The CSUN Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender Alliance will hold an event called “Day of Silence” aimed to bring awareness about violence committed against homosexuals, transsexuals and bisexuals.
The event was created to acknowledge that violence against homosexuals still happens, said Thomas Gudino, President of LGBTA.
According to the Gay, Lesbian ‘ Straight Education Network website, “Day of Silence” is set for April 26 at college campuses throughout the country.
The “Day of Silence” will also take place on elementary, middle and high schools across the nation, according to the Gay, Lesbian ‘ Straight Education Network web site.
The CSUN LGBTA is looking to increase its membership and enhance awareness about LGBT students on campus.
“We’re rebuilding our base of students,” Thomas Gudino, president of the LGBTA club, said. “We’re actually working on campus to make our presence known.”
Gudino said there hasn’t been much activity by the LGBTA in the last few years.
“I think more needs to be done in terms of activities and that’s something we’re working on,” Gudino said.
Gudino also said LGBTA students should have a place to gather on the CSUN campus.
“What (LGBTA) members would like to see on campus is gay and lesbian resource center,” Gudino said. “A place where they can meet and feel safe (on campus).”
There used to be a resource on campus for LGBT students, but it was eliminated when a another club merged with the LGBTA in 2002, said Sabina Magliocco, assistant professor in the Anthropology department.
“I think one of the problems was getting people to staff the resource center, only two or three people would show up,” Magliocco said.
Magliocco was the faculty adviser for the LGBT student resource center when it closed down in 2002.
“They (LGBTA members) were not terribly visible on campus when I was involved,” Magliocco said.
Gina Masequesmay, assistant professor of Asian-American Studies, runs the Positive Space Program and the Ally Project on campus. She believes the LGBTA should get involved with the Ally Project. The project is designed to teach professors how to support and befriend LGBT students on campus.
“(The Ally Project is) getting people aware of what the issues are (on campus) and even have LGBTA members teach straight students (about being an ally),” Masequesmay said of the Ally Project.
Masequesmay said the Positive Space Program involves faculty retreats and safe zone training. After going through the training program, professors receive an Ally sticker to place in their office to let LGBT students know that they can come to them for support.
“I would like to see LGBTA get involved with other students,” Masequesmay said.
Garry Lennon, Theater Department assistant professor, helped start the Positive Space Program at CSUN started in Spring 2002, said that when he was in college, there was only one small group for LGBT students.
Homosexuality was not something professors or students really talked about at his school back east in the 1980s, Lennon said.
“(Homosexuality) just wasn’t talked about,” Lennon said. “It just wasn’t acceptable.”
The biggest difference Lennon has noticed is that LGBT students are in an environment that is more open-minded.
“Especially in California, (homosexuality) is much more talked about and more open,” Lennon said. “But not necessarily more accepted.”
Gudino said there is a need for students and professors to support LGBT students on campus.
“Even though it is 2006, sexuality is something people are still uncomfortable about,” Gudino said.
The political climate in the United States on issues such as same-sex marriage and equality for LGBT people are the primary reasons why LGBT need allies, Gudino said.
“There is a need for allies (on campus) in this time,” Gudino said. “We still need support when it comes to voting and (legislative) measures.”
Gudino said people don’t have to be gay to join LGBTA and that anyone is welcome.
Joseph Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.