Tag Archives: LGBT
Linfield College is not ranked in Oregon’s top-10 Friendly Campus Climate Index for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
Campus Climate is an environment where you can be yourself without judgment; it is Linfield’s ultimate goal to achieve a ranking within FCCI.
Senior Elizabeth Guzman Arroyo is the student coordinator of the Wildcat Intercultural Network, and she established ways that staff and students could spread awareness for the LGBT community through Safe Space Training on Oct. 14.
“We need to shift the Campus Climate to a welcoming environment,” Arroyo said.
Safe Space Training began in spring of 2013. The Director of Multicultural Programs, Jason Rodriquez, joined Arroyo in making the program along with junior Ariana Lipkind, the co-president of FUSION.
“[Safe Space Training] spoke to me and I wanted to know more about it and it inspired me,” Rodriquez said. “Dammit, I want this and we need it in this school.”
Definitive issues the LGBT communities occur daily were covered in Safe Space training. Arroyo defined a variety of phobias directed towards those of bisexual orientation, of those with blurred gender roles and those who are attracted to the same sex.
Tokenizing, or the assumption of making a member represent a group through stereo typing them to the LGBT community was discussed along with
micro-aggressions, intentional or unintentional verbal or behavioral insults that make a member of the LGBT community feel unwelcome.
Each of these terms were defined in the meeting along with other acceptable and unacceptable terms. Arroyo said that due to the stress of society, gay people are more prone to alcoholism, drug abuse and developing mental illnesses such as depression.
These issues were focused on the Linfield campus itself when heterosexual privilege was discussed.
Also known as heteronormativity, it is when members of the LGBT community are oppressed and do not get the same rights as heterosexuals.
Linfield does not have any gender-neutral bathrooms or housing, these disadvantages affect Linfield’s ranking for FCCI. Among those in the crowd was Dawn Graff-Haight, professor of health education who teaches the Human Sexuality course at Linfield.
“I think [Safe Space training] is awesome, it would be great for orientation to raise awareness,” Graff-Haight said.
Graff-Haight fought for three years for the creation and active practicing of the Consent Awareness Training Squad , which has been in Linfield’s orientation for the last 14 years. CATS spreads the awareness of alcohol and consent with students, there is talk of wanting to add Safe Space training to the CATS program in order to spread awareness for the LGBT community. Graff-Haight supports having every student and staff member to take Safe Space training to raise LGBT awareness.
“I’m really pleased to discover how accepting and open campus was went I came to Linfield 17 years ago, but the alliance for everyone could always be better, people still don’t get it and we need more awareness,” Graff-Haight said.
Arroyo brought up the “Start, Stop and Continue” exercise, which is the act of starting positive habits that will help the LGBT community, stop prejudice and oppression while continuing a good support system that the LBGT community needs.
“Instead of people being bystanders, they should be upstanders,” Graff-Haight said while promoting healthy habits and ceasing discriminatory behaviors for the LGBT community.
“We’re all people and every human being should have a right to be who they are,” Graff-Haight said.
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Curtis Shepard, the director of children, youth and family at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, participated in a public question and answer session with senior Jesse Aerni, the previous president of the Fusion Club on May 17 in honor of International Day Against Homophobia.
Shepard’s program is designed to assist the thousands of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in L.A.
He said much of his work is focused on moving LGBT youth out of foster care. Many of the gay youth in placement homes face abuse and discrimination from foster families. Shepard attributed this mistreatment to homophobia.
“Families check the box saying, ‘Yes, I will take a gay/lesbian child.’ But when push comes to shove, it becomes, ‘Oh no, no, this is not what I signed up for,” Shepard said.
LGBT foster children are constantly moved in and out of homes, missing educational and bonding opportunities. Hundreds become emancipated at age 18 and are likely to become chronically homeless.
“We want these kids to be celebrated, not just tolerated in these homes,” Shepard said. “We create a sort of wraparound support system, surrounding the kid with love and support while finding a permanent and loving home for them.”
Shepard encouraged Linfield students and faculty to make Linfield a safe environment for everyone.
“You can subtly do things to signal students and make Linfield seem like a welcoming place,” he said.
Shepard also said that students shouldn’t be silent about equal rights based on sexuality.
“Speak up,” he said. “If you hear a derogatory slur like, ‘that’s gay,’ say that it’s not okay. Go to a Gay Straight Alliance meeting. It’s a big risk for students, but you can show support without labeling yourself as gay.”
Members of the staff, such as Gudrun Hommel, associate professor of German, said they found the lecture to be beneficial.
“I think it’s about time that we address this issue,” Hommel said. “I have students who have talked to me about not feeling safe here. I am sympathetic and supportive of these students. For me, it was helpful to hear suggestions about how we can signal that this is a safe environment.”
Shepard donated his earnings from the night’s lecture to fund a similar speaker for next year. Hommel said she hopes for better advertisement to ensure a greater turnout for the next lecture.
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