Scouring the Media

GROUP PROMOTES TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING ON CAMPUS

Posted on: November 30, 2010

USF’s PRIDE Alliance acts to minimize hate crimes and acts of injustice towards the LGBT community on campus

by Brooke Lacey and Alissa Jones

Wayne Gabb, vice president of external affairs for PRIDE Alliance


TAMPA — The topic of gay acceptance has been an issue for many years, and with the recent suicides of several gay teens across the nation, all of which were linked to bullying and intolerance, Wayne Gabb said people still need to be educated.

Gabb, a 20-year-old psychology major at the University of South Florida, is familiar with gay acceptance on campus. Gabb is the vice-president of external affairs for USF’s People Respecting Individual Diversity and Equality Alliance, or PRIDE Alliance, the primary LGBT group at USF.

“I’m happy to say at USF it’s barely an issue because we’re one of the most diverse schools in the country,” Gabb said.

Although the university is diverse, he added that some steps should be taken to make sexual orientation less of a public problem.

“Why don’t we create a living and learning community where you accept the fact you’d be living with someone that is from a different culture, that is [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered], that practices a non-popular religion, and you’re accepting and okay with that?” he said. “More LGBT people will apply for that [living arrangement].”

Gabb said, from his experiences, he is happy with how the university promotes tolerance, but he occasionally receives unnecessary attention for his sexual orientation.

“I think each professor will take into account once they realize I’m gay. I feel sometimes I’m called out upon it in class for no reason, or it’s brought to people’s attention when it doesn’t need to [be].”

With gay suicides receiving major publicity this year, Gabb said that people should learn how to be more tolerant and less offensive toward the LGBT community.

“I don’t like when people constantly say ‘that’s gay,’ I actually had to speak out at one of my class mates because he used it all the time. I yelled across the room before class started, ‘the word you mean is “stupid.” The word you want to use is “stupid.”’”

Gabb also added that some of his friends have experienced more than just that cliché expression.

“I’ve had some friends…get into verbal abuse and almost physical violence when they were roommates at the time,” Gabb said. “That’s the problem with living in dorms on campus, and that’s why we promote living learning communities.”

Gabb offered some words of advice to promote tolerance within the student body.

“Labeling makes people uncomfortable, it makes people think that everyone’s in a category,” Gabb said, “but all men are created equal.”
USF student Rachel Martin, who is an out of the closet bisexual, said that tolerance toward the LGBT community should be promoted more often throughout the university.
“Just because I’m bisexual doesn’t mean that I’m stupid, below human, or anything like that,” Martin said. “And just because someone isn’t familiar with the gay community doesn’t mean that they’re ignorant. They just need to experience the [LGBT] community before they judge it.”

PRIDE Alliance meetings are held Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in the the Marshall Student Center, room 3709.

SEO: PRIDE Alliance, USF LGBT, Univeristy of South Florida LGBT, USF tolerance, gay rights

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