October is LGBT History Month. The Safe Zone Ally Training Program is a great way to develop a working knowledge of how to create an appropriate and respectful campus climate. The Teaching Hub asked Spectrum, UA’s registered student group for LGBTQ+ people and their allies at UA, to say something further about what faculty may consider in their teaching practices.
“Being queer (specifically pansexual) on campus has its ups and downs just like everything else in this world. The ups include having a built-in group of friends that can relate, just because of our identities– when I hang out with them, I don’t have to worry about my wording when talking about my girlfriend, I can exist without question. The downs include something that happened when Milo Yiannopoulos came to our campus — the queer community on campus decided not to protest and instead to have a small get together to support each other, but one student decided he still wanted to protest, and showed up at the event with a sign that read, “Milo, I’m gay too. You don’t speak for the entire LGBTQ community.” A picture was taken of him and posted on Twitter, and someone responded to the picture asking for his address so they could “Matthew Sheppard” him. I was filled with cold dread instantaneously. I’ve never been so scared for myself and those around me before, even though we weren’t the ones being directly targeted. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are a community, regardless of how we identify, which means we feel each other’s happiness and share in each other’s pain and will always be there to support each other, which is how it should be.” — Pansexual Prima donna
“Being in the LGBTQ+ community at UA, it has been unfortunately easy to get myself into two different friend groups where people have vastly different perceptions of me as a person. It’s easy to accidentally become good friends with someone who ends up being pretty homophobic, and then consequently having to separate myself from that person or people. There is a lot I like about UA, but I do wish there was more of a culture of acceptance here so that it would be easier to meet new people without worrying about how they feel about my sexual orientation or gender identity.” — Ruby
“I can’t wait for the day when gender isn’t assumed based on how you look, when people think to ask about your pronouns and then would have some sort of understanding if you answer with something other than the two most common sets, when teachers — regardless of their field — think about how they should address their students. What good does allowing students to select their pronouns on myBama do if their instructors don’t pay attention to that or have not been given enough training to even know what pronouns are and why they’re important? The only time I’ve ever tried to breach the topic of my pronouns (I use singular they/them/theirs) with a professor at UA, they replied, ‘Well, just curious why you care. In my long life, I’ve never seen this as an issue.’ No, it has always been an issue and will continue to be an issue until universities start committing to the well-being of all of their students.” — Genderqueer Engineer