Posters around campus arouse questions from students

Students have mixed reactions regarding the posters focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around campus this week and question the possible outcome of Monday’s LGBT forum.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center said the posters were intended to spark people’s curiosity about the subject matter and also make people aware that LGBT students do exist as part of “Operation Visibility” week.

The posters said phrases such as, “Gay is real” and “Transgender people are real.”

However, some students did not take the message positively.

“We had some fliers…people had written ‘Just because it’s real, doesn’t make it right,'” said Charles Milne, a coordinator at LGBT.

“We had somebody call the office last night saying ‘Gay’s aren’t allowed on campus. What are you thinking?’ They actually thought it was against school policy for gay students to be on campus,” Milne said.

Dean of Students Stayner Landward also received two calls complaining about the posters.

“They reported that they were offended that the University would allow that language on campus,” Landward said.

Landward said he explained to the callers that LGBT was expressing its constitutional rights and he encourages all students to express themselves. He also encouraged the callers to attend the forum and give their opinions on these issues. Some students were not quite sure what to make of the signs.Regan Duckworth, an international studies student, said, “If they want to put up signs, that’s fine. I don’t feel that you need to go around and flaunt whatever you are. Just be you, who you are.”

Despite any negative reactions to the posters, Milne said he encountered many students at the U that were supportive. According to a LGBT survey conducted two years ago, 64 percent of the campus had positive attitudes toward gay and lesbian people.

“I can see how people may think [the signs are] controversial, but it’s just like advertising anything on campus,” said Nicole Nguyen, a freshman student. Nguyen also said she believed the posters were unclear of their connection to the LBGT forum on Monday, March 28.

“Part of [putting up the posters] was to try and get people on campus to talk about the subject matter and maybe think about it from another perspective,” Milne said.

LGBT is hoping the forum increases people’s awareness of LGBT people and knowledge of the resources at the LGBT center.

“I think it’s important for people to know that there are these safe environments, these safe zones that exist here on campus. And that campus is not a hostile place toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersexed individuals…all these things are welcomed and even embraced,” said Derick Stephensen, a LGBT student.

The center also hopes to address issues at the forum including suicide rates of students who identify with LGBT, the effect of Amendment 3 on the LGBT community and bringing heterosexual allies and LGBT people together as a community.

The forum is to be held Monday in the Saltair Room in the Union from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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