There is always something new cooking on our campus. One of the newest is the revival of a program with a varied history at TCU. In the Campus Life office, Shelley Story, along with two interns, Krystin Peters and myself, are working to re-establish the Allies program at TCU.For those of you who are unfamiliar with Allies, the main goal is to educate participants about the ways in which homophobia and heterosexism impact everyone, and to teach participants how to be an ally to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.
Hundreds of universities across the country already have programs like this, including some that we are familiar with in Texas: Rice University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas — a very close neighbor in Denton. TCU is well past due in climbing on the bandwagon.
Among some of the more liberal students on campus, the familiar acronym TCU doesn’t just stand for Texas Christian University; it also stands for Texas Closeted University. This refers to the sad fact that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students feel great pressure from their peers, faculty and the administration to remain closeted.
I am a loud and proud bisexual student, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel a great deal of sympathy for my fellow students, the ones who still have to hide in the closet for fear of being ridiculed.
It is a shame that, in an environment of learning, there are still so many ignorant people who are unwilling to accept and love their fellow human beings without judging them based on their sexuality.
The Allies program on our campus would mean that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students would be able to find and talk with faculty and staff who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-friendly. For the first time in four years, these students would have a resource that addresses the problems they face in their daily lives.
No single person chooses to be gay, lesbian or bisexual; it is simply the way he or she is. These people face the same problems that every heterosexual person does, the only difference is that they are homosexual.
I believe that the Allies program will be a great step forward for our university. However, we need faculty and staff to step up to the plate and be involved in the program. One of our major goals is to have faculty and staff from every department on campus involved.
The key to the success of the Allies program this time around is getting as many people involved as possible, as well as spreading the word to students who may need allies on campus.
I believe that it is entirely possible and even expected that we will meet obstacles along the way. However, the strong and dedicated few who have stepped up to push for success of the program will help it succeed beyond our wildest imaginations.
If you are interested in becoming involved, or want more information about the program, please contact Shelley Story of the Campus Life office at email@example.com.
Lyndsay Peden is a freshman year biology and political science major from Versailles, Ky.