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VSU Extends Outreach to LGBTQ Community

Published date: February 6, 2013

On January 9, VSU Counseling Center in conjunction with Residence Life and Gays and Lesbians Affirming Diversity (GLAD) sponsored a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Training facilitated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. The training was conducted by staff from HRC’s Welcoming Schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) programs and educated staff about understanding the needs of the LGBT community, protecting the rights of students and employees, and Title IX requirements. 

This was one of several trainings provided at VSU this school year with the focus of Multiculturalism, which is a new initiative that the University Counseling Center has implemented campus wide. Throughout the remaining semester and coming years, the University Counseling Center will be sponsoring and co-sponsoring other events, trainings and workshops, also programming with the focus on making the campus a more conducive and accepting environment. HRC has continued their commitment to equality by conducting trainings.  Kisha Webster, Associate Director of HRC’s Welcoming Schools Program states “it is a pleasure to support VSU’s commitment to train staff and maintain a climate which values LGBT diversity.”  The University Counseling Center aspires to create a campus community that promotes, understands and welcomes all cultural backgrounds.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s HBCU Program educates and organizes students, faculty and administrators on LGBT issues specific to each institution’s needs. This program opens campus-wide debate on LGBT issues, often for the first time; and it also trains students to build viable student-led LGBT or LGBT-friendly campus organizations. For many in the African American LGBT community, it is challenging to be true to oneself, because you have additional cultural factors to consider- including having to deal with strong family foundations that emphasize heterosexuality and strong conservative religious ties within the Black Church.

Initiatives like the Human Rights Campaign’s HBCU Program can help a student begin to address issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity, family, school, and friends.

This special outreach program was launched in 2000 by HRC in the wake of a swell of violence against LGBT students at HBCUs. Since then the program has grown dramatically into a yearlong education, training and networking effort focusing on empowering, inspiring and educating LGBT HBCU students and their allies. Now in its eighth year, the program is the only one of its kind to reach out to students directly and support their LGBT or Gay-Straight Alliance groups to do advocacy work.

The Program connects student groups through following the inclusive road map for a campus:  1) Organize; 2) Unite; 3) Educate; 4) Advocate; 5) Anchor.  Students are taught leadership and career skills that support their development on social justice and LGBT equality issues.  Many learn the value of their identities and expand their career networks for future goals.

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