Thursday, October 27, 2011

Be an Ally!

StandOut is having an "Ally Campaign" all semester to gauge the climate of UT students who are allies and support the LGBT community. The campaign is designed to encourage students to critically think about what it means to be an ally, as well as educate students about the issues affecting LGBT persons.

What is an "Ally"?
An ally is a member of the majority or dominant group who works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for the oppressed population.

What can you do to be an ally:
Speak out against homophobia or if you hear someone using homophobic slurs on campus.
Reach out to LGBT students on campus and get a sense of their experiences as an LGBT person.
Get involved in activism for LGBT rights at UT. Attend rallies on campus or contact your representative when anti-LGBT legislation is being pushed.
Get to know the GSC and the resources it provides to students.
Get to know the various LGBT student organizations on campus, and attend one of their meetings.

Be aware of the issues affecting LGBT persons, at UT specifically or nationwide:
Faculty and staff who aren't married don't have their partners recognized by UT. Therefore, the partners of all LGBT faculty/staff are denied important health insurance and other benefits.
UT does not offer "Gender Neutral Housing" as many other large universities do, resulting in many transgender or gender-nonconforming students to be put in uncomfortable, intimidating, or unsafe living conditions.
Similarly, UT lacks the option of gender-neutral restroom facilities in many buildings.
Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2009).
It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (2006 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: An Epidemic of Homelessness).
You can be legally fired in 29 states, including Texas, for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked, and 33.2% of transgender youth have attempted suicide.

For more information, check out:
UT's own Gender and Sexuality Center:

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network:

StandOut: Advocates for Queer Equality
Meetings Tuesdays, 7-8pm SAC 3.112

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