LGBT supporters begin picture campaign on campus today
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 20:03
LGBT equal rights. Three words that stir up a lot of emotion and controversy, but supporters of equality on the SMU campus want to send out a different message.
April is “Pride Month” and Valerie Erwin, program advisor in the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, has started a picture campaign.
The campaign is for SMU people who support LGBT equality to express the reasons they do.
“One of the questions I get a lot from students deciding to come to SMU is ‘is it okay to be LGBT on campus?’,” Erwin said.
“I want first years and students who may be frightened to talk about being LGBT or come to SMU to know that there are people who support them on campus in a very visual way.”
Erwin started the project in June when she wrote a small grant to the Division of Student Affairs to do a body image and LGBT picture campaign.
Erwin did research on how different campuses handled similar campaigns and came up with a different way to do outreach on it.
The body campaign came first in November and Erwin learned a lot from the successes and failures of that campaign and took that knowledge to make the SMU campaign better.
She focused a lot on language and how someone who is LGBT and someone who is an ally use the same wording to support the cause.
Erwin has a whole center working with her on this project.
“When it comes to pictures and the campaign, it’s mainly the Women’s Center staff working on it with me and the Division of Student Affairs Grant Committee who provided the money,” Erwin said.
“So far, everyone has been really supportive and excited to help.”
Lizzy White, a sophomore, is a supporter of LGBT equality.
“I think the [LGBT] movement parallels the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s. The movement is calling for us to support it. Everyone should be treated equally, it shouldn’t be anyone’s business about who you love,” White said.
Erwin and the Women’s Center hope to create a better campus environment for students who are LGBT and also for people to see that the individuals at SMU are general supporters of LGBT rights.
The students that are frightened to talk about it will be able to see the support without having to search for it.
“I think anyway we can help people be more comfortable with themselves, that can be revolutionary,” Erwin said.
The campaign is looking for more places to display the project once completed. Close to 12 different offices have committed to display it in their areas.
The campaign will be taking the photos today, tomorrow and Wednesday at different locations.
Check out www.smu.edu/womenscenter for more information or contact Erwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women’s Center is located on the third floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.