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The Northerner

LGBTQ event brings awareness and promotes acceptance

Lizzie Kibler, Contributing writer

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“Conversation is the first step to welcoming,” said Brandelyn Tosolt, the presenter of the Allied Zone event Oct. 4. The Allied Zone event focused on a true understanding of certain terms such as gay and lesbian. With this being Anti-Bullying Month, the event discouraged bullying and encouraged acceptance.

The event began with a short quiz on how much the attendees knew. For example, one term that most people were not familiar with was “cisgender.” Cisgender means the identity of a person’s gender characteristics and behaviors conform to traditional or societal gender expectations.

“I had no idea cisgender exists,” said attendee Melanie Bullock. “I thought it was just called normal.”
However, this event proved to break down barriers and correct any misconceptions.

One misconception was that if a woman is lesbian, meaning she is attracted to people of the same sex, she is instantly attracted to every woman she sees. This, however; is false.
Just as a straight guy does not like some girls, a lesbian does not like some girls too. On the quiz match-up, the exact definition for lesbian was, “A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who is female-identified and who is sexually and emotionally attracted to SOME other females.” The same goes for men as well. The next time someone is freaking out because she thinks a lesbian is staring at her because she is a girl, let her know the facts.

This led to the next part of the event: bullying. Attendees were handed a paper with statistics on the number of kids who are bullied. After reading the statistics, attendees commented on how shocking they were.

According to a GLSEN & Harris Interactive study, 25 percent of both students and teachers hear other students making comments such as “lesbo” or “fag.” Following that, 36 percent of students reported having been called names, made fun of or bullied at school this year.

A table on the handout showed two sides, kids who are bullied and kids who are not. Fifty-seven percent of bullied students report they get good grades, while 71 percent of students who are not bullied get good grades.

Fifteen percent of young bullied students reported that they often feel stressed while only four percent of non-bullied students felt the same way. The national sample for this study was of 1,065 students grades 3-6 and another national sample of 1,099 students grades K-6.

Concluding the event, Tosolt stressed a push for acceptance. Tosolt also introduced SAFE (Staff, Administrators and Faculty for Equality) which is designed “to promote an equitable and safe academic environment at NKU.” For more information about SAFE, visit www.safe.nku.edu. Anyone can be a member.

All attendees received an Allied Zone sticker which they can place anywhere to show people they are on their side and willing to help them out. The event proved to be successful in reaching out.
After being asked what he gained from the experience, freshman attendee John Flaherty replied, “I gained a greater understanding of the complexity of human sexuality and gender identity.”

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LGBTQ event brings awareness and promotes acceptance