Training program helps students voice LGBTQ issues in SHSU safe ‘Haven’ event
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 18:10
Students at Sam Houston State University discussed the pressure of living in a conservative environment with views considered ‘liberal’ among several other topics related to the LGBTQ community as the Department of Residence Life and Counseling Center hosted its Haven training on Wednesday.
Throughout the session, students were encouraged to voice their opinions and feelings over the topics covered, and one of the things many people spoke up about was their concerns about the possibility of discrimination because Texas is a very conservative state. They shared experiences of conservative backgrounds being a definite problem, the concern that SHSU’s culture climate is very low, and many other aspects of trying to function in society.
For many students, the event helped them address issues in a safe, healthy environment. Joul Looney, a graduate Clinical Psychology major, said Haven was a supportive program for LGBTQ persons.
"The session was really good," Looney said. "It was very helpful to have an open floor to talk about sensitive issues that we usually can’t discuss because there is no safe space."
The training was hosted by Dr. Maryam Ilahi, a psychologist at the Counseling Center, and Residence Hall directors Shannon Reed and Jenna Wright. The topics they covered in the session included a brief history of the LGBTQ community’s movement and information designed to further the student’s knowledge of LGBTQ issues and stances, myths associated with the LGBTQ community, training for those wishing to be allies for the LGBTQ people, and resources for LGBTQ persons and supporters to use.
Students who attended Haven were very grateful that the program was available and felt that it helped them immensely. Jason Tilton, a senior International Business major, recommended Haven for anyone interested in being more involved with the LGBTQ community.
"I thought it was absolutely wonderful and much needed," Tilton said. "I would absolutely recommend it for students. It was great to be in an accepting environment, something I feel is very important for LGBTQ persons."
Ilahi confirmed that the program has received very positive feedback from both the student and staff Haven trainings, and added she will continue to expand the program
Reed said that the critique they received from these sessions gave them ideas for furthering Haven in the future such as providing sessions with more specific training, working together with other organizations on campus and providing more basic sessions with larger capacities as the program grows.
For more information about Haven at SHSU, contact Ilahi at the counseling center at 936-294-1720 or Reed at the department of Residence Life at 936-294-1812.