Every year, some of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) community leave their homes and attend college. In a study done by The Washington Post, 33 percent of all LGBT students thought about leaving their higher learning institution due to the challenging environment. Regrettably, many of the challenges they face are the negative comments and connotation that comes with being gay.
“Spectrum’s goal, is for people to realize, that we are people as well,” Korey Schroeder, a senior biology major and WTAMU’s Spectrum President, said.
Spectrum is an organization on campus that deals with the LGBT community.
“We try to get the student body, faculty, and the staff to be aware of the harassment and problems that the LGBT students face,” said Schroeder.
Recently Spectrum has partnered with Buff Allies, who hopes to be a safe haven where LGBT students can seek advice and solace.
“Buff Allies are the faculty and staff group [of WT] that have agreed to be a safe zone for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning) students who want someone to talk to,” Dr. Kris Drumheller, associate Professor of Communications as well as the advisor for Spectrum, said.
Buff Allies has been around for about five years, but has just recently began a revitalization this year. Now there are about 50 faculty and staff on board who have been trained for Buff Allies. The faculty and staff have Buff Allies stickers on their doors showing that their offices are safe zones for students dealing with issues.
“The Buff Allies went through ‘Safe Zone Training’ on campus to get a better understanding of the LGBTQ community, such as issues, terms, and even scenarios,” said Schroeder.
On Wednesday, Oct 23 from 12:20 to 1:30 at the JBK Legacy Hall, there will be an event called LGBTQ Politics, History, and Resources Panel Discussion. Faculty, staff, students, and even WTAMU PD will discuss a series of topics originating around the LGBTQ community. It will begin with Spectrum, Experiences on Campus, Goals for Campus, which will be presented by Schroeder, the president of Spectrum, and will end with LGBTQ History, Politics, and Resources, which will be spoken by Dr. Anand Commissiong. Dr. Rosemary Gray, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of WT, will serve as the events moderator.
“I just hope people see it as a way to meet other people like them, and know that they are not alone,” said Lana King, a junior English major, and Spectrum vice president.