GLBT rally, fair at Auraria | Community Spirit
DENVER - Citing bullying and harassment as key factors, a growing number of young people nationally are taking their own lives. Some of them are openly gay and others are only perceived to be gay. GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) Student Services at Auraria is holding an awareness rally called, It Gets Better…Because I Give A Damn!, on Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. in the Tivoli Commons.
The event is being held in conjunction with GLBT History Month and in support of a nationwide campaign to wear purple on Oct. 20 in remembrance of recent suicide victims. The campaign, which was started by the Facebook fan page, “In Honor of Tyler Clementi,” is being called “Spirit Day.” The color purple on the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) flag represents spirit.
“In response to the recent suicide incidents where people were teased or bullied for being gay or perceived as such, we are organizing a campus-wide rally and resource fair to express our outrage for this type of behavior,” says Steve Willich, the new interim director of GLBT Student Services at Auraria.
The event is named after two national GLBT campaigns that promote GLBT rights and work to prevent suicide and bullying of GLBT youth. The I Give a Damn campaign, founded by the True Colors fund headed by Cyndi Lauper, is a campaign aimed at educating straight people on various issues in the GLBT community, which include workplace discrimination, marriage, and hate crimes.
It Gets Better is a campaign founded in September by Dan Savage, an author, gay rights activist and journalist. Savage’s site aims to be a support system for GLBT youth. People may take the It Gets Better pledge, and also upload inspiring videos about their experiences growing up GLBT. It Gets Better’s YouTube Channel has received more than 1.5 million views.
Willich said that they are working to set up video cameras at the event so that people may record their own It Gets Better videos. Additionally, It Gets Better videos made by celebrities and other people on YouTube will be shown.
Speakers at the rally will include representatives from the GLBT Center of Colorado and One Colorado Education Fund.
Willich wants the resource fair to “show these teens that they are not alone, that there are people out there who do care, and that they have resources available to support them in their struggles.”
The Trevor Project, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Gay and Lesbian Fund and the Colorado Anti-Violence Program have all been invited to participate at the resource fair. Metropolitan State College of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver counseling centers will also be present. They will showcase services, including suicide prevention.
“I think the overarching theme for the event will be increased awareness and prevention of GLBT suicide and bullying, with an underlying theme of providing support and acceptance for GLBT youth,” Willich says.
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