The hallways of both the Student Center and REC/IM proudly displayed Eastern Michigan University student posters Oct. 14 and 15 as part of the month’s ongoing events and displays of support for the campus’s LGBT community.
October celebrates a month long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and civil rights. Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day, which is internationally observed as a civil awareness day for those identifying themselves as openly gay, transgender or bisexual.
LGBT is more than just a label to Mary Larkin, director of the LGBT Resource Center at EMU: “It’s an identification.”
Students passing through the hallways’ centers found posters of students on campus that have identified themselves in the LGBT as well as allies. Each poster began with the bold declaration of “I AM.”
The photos contained the name of students on campus with a personal category of identification and an inspiring statement encouraging civil rights for everyone.
Students wishing to receive support have many options on EMU’s campus beginning with the professional office of the LGBT Resource Center.
In addition, two support groups on campus include Coming Out Being Out, strictly for those of LGBT orientation, and QUEST, “Queer Unity for Eastern Students.” QUEST is open to both those of LGBT orientation and allies or supporters.
LGBT History Month first began in 1994 in the U.S. and was founded by Rodney Wilson, a high-school teacher from Missouri. October was chosen because National Coming Out Day was already established for Oct. 11 but also commemorated the first march on Washington for lesbian, gay and bisexual equal rights in 1979.
EMU was named one of the top gay friendly universities according to Campus Pride Climate Index in 2011. Though efforts on campus through the LGBT groups continue in leaps and bounds, many students share the belief that more can be done for the civil rights of members in the United States.
“I don’t know if I believe civil rights have progressed,” said Tony Stiver, psychology major. “The fundamental problem is hate, and hate cannot be removed from humanity. We only redirect it from a focus group in the spotlight to a minority group with less public sway.”
For more information on upcoming events on campus, go to emich.edu/lgbtrc. Included in this month’s events will be the Rainbow Variety Show on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in the Student Center Auditorium.
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