The W hosted LGBT Days last week as a way of bringing the community together to celebrate LGBT+ pride on campus.
There were four official events spread out over three days. On Monday, students handed out rainbow ribbons in front of the cafeteria. On Tuesday, participants were invited to earn a special certification through "Safe Zone." Those who complete Safe Zone training are called allies, and they offer an environment for people of any race, sex or orientation to talk about personal issues in their life without fear of judgment or ridicule. People who took this course learned what it meant to be an ally and how to be open to anyone having problems on campus. Certification allows them to display a placard in their office or living space that promotes a safe campus system.
Another event, Tie Dye as an Ally, was held at the Bryan Green Gazebo on Wednesday. People were encouraged to bring an article of clothing to tie-dye in preparation for Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day. To further show support for the LGBT+ community, the gazebo was decorated in multi-colored lights.
"Celebrating Pride is something that we're really excited about here at the Dub," said Kimone Holtzman, coordinator of Student Activities. "This is the first time that we've done a week-long or a few days of programming for this community."
Students all across campus were excited about showing their support for the LGBT+ community with The W. Deanna Lyle, a major in culinary arts, said that the LGBT Days are a wonderful thing for students who are members of that community.
"I think it's a good way to bring awareness and make students in that community feel welcome and safe," said Lyle.
Other students at The W agreed.
"I think they're great. I think it's really nice for the campus to show support for all the LGBT people in general," said Leah Ryder.
LGBT Days concluded with a panel featuring Harry Hawkins, a Human Rights Campaign speaker, on Oct. 7. Hawkins discussed being inclusive in language, using appropriate pronouns for members of the community and the work currently being done by the HRC.
While Hawkins' discussion did mark the end of the week's events, it is important to remember that acceptance and pride are experienced year-round. Anyone who is feeling discriminated against or struggling within the community is welcomed to visit any office marked "Safe Zone" and share their concerns or issues with the trained individual inside. Those wishing to become allies or show their support for the community can do so by becoming trained in Safe Zone, joining the HRC or participating in future events in the area.