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SHSU Counseling Center and Residence Life to educate students, faculty on LGBTQ issues

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 00:10

SHSU to educate students, faculty on LGBTQ issues

McKinzie Brocail I The Houstonian

SPREADING AWARENESS. The Haven training has gained support from members of Gamma Sigma Kappa (Gay-Straight Kats) on campus. GSK also hosts events during Pride Week every year to promote awareness and support of the LGBTQ community at SHSU

The Counseling Center and Department of Residence Life at Sam Houston State University are looking to educate faculty and students on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community on campus as they host the first Haven training sessions on Wednesday.

Haven is a campus-wide effort begun in 2009. It was created to promote inclusion and advocacy on campus so that faculty and staff members could provide a "safe zone" for the LGBTQ community to discuss issues without having to worry about being discriminated against or admonished for their sexual orientation.

Maryim Ilahi, Ph.D., staff psychologist for the SHSU Counseling Center, said "the training will provide LGBTQ information, available resources, and discussions on LGBTQ topics and how it relates to the college culture, collaboratively discussing LGBTQ equality, promoting awareness and understanding of LGBTQ concerns, presenting information on how to be a helpful and effective ally, and providing valuable resources for LGBTQ concerns".

The training sessions have gained support from students on campus.

Andrew Colarusso, president of Gamma Sigma Kappa or Gay Straight Kats (GSK), commended the idea of the Haven program.

"I think the Haven will be a great resource to help people feel comfortable with their sexuality and [will] also help others to become more educated on the topic," said Colarusso.

Jessica Oswald, Vice President of GSK, also believes Haven will help to bridge the gaps between different groups on campus.

"We believe that Haven training can only enhance knowledge of our community," Oswald said. "Having people of difference generations interested in knowing more about how to sensitively approach those of various sexual orientations gives us hope for more reach out from other communities."

The first Haven training will be held in LSC Room 302 on Oct. 17, from 3-4:30 p.m. for faculty and staff and on Oct. 24, from 7-8:30 p.m. for students.


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