As a part of the national dialogue on diminishing stereotypes and the exclusion of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ), A&M-Commerce will observe National Ally Week Oct. 21 – 25 through events meant to encourage faculty, staff and students to become allies and to highlight peer support options on campus. The signature event will be a screening of the award-winning documentary “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” in Ferguson Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23.
The director and producer of the documentary, Robert L. Camina, as well as A&M-Commerce President Dan R. Jones, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Adolfo Benavides, Vice President of Student Access & Success Mary Hendrix and Assistant Vice President and Dean of Campus Life John Kaulfus, will participate in a panel discussion after the screening of “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” which recounts the violent 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth gay bar and the city’s resulting emergence as a leader in LGBTQ equality.
Additionally, the Pride Alliance—a student organization that works to “provide a place of understanding for aspects related to sexual orientation, expression and gender identity in an open and nonjudgmental environment”—will host information tables in the Rayburn Student Center atrium on Oct. 22 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During National Ally Week, A&M-Commerce community members may also learn more about the Safe Spaces initiative, which provides ongoing training opportunities for faculty, staff and students to become supportive allies to LGBTQ individuals.
“Just under 100 people have been trained on campus as allies. Many of those individuals are RAs from Residential Living and Learning. Now that students can register on the Safe Spaces website, many more students will be able to be trained,” said Nick Patras, a staff counselor for the A&M-Commerce Counseling Center. “Safe Spaces allies place a distinctive placard on their office doors or workspaces. Embedded within the Safe Spaces Ally Project is the concept that by having visible spaces where LGBTQ folks know they can go for support and assistance, the level of support on our campus will continue to grow and flourish.”
For additional information about National Ally Week events, contact Nick Patras at 903-886-5145. Find out more about the Safe Spaces Ally Project, including how to become an ally or how to locate one on campus, by clicking here: http://www.tamuc.edu/CampusLife/CampusServices/safeSpaces/.