LGBTQ community and allies connect through networking event

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    The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and questioning (LGBTQ) community and its supporters gathered Thursday for a student and faculty networking mixer in Jarvis Hall.

    Students and supporters alike had the opportunity to mingle with others of the LGBTQ community through the meet-and-greet type atmosphere.

    Sponsored by the TCU Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and the Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services (IIS), the networking mixer gave the TCU gay community a chance to meet others supportive of the LGBTQ cause.

    TCU Allies, consisting of TCU faculty and staff who serve as advocates for the gay community, were present as well. Members of TCU Allies place a rainbow Horned Frog sticker on their office doors, identifying that place as a ‘safe zone’ for students to go.

    Coordinator of Student Success and Outreach Leslie Chanthaphasouk said that when she planned this event in October, she wanted to allow students and faculty give their opinion on what the LGBTQ community needed to get their voice heard.

    “We realized there is a very big disconnect in terms of what we have and whether we are connecting it to the LGBTQ community,” Chanthaphasouk said. “This mixer was basically meant to get students connect to staff and faculty who either identify or support the cause.”

    Sophomore modern dance major Alonzo Thompson, Jr. said this mixer gave those of the LGBTQ community a chance to intermingle and connect with other supporters.

    “Our allies are the main thing that keeps the [GSA] here,” Thompson said. “We have a small, open LGBTQ community. The allies support and nurture the LGBTQ community, as well as help those who are ‘in the closet’ understand their sexuality, which is really important in this day and age.”

    Thompson said this semester the GSA will continue to hold events, such as the third annual Drag Show Fundraiser benefiting Youth First Texas held last fall.

    “One of the events the GSA will be having this year is the LGBTQ Prom,” Thompson said. “It is a big deal because we will inviting the LGBTQ students of local high schools from the DFW area to come and have their own prom.”

    TCU Alumni Class of ’93 and former TCU tennis player Leigh Ann Smith said there has been a lot growth and development of the TCU gay community since her time here as a student.

    “I think its just society now, in general,” Smith said. “ People have become more open and it challenges their beliefs. Your generation doesn’t [discriminate] as much, and as that continues to happen, becomes less of an issue.”