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Allies create ‘Out of the Box’ experience for spring Biannual Training

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 7, 2011

The Allies of Texas State University-San Marcos will host a two-part Spring Biannual Training session themed “Out of the Box” April 11-15.

In support of National Sexual Assault Awareness month, this program will focus on violence that occurs toward the LGBTQ community when people look and/or behave outside the “box” of societal norms related to gender expression and roles.

The Allies of Texas State decided on the theme after being alarmed by the numerous LGBTQ suicide stories in the news this year. The most high-profile story was the tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, a college freshman who committed suicide after his roommate secretly recorded his sexual encounter with another male and streamed it live on the Internet. Such news stories highlight only a few of the many LGBTQ youths who have died by suicide as a result of anti-gay harassment, bullying and homophobia.

According to a 2002 report from the National Mental Health Association, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students hear anti-gay slurs an average of 26 times a day. This homophobic bullying is often aimed at youth who do not conform to traditional gender roles or gender expression.

Part one of the Biannual is the “Out of the Box” Art Contest, and opening night will be held at the Lampasas Coffee Room 6:30 p.m. April 11. Currently, submissions are being solicited from anyone inspired to create a piece to provoke thought about this type of violence. The medium must be either 2D or 3D and made of cardboard material. If applicable, it must be ready to hang, and all pieces must be submitted by April 1 and include an artist statement. Texas State students will receive prizes (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), and the most outstanding youth, community, and faculty/staff entries will receive recognition during the gallery opening. All submitted entries will be exhibited at the Lampasas Coffee Room from April 11-15.

Part two includes a screening of the film Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History and interactive bystander intervention training in the LBJ Student Center Teaching Theatre 6-8 p.m. April 12. Bullied is a documentary film designed to help administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students, not just those who are gay and lesbian. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being harassed. This program is a collaboration between the Counseling Center, Men Against Violence, the Student Health Center and Allies Program Team.

For accommodations or more information about this event or the art contest, please visit www.txstate.edu/allies or contact allies@txstate.edu.