Equity and Diversity Center observes LGBTQ Pride Month
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 15:10
The modern American youth seems less likely to judge. There seems to be no criteria or scale they will classify you upon. Very few people in this free country-- at least no one from this generation-- want to stereotype others or form opinions about people, which is one of the most amazing and striking parts of the modern American society.
The same feeling has been orchestrated at the Bison Nation. Not just in terms of cultural and religious tolerance, but in terms of gender and sexual orientations too. NDSU has truly made all efforts to make its campuses a “Safe Zone.”
What initially caught my attention were the posters for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride month being observed by NDSU and organized by Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach.
Coming from a country where rights of homosexuals and transgender individuals have only been recently recognized, I was curious to know how different it is in this country and on this very campus.
Regina Ramney, diversity program coordinator at the EDC, enlightened me about the concept of the Pride Month.
“It was earlier called as ‘coming out week,’ which most of us thought was not appropriate, as ‘coming out’ felt like singling out the individuals. We want to make them feel very much a part of this society,” she said.
The EDC has organized many different events in the month of October like Gaytino, a musical by Dan Guerrero. It is a Chicano musical play about the life and times of Dan. Besides this, there was “Stories of my Second Lives,” a comical yet educating talk by transgender educator Donna Ross.
Ross spoke about her transition and the reactions she invited from the society in her change. There are also many other interesting and educational events organized throughout the rest of October.
The whole idea of Safe Zone and LGBTQ Pride month is to help out the students dealing with gender identity issues and those having uncommon sexual orientations. It is a difficult thing to “come out” for certain people, even in an ultra-modern society like that of America. But the EDC makes it simple.
However, the responsibility of this is not only on the EDC or the campus authorities, but also on the students.
“We must remember that sexual orientation is not something we choose or pick. It is not like picking a dress out of your wardrobe. It is involuntary. And we all as allies must try and support those who have the courage to identify themselves, those who come out,” Ramney mentioned, while talking about homophobia.
The first step in becoming an ally is to educate himself or herself. Although the Internet is a very good tool for educational resources, the EDC also holds educational workshops and training programs for students and faculty.
These workshops deal with training an individual to be more accepting, supportive and understanding. They also hold workshops for family members of “out” individuals.
“The most important thing is to focus on the fact that we are all human, and all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness,” Afton Joanne Samson, a sophomore majoring in English, said.
Samson is an ally of the LGBTQ Safe Zone program. She believes that standing up against homophobic behavior helps everyone, as we may never know who is in a class with us, especially if they are not out yet.
“The [NDSU] campus is just as safe [for out individuals] as for any other student,” Samson said when asked about the safety of NDSU campus for “out” individuals.
Now all we need to do is spread the word and reach out with our questions and I am sure the EDC and the LGBTQ allies will guide us well from there.