Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
If your aim is to promote and build respect and understanding toward LGBTQ people at your school or college, don’t worry if you don’t have the backing of an organized LGBTQ group or gay-straight alliance to work with. Often, the best kind of awareness is raised by starting small, for example, suggesting LGBTQ-themed books to English professors or your school library, putting up displays promoting LGBTQ events or awareness dates, or even organizing talks and your own events for students to take part in. The great thing about raising awareness of LGBTQ people and promoting a better understanding of these groups in your school is that you have full legal rights to be as creative as you like!
GET INVOLVED WITH ACTIVISTS
In the majority of states and cities across the U.S., you’ll likely find people who are committed to your cause and have dedicated a large chunk of their lives to raising awareness and promoting understanding of and respect toward lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people. Look into local LGBTQ organizations in your area and invite representatives to come and speak at your school to share their experiences and clear up misconceptions about the LGBTQ community. Students working toward a health communication degree at Boston University, for example, might find that educating their peers about many of the health-related misconceptions of the LGBTQ community is a great place to start.
GET YOUR VOICE HEARD
Most schools and colleges will run a blog or regular newsletter, which is widely read by both students and staff alike. This is a great platform for getting your voice heard across the school and since most college publications will accept guest writers from time to time, the best thing to do is arrange to write a piece on LGBTQ issues at your school or in your local area. You could even bring up the things that you yourself personally have experienced, as this will make it easier for your readers to empathize and really give the issues some thought.
Holding fun events can be one of the best ways to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community and issues that are faced, as people are likely to attend just to see what’s going on or to take part in the activities provided, allowing you to generate as large an audience as possible. For example, holding a movie night where you will watch movies that cover LGBTQ issues or feature well-loved LGBTQ characters can be a fun way to get people together as well as being very educational and eye-opening.
COMMEMORATE PEOPLE AND EVENTS
If you’re studying for a health communication degree, you are probably aware of the various people who’ve been influential in improving well-being, and therefore general health, for LGBTQ people. By commemorating important LGBTQ people or events such as the Stonewall riots or Supreme Court decisions which changed things for the better in the LGBTQ community, you can generate more interest from your fellow students and provide people with some interesting talking points.
How do you raise awareness of LGBTQ issues at school? We’d love to see some of your top tips in the comments.