The Women and LGBT Center hosted an Ally Training in their office located on the third floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on Friday, Feb. 8. The training was led by the center’s director, Dr. Sidney Gardner. Ally training brings together SMU faculty, staff, and students to create an empowering support system for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community on campus.
“The center gives voice for women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, with purpose to eliminate barriers, diminish prejudices, and create a supportive climate and space for all,” according to the Women & LGBT Center’s online page in the Student Affair’s catalogue.
A group of women gathered in a small room: a professor, a resident assistant, a member of Multicultural Student Affairs, a student, a parent, an athlete, and others
“The purpose of Ally Training is to educate yourself about the LGBT community, so you are able to create a supportive climate for LGBT members both on and off campus,” Dr. Gardner said to open the session.
Training began with everyone going around the room and explaining why they chose to attend the training. The answers varied, but everyone agreed they wanted to be a better colleague, friend, teammate, RA, professor, parent, or all-around person. No matter the exact reason why they were there, they all wanted to be advocates.
“I want to be able to be there for all of my residents, and I figured this will help me understand what they might be going through and how to support them,” resident assistant Adara Patel said.
“I want to be able to be there for all of my residents, and I figured this will help me understand what they might be going through and how to support them.”
Ally Training is a valuable resource for people on campus to support a much minority group. There are LGBT students on every college campus, some of them out and others not. SMU has a small undergrad student body as it is–about 6,500–leaving the LGBT community to be relatively smaller.
SMU’s resources and advocacy for the LGBT community is gradually bringing visible change, as SMU happily lost its spot on the Princeton Review’s list of LGBTQ-Unfriendly colleges after being on it for two consecutive years.
Ally training attendees found it refreshing to be around people who believe in human rights of all people.
“I think it’s important to be an advocate for a group of people who have a smaller voice here at SMU,” Patel said.