Weber State’s LGBT resource center is looking to rally members of the community and their allies this upcoming Oct. 8-12 with multiple events for pride week.
The resource center hosts pride week to coincide with National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11 because a majority of students are not on campus during the official pride month of June.
Jayson Stokes, the LGBT resource center coordinator, said pride week is a time for the campus to learn about available resources and to ask questions whether it be on identity or how to be a better ally.
“The resource center doesn’t serve just students that identify as LGBT,” Stokes said. “We serve all of our students.”
Parts of Utah, like Salt Lake City, have a strong, visible LGBT community Stokes said. He added Ogden has members, but because it’s not as visible, it would be difficult for someone who feels isolated to find the help they need.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends states collect data about teens’ sexual orientation to aid the prevention of LGBTQ youth suicide. Utah has not followed the suggestion, according to Equality Utah.
Between 2011 and 2016, Utah youth suicide rates almost doubled. According to Equality Utah, LGBTQ youth who come from highly judgmental families are about eight times more likely to attempt suicide.
When a person is a part of a racial minority, they share and often go through the same experiences and challenges as those in their family in addition to those cause by being LGBTQ. Members of the LGBTQ community may not know people who are like them, and their families do not understand what they are going through. That creates a form of isolation according to Stokes.
“One of the important things about Pride Week is that even if an individual doesn’t meet people and build friendships, it reminds them that there are other LGBT people around,” Stokes said.
Pride Week kicks off Oct. 8 with an information fair and tabling at the Shepherd Union Atrium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. One booth will highlight programs and resources the center offers, and another table will provide answers through “Ask an LGBTQ Person.”
The Northern Utah Coalition, a local nonprofit organization, will offer free HIV and Hepatitis testing in room 321 of the Union on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A Safe Zone Ally training will be offered on Oct. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the LGBT Resource Center. This is an opportunity for those who do not identify as LGBTQ to learn about how they can become stronger supporters for the community.
Student representatives with a variety of identities across the sexual and gender spectrum will host the “Coming Out of My Cage (and I’ve been doing just fine!)” panel on Oct. 11 in the Wildcat Theater.
There will be a free film screening and discussion on “Saturday Church” on Oct. 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater. The center chose this film because the transgender community is often left out of the discussion when talking about pride. It’s important to the center to highlight gender expression and identities, according to Stokes.
“Pride has a long history of being a time where LGBT people get to be their authentic self,” Stokes said.
For more information, visit https://www.weber.edu/lgbtresourcecenter.