology Pamela Forman, along with assistant professor of communication and journalism Ellen Mahaffy, co-led the WMNS 422 course in charge of the festival, said that when she first heard of the e-mail exchange between Hilton and Kazik, she felt dismay, but it was followed by conviction.
"This is why we're doing the work that we're committed to on campus to improve the LGBT climate," she said.
Mahaffy said that they were most conflicted with the use of his position to make statements. She added that they advised Kazik not to react to Hilton's e-mails.
"The idea is that we don't want this to be blown out of proportion ... obviously one individual has specific viewpoints and this individual is not going through the proper channels," Mahaffy said.
Kazik, the director of the festival, said that this issue isn't about any one person.
"This isn't about me, this isn't about Dr. Hilton exactly," Kazik said. "This sheds light on an underlying issue. I want people to remember the film festival as a celebration and time of awareness, rather than a time of controversy."
Mahaffy said she thinks the best outcome of this event is increased visibility more acceptance of LGBT. She said the festival, along with the university's equity, diversity and inclusivity initiative have been positive, and they're hoping to continue it.
"This is an opportunity for students to feel empowered, to be able to do something that they are committed to and have a passion about," she said.
View the e-mails as PDFs.
16. Chicago Tribune, October 15, 2010
435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Wis. students rally after woman in 'Gay' shirt hit
WHITEWATER, Wis. — Students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are rallying after a woman was punched in the face while wearing a T-shirt that said "Legalize gay."
Between 50 and 100 people gathered Friday afternoon to raise awareness of hate crimes.
The victim is a UW-Whitewater student. Campus police say she was walking down a street late last month when she was approached by two men she didn't know.
She says one called her a homophobic slur and punched her, bruising her face.
Police released profiles of the two suspects shortly after the alleged attack. A police lieutenant said Friday that no arrests have been made.
University spokeswoman Mary Beth Mackin says the attack "shocked" the campus. She says that's not what UW-Whitewater is about.
17. Long Island Report, October 15, 2010
Tyler Clementi tragedy prompts Hofstra student vigil
By John Santucci
Click link for video.
Hundreds of Hofstra University students gathered outside Hofstra Hall Tuesday night (Oct. 5) for a vigil remembering nine people who were bullied across the country.
All nine students ranging from their early teens to 20s committed suicide during September. All nine were either gay or had trouble deciding who they were and the pressures of fellow students became too much to handle.
Though none of the deaths happened at Hofstra University members of the Pride Network (a group that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students) felt the need to ban together.
The suicides were all brought to light after Rutgers University freshmen Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and a friend taped Clementi having “sexual relations with another male” as reported by ABC News.
The vigil began at 8pm and was only supposed to last an hour however, once the scheduled program concluded students , faculty and community members each took the opportunity to share personal reflections on the treatment of gay Americans – either something they experienced firsthand or had witnessed a friend or family member go through.
18. WTOL, October 14, 2010
730 North Summit Street, Toledo, OH 43604
UT students hold vigil to honor victims of hate crimes
By Dick Berry
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Students at the University of Toledo want hate crimes caused by bullying to stop and Thursday night gathered to remember the victims.
One by one candles were lit at UT. Students have this hate crime vigil every year to honor the victims of hate crimes, specifically those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
But it was very timely this year because the vigil comes weeks after a Rutgers University freshman jumped to his death.
A roommate secretly taped him during a sexual encounter with another man in his dorm room and posted it on the internet.
"We want to give a message of acceptance. We're here being peaceful. [We] want to get involved in this community and want people to accept us for who we are," UT student Bradley McDermitt said.
Those who have experienced slurs were asked to step forward to share their stories. One of them is Steven Toth who says he's been hassled at the Glass Bowl.
"During the football games you get called names. It's just one of those things difficult to control and stuff. It just happens. Doesn't mean it should happen," Toth said.
About the attacks, Michelle Martinez, UT Dean of Students, said, "I'd like to think they're not increasing but there's more attention around it. I think the attention is good. It brings to light the things we need to change in our society."
Until things do change, UT students will continue this annual vigil honoring victims of hate crimes.
19. Gazette Xtra, October 16, 2010
1 S. Parker Drive, Janesville, WI 53547
Hundreds attend anti-hate-crime rally at UW-Whitewater
By Kevin Hoffman
WHITEWATER — The assault of a UW-Whitewater freshman last month for wearing a “legalize gay” T-shirt united hundreds of students on campus Friday afternoon in a rally against hate crimes.
Students waving brightly colored signs gathered at the University Center, sharing poems and chanting loudly for not only the victims of recent assaults but also others criticized because of their sexual preference.
Two incidents at UW-Whitewater over the past year raised concern with student organizations and the administration. In December, a woman was approached by three men in a campus parking lot and punched in the face as they said, “God f——— hates dykes.”
On Sept. 26, freshman Lauren Meyer was punched and called a “faggot” because of her T-shirt. Whitewater Police Chief Jim Coan said investigators have no suspects, but he’s still hoping the physical description provided by Meyer will help solve the case.
Meyer spoke for about two minutes during Friday’s rally. She received thundering applause for dressing in the same shirt she was wearing the night she was attacked.
“Hopefully, people will start to change and be open-minded because stuff like this really shouldn’t be happening,” she said. “I know I’m not going to change for anybody just because they feel they have the right to knock me down.”
UW schools have accelerated efforts in fighting hate crimes. UW-Madison launched an anti-bullying campaign this week to support its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.
UW-Whitewater held a diversity forum Thursday night and is in discussions to create a support group for those students.
Speakers at the rally said they appreciate Chancellor Richard Telfer and the school’s response to the issue.
“It was a terrible thing that happened, we all understand that,” Telfer said. “We’ve responded in a positive way to a very terrible incident. We’ve responded by saying we’re better than that.”
Rep. Kim Hixson, 43rd Assembly District and former professor at UW-Whitewater, also spoke to students. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., didn’t attend but issued a statement that was read to the crowd.
Campus police kept a close watch on the rally and other students as they passed by on their way to class. There were no incidents.
Kim Simes, adviser for a UW-Whitewater organization for lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender students, was pleased that more than 200 students attended. She said it’s important for them to maintain their awareness efforts throughout the school year—not just in response to hate crimes.
“This happened over two weeks ago, and to see this kind of turnout is inspiring to me,” she said. “We have to make sure this education continues on a weekly basis.”
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