A recent Gallup poll showed that more U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ now than at any time in the past decade. The same upward trend has been seen at Weber State University.
The Shepherd Union houses the Women’s Center and LGBTQ Support Center on its third floor. These departments seek to create a safe space on campus for these individuals.
The offices seek to help and support these individuals in their college experience with welcoming events. These events tackle topics like feminism and toxic masculinity, among other things.
One such event is the monthly Sister Circle. It is a common misconception that these events are geared specifically toward female students. Those of any gender and sexual orientation are welcome to attend.
“Anyone can come,” Tracie Murdock, a student worker at the Women’s Center, said. “We want them to come to these conversations, and a lot of them don’t feel welcome in these spaces, and we want them to know that they are.”
The organization of these events is not without its challenges. Both offices receive some pushback when tackling hard issues such as feminism.
“There are a few challenges, especially given the state that we are in,” Murdock said. “There are a lot of misconceptions, and a lot of words like ‘feminism’ are hot topics to bring up, and people don’t want to have these conversations.”
Even with that pushback, the events they do hold have generally been successful. However, they would like to see more of the greater community attend them.
They discuss many topics related to gender awareness and creating a safe space. This month’s topic was gender stereotypes.
At this event, a presentation was led by Murdock and fellow student Haylie Oyler, who both chiefly organized this event under the direction of Andrea Hernandez, Women’s Center program coordinator. The presentation was about gender stereotypes, how they are created and what can be done on and off-campus to prevent such stereotypes to continue in the community.
All in attendance were invited to create a gender-journey board that will hang in the center of the Student Union during the month of March for Women’s Herstory month. They hope the visibility of these boards will spread awareness of the growing LGBTQ community at Weber State.
“It is nice to see them acknowledge events like this,” Zahran Austin, a nonbinary student, said. “They pretty much ignore us.”
It is through these events that the presence of the LGBTQ community on campus can continue to flourish — not just for those involved, but for everyone on campus.
The next event will occur on March 15 about toxic positivity.