Speaker addresses issues facing the LGBT community on college campuses
By Lyndsey Hewitt in News
April 5, 2012
Straight students were put on the spot on Tuesday April 3 by nationally-known author and speaker about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, Shane L. Windmeyer.
He asked three boys and three girls who were identified as having a straight sexual orientation to pair up together to participate in an activity that determined their ‘gay point average.’
Through the activity the audience and participants were able to learn more about the history and stereotypes of the LGBT community.
His program titled: “What’s Your Gay Point Average?” was held on campus to inform college students on how to be an advocate and an ally to people who are different. It is considered the “ultimate test” to learn about LGBT issues, as well as debunk stereotypes.
According to Windmeyer’s website, “college students today need to understand why having a high Gay Point Average is an important aspect of diversity and preparation for success in life—at home, the workplace and places of worship.”
“You can’t rely on television to learn about LGBT issues,” Windmeyer said.
Audience members also learned where the LGBT symbol and flag colors originated.
The symbol, a triangle, came from WWII, when people at concentration camps were identified as being homosexual.
The colors of the LGBT flag—a rainbow—came originated at a march in San Francisco in 1978. The different colors symbolize diversity and LGBT pride.
The student participants also showed us their “Z-Snap” while dancing to music.
Through that, the audience learned that a Z-Snap is a gesture that gays are often stereotyped as doing.
In addition to learning about the history and stereotypes, the audience learned about startling statistics that often plague campuses.
Windmeyer said 25 percent of LGBT students experience some form of harassment, and 1/3 of those students consider leaving school all together.
“Unaccounted bias incidents happen at college campuses,” he said. “We need more people to stand up, not be a bystander. Be an upstander.”
Windmeyer also shared stories that have been recent topics in media, such as the Tyler Clementi case at Rutgers.
He discussed that in Clementi’s case, it is incredibly important to create friendships and not to let anyone fall victim. Had Clementi had a friend on his campus to talk to, circumstances may have been different.