The University of Kentucky's guide to the GSA and OUTsource

The LGBT community is all over the world whether people like it or not. It is a huge part of Lexington because the gay/lesbian/bisexual community has been increasing rapidly there. Lexington, Kentucky is a great place to come if you are gay or lesbian because they are known accept people easily down here no matter what sexual preference you are. There are a huge number of gay organizations to help people who need support and there are a ton of gay bars where gays/lesbians/bisexuals can meet people and make life-long friends. Surprisingly to me, I have met a plethora of gay/lesbians down at the University of Kentucky compared to where I am originally from, Independence, Kentucky. I have heard some of my friends say they love it in Lexington because where they came from was not so friendly on the gay/lesbian/bisexual idea, but it is accepted here. They love to go out on weekends to one of the gay bars and either look for someone they can see themselves with or just hang out with their friends. The bars and streets are full of gay/lesbian/bisexual people, but no one can really tell because most of them look exactly like us unless they are trying to prove a point and dress way out of characteristic.Many students who attend the University of Kentucky do not even know we have the GSA organization held at the student center for students who are confused with their feelings or having problems coming out about how they feel because they are scared other students will judge them. This is a great program to have on campus because there are a lot of gays/lesbians/bisexuals that attend the University of Kentucky and the school is pretty good at informing our students about these people and letting them get to know more of the history behind the organization. I am sure the GSA and OUTsource program have helped prevent many students from picking on others who have a different preference of sexuality because they just don’t care if a guy likes a guy or a girl likes a girl, they are still normal people.

            It is always important to have a safe learning environment for students to be able to broaden their education and grow as individuals. A hostile learning environment could lead to students missing individual classes or even many whole days of school due to feeling unsafe and at risk.  Also having a negative campus climate can often give permission to students, peers, and faculty, to abuse others orally and physically based on gender identity or sexual preference (Wells, Wisneski, Kane 307-328). A recent development in the safety of the LGBT community around The University of Kentucky’s campus is the LGBT Task Force. Their mission is to work with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to inspire and engage campus in conversation of LGBT equality (Hairston, Johnson). Even having the presence of organizations such as the Task Force of a GSA club can cut down on the discrimination around campus. To start an organization on campus there must be a vast amount of support behind it to back it up. After the club or organization is started the original members often work on educating campus of what their purpose is and look to take on new members. As the people become more educated they also become more accepting the amount of violence around campus decreases immensely. The presence of an organization similar to GSA or Task Force not only changes the whole climate of the campus but also relieves students’ emotional distress therefore making it beneficial to not only the whole community but each individual as well.

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