Alex Huerta/ The JTAC
October is a month that is known for being full of events and celebrations, but it is least known for being LGBTQ+ history month. This year the Tarleton office of Diversity and Inclusion and International Programs (ODIIP) and the Tarleton Gay-Straight Alliance are hosting an October is Pride month of events. Everyone gay, straight and in between are welcome to attend, have fun and learn about what the Gay-Straight Alliance and ODIIP do on campus.
On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, ODIIP is hosting The Diversity Dialogue. The Diversity Dialogue is a monthly event that consists of a
20-minute presentation that occurs while lunch is being served and then 20 minutes of discussion. The Diversity Dialogues will be held at 12 p.m. in room 27 of the Barry B. Thompson Student Center and will start with people being split into groups and assigned to tables.
Event coordinator, Emily VanKirk said, “We try to encourage people to explore new ideas by splitting them into groups with strangers.”
This helps people to feel confident when discussing topics that they may feel more reserved discussing with people who they have already established relationships with.
This month’s dialogue is about being black and queer. However, everyone is encouraged to attend. The event is meant to encourage people to learn from shared and different identities as well as different experiences.
“Diversity means you; diversity means every single one of us,” said VanKirk when asked about how people with similar identities can learn from each other.
She stressed how despite the fact that two people may have a similar outwards appearance, they can both have drastically different life experiences which they can learn about from each other during the Diversity Dialogue.
Later that same day The Annual Pride is taking place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Dining Hall Patio. Other events include National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, Queer Sex Ed. On Oct. 25, Drag Bingo with the Tarleton Activities Board on Oct. 25 and the Out on Campus Panel on Oct. 28.
These events may only be during the month of October but there are other ways to get involved yearround. Two yearly programs hosted by the Tarleton ODIIP for students include the MENtal Freedom program which is designed to provide leadership in real world situations for underrepresented men and The Bold group which explores women’s empowerment and participates in outreach programs within the community.
The other program that is hosted by ODIIP for LGBTQ+ students yearround is the Tarleton Ally program.
The Tarleton Diversity and Inclusion and International Programs’ website says “A Tarleton Ally is an individual who is willing to provide a safe space, respectful listening, and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. These individuals are identified by an Ally placard at their office or residence, or a rainbow ribbon lapel pin. This is a sign for all indicating this is a safe place to be with an ally who is ready to support.”
All are welcome to join and get involved but the first step is to attend level one and two training which teaches people to understand the roles of allies, the responsibilities of allies and the benefits of being an ally. The next level one ally training does not have a set date yet but there will be some trainings in November. After level one and two training, there is one more training session that is optional to attend that furthers the ally’s knowledge and helps them to become more involved in the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
These programs are here at Tarleton State all year long and are dedicated to providing resources and support for students and the LGBTQ+ community on campus. If you are interested in any of these programs, you can contact The Office of Diversity and Inclusion.