Students share personal stories, struggles dealing with their LBGT acronym

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

As part of the Residence Hall Association’s Social Justice and Diversity Week, members from the Registered Student Organization Pride will host a panel with students representing one of the letters in the LGBT spectrum and speak on personal issues at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Buzzard Hall Auditorium.

Joanna Stauder, the vice president of Pride, said the “Big Gay” panel would have students telling their personal stories and what they have experienced while being on Eastern’s campus.

Stauder said the students would also share their “coming out” story with those in the audience, but only if they feel comfortable doing so. She said this event is important because it is a good way to educate people on those who are LGBT and what kinds of discrimination they face.

Those participating in the panel will be given note cards and allowed to ask any question they want of the panel members, which will begin an educative dialogue.

“We can teach people that we’re not aliens, we’re people,” Stauder said.

The panel comes on the heels of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially states someone can practice religious freedom without burden, but also people can seek relief if they feel their religious practice is threatened.

The bill, although not explicitly stating, can allow discrimination based on sexual orientation because of its gray area of explanation, which has left many in the LGBT communities in Indiana and the rest of the United States angry.

Stauder said the topic of Indiana’s bill is a likely topic that could come up during the panel. She said when the bill was originally created it had good intentions and was originally created to protect bigots, but because it does not specifically state it cannot discriminate based on religion, the bill has room to be used for such discriminatory practices.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]