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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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LGBTQ+ Pride Center to host Awareness Week highlighting resources, support for Aggies

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PROVIDED

The week of March 28, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center will host its annual awareness week as an opportunity to support, celebrate and highlight resources available for LGBTQ+ students at Texas A&M University. 

Starting the week of March 28, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center is holding its annual LGBTQ+ Awareness Week to educate students and faculty about prevalent issues faced by this community. The week also aims to shed light on the sexual diversity and gender variance at Texas A&M.
In 1985, the historic decision of Gay Student Services v. Texas A&M University allowed the former Gay Student Services, or GSS, to educate and provide resources for students. Today, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center holds LGBTQ+ Awareness Week each year to recognize the progress the university has made since the litigation. Student organizations on campus will offer a variety of programs to educate the community.
LGBTQ+ Pride Center coordinator Frances Jackson said the center solicits offices, student organizations, faculty and outside community members to put on LGBTQ+ awareness events during the honorary week.
“We encourage others to hold events during Awareness Week in the spirit of remembrance and to do good diversity work,” Jackson said. “As a part of the awareness week celebration, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center hosts ‘Coming Out Monologues.’ This is a storytelling event where people can share their coming out experience[s] and can discuss their raw and inspiring stories with others.”
In addition to organizing the annual awareness week, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center hosts a mentorship program for LGBTQ+ students, Lavender Graduation in the spring and events for LGBTQ+ history month in October. It also sponsors the “Let’s Talk” initiative in collaboration with campus Counseling and Psychological Services allowing a safe talking space for students to discuss sexuality, gender and identity.
“Texas A&M sits in an interesting place in Texas history and United States culture because of the [1985] Gay Student Services decision,” Jackson said. “Phyllis Frye, who is considered to be the grandmother of transgender rights, is also an Aggie. LGBTQ+ awareness is a big part of A&M’s history. Through Awareness Week, we can promote a [more whole] picture of A&M’s LGBTQ+ community.”
By attending the Awareness Week programs, participants can educate themselves on LGBTQ+ topics by listening to gender and sexual minorities’ experiences and incorporating what they learn into their everyday lives to become a supportive ally, Jackson said.
Aggie Allies is an educational organization consisting of faculty, staff, students and community members who aim to promote resources and provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ members on campus. President Jennifer Bradford said she hopes Aggie Allies’ programs for Awareness Week will provide a place for attendees to receive cohesive information about LGBTQ+ resources and support.
“We have two events for Awareness Week,” Bradford said. “Our first is the ‘Allies Are’ campaign. Allies send in a photo with a caption demonstrating why they are an ally, and throughout the week, Aggie Allies will post their photos on social media to celebrate allies and LGBTQ+ community. Our second event is ‘Allies Across Aggieland.’”
The Allies Across Aggieland panel will take place at noon on April 1 at noon, featuring delegates from CAPS, the LGBTQ+ Pride Center, the Pride Community Center, International Student Services, or ISS, and more. Bradford said the delegates will discuss the guidance each center specifically provides for LGBTQ+ students and the various ways their centers provide support.
“Allies’ biggest goal with ‘Allies Across Aggieland’ is to educate people about the LGBTQ+ resources available on campus,” Bradford said. “A&M is a massive community, so information sometimes gets lost. Therefore, this panel will be a one-stop shop for all questions to be answered about where to find resources, and attendees can interface with supportive organizations to potentially get the help they need.”
The LGBTQ+ Pride Center will also be hosting the custom program LGBTQ+ Student Involvement and Leadership during Awareness Week. Residence Hall Association President and National Residence Hall Honorary Vice President of Service and Leadership Adam Jackson said this program will help students learn how to be an involved leader on campus as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally.
“After attending this program, LGBTQ+ members and ally leaders can promote inclusivity and equity to set an example for other allies and LGBTQ+ members to get involved,” Jackson said.
Communication is a key part of becoming a leader as an LGBTQ+ person or ally, Jackson said.
“It’s important to have a prevalent presence of LGBTQ+ members and allies as leaders on campus,” Jackson said. “It shows that there’s been a change since the times where LGBTQ+ members didn’t have any recognition. We should always push for more members and allies as leaders on campus to emphasize that change.”

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