Recent research has revealed a growing LGBT population on college campuses across the nation. This research has brought to light some of the needs of LGBT students. The challenges LGBT students face are most recently documented in Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People: A National Perspective (2003) a study of 14 colleges and universities across the county that included over 1,600 respondents. The findings from the study for LGBT undergraduate students include:
- More than one-third have experienced harassment on their campus in the past year.
- Those experiencing harassment reported derogatory comments as the most frequent form of harassment (89%) and that students were often the source of the comments.
- Many (51%) concealed their orientation or gender identity to avoid intimidation.
- Gay, Lesbian and Bi-sexual students also have higher suicide risks than their heterosexual counterparts.
- According to a 2004 report entitled Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Suicide in College University Settings by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, when risk was measured among all college students, LGBT students reported more depression, were lonelier, and had fewer reasons for living as compared to a control group. Those factors correlate positively with suicidal tendencies. Those students also reported experiencing more prejudice.
Doesn't this push a gay agenda on others?
This does not ask someone to change their personal values. It merely educates participants on the needs of some of the students on our campus. The reality is, LGBT students are a part of the Western community, and as staff and faculty we have a responsibility to make sure all our students are successful.
Why not include other minority populations? Why just LGBT people?
Unlike other minority populations where you can look and find someone who is just like you, it is not always obvious who might be supportive, understanding and aware of the resources for LGBT students. Currently, there are no other programs that support this population of students.
People Respecting Individuality, Diversity, and Equality (P.R.I.D.E.)
The group, whose acronym stands for People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality, was established to provide a safe, supportive atmosphere for all individuals, including those looking to explore and define their sexual identity.
The nearest PRIDE organization is in the Lawton/Ft Sill area. They hold weekly meetings. For more information contact:
Gracie Fry (Co-Founder): Co-Chairman-
Deron Twohatchet (Co-Founder): Co-Chairman-
405-694 6972 (cellphone)
Amy Dolloff (Co-Founder): Treasurer-