Rainbow Resource Fair brings LGBT-friendly groups under one roof
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 00:09
The GLBT Resource center, in conjunction with Aggie Allies, held its first ever Rainbow Resource Fair this Wednesday, showcasing 20 different organizations and groups that provide support and services to the LGBTQ community.
The intention of the “inaugural fair” was to raise awareness both for students in the LGBTQ community and the allies of these individuals, said Sidney Gardner, program coordinator for the GLBT Resource Center and organizer of the event.
Gardner said she hoped the event would be one of many to come.
“I think that [the Rainbow Resource Fair] has been a success for us this year, so we hope to have it again next year as well,” Gardner said. “I really want to see this event grow, to get more organizations and departments involved. We had a lot of groups reach out to us this year, but next year I would hope to see more diversity with even more groups attending. It would be nice to have more academic groups involved.”
George Cunningham, former president of Aggie Allies, said the choice to take part in the event was simple.
“We used to have a kickoff event for Aggie Allies and it is great because allies get together in the new year, but Sidney Gardner from the resource center came to us about this opportunity and we figured it would
only amplify what we had already been doing,” Cunningham said.
Approximately 100 attendees participated in raffles, ate free food and
converse with campus groups such as OPAS and the Student Health Services represented at the fair along with representatives from local communities of faith.
Dan DeLeon, the pastor of Friends Congressional Church, said he was at this resource fair to announce to students and faculty that there are resources for them in local faith communities.
“If there are LGBT people in the community who are wanting to ask questions about their faith, learn more about how religion can be something they don’t have to hold at arms length, well we want to be a part of that,” DeLeon said. “They are part of the family; without them the family is incomplete. To churches who condemn LGBT communities, we disagree. We are neighbors [with the LBGT community]. Thanks to churches who do this, we have to be more intentional in our efforts to show we accept them.”
The Rainbow Resource Fair was also attended by five guest administers who introduced themselves and applauded the LGBTQ students and supporters.
“I have been at the University approximately 19 years and never before have I seen a resource fair like this celebrating and acknowledging and welcoming LGBTQ students,” said Becky Pettit, associate vice president for the office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity. “I think the University is more welcoming. I think we have progressed as an institution and I think we are living the Aggie values.”
After introducing her own partner of 15 years, Pettit said she hoped students who were afraid of coming out know there are safe places on campus where they can go, feel accepted and comfortable.
“Hate is not an Aggie value and every member who attends this institution is a part of the Aggie family,” Cunningham said. “This fair is acknowledging and validating every member of the Aggie family. LGBTQ students are a part of the Aggie family.”