Linfield trains for LGBT awareness

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Rosa Johnson, Managing Editor

Linfield College is not ranked in Oregon’s top-10 Friendly Campus Climate Index for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

Campus Climate is an environment where you can be yourself without judgment; it is Linfield’s ultimate goal to achieve a ranking within FCCI.

Senior Elizabeth Guzman Arroyo is the student coordinator of the Wildcat Intercultural Network, and she established ways that staff and students could spread awareness for the LGBT community through Safe Space Training on Oct. 14.

Arroyo, student coordinator of the Wildcat Intercultural Network. Yucheng Zhang/Senior photographer
Elizabeth Guzman Arroyo, the student coordinator of multicultural programs at Linfield, explains her PowerPoint presentation on ways that Linfield students and staff can spread awareness for the LGBT community on Oct. 14

“We need to shift the Campus Climate to a welcoming environment,” Arroyo said.

Safe Space Training began in spring of 2013. The Director of Multicultural Programs, Jason Rodriquez, joined Arroyo in making the program along with junior Ariana Lipkind, the co-president of FUSION.

“[Safe Space Training] spoke to me and I wanted to know more about it and it inspired me,” Rodriquez said. “Dammit, I want this and we need it in this school.”

Definitive issues the LGBT communities occur daily were covered in Safe Space training. Arroyo defined a variety of phobias directed towards those of bisexual orientation, of those with blurred gender roles and those who are attracted to the same sex.

Tokenizing, or the assumption of making a member represent a group through stereo typing them  to the LGBT community was discussed along with
micro-aggressions, intentional or unintentional verbal or behavioral insults that make a member of the LGBT community feel unwelcome.

Each of these terms were defined in the meeting along with other acceptable and DSC_6554unacceptable terms. Arroyo said that due to the stress of society, gay people are more prone to alcoholism, drug abuse and developing mental illnesses such as depression.

These issues were focused on the Linfield campus itself when heterosexual privilege was discussed.

Also known as heteronormativity, it is when members of the LGBT community are oppressed and do not get the same rights as heterosexuals.

Linfield does not have any gender-neutral bathrooms or housing, these disadvantages affect Linfield’s ranking for FCCI. Among those in the crowd was Dawn Graff-Haight, professor of health education who teaches the Human Sexuality course at Linfield.

“I think [Safe Space training] is awesome, it would be great for orientation to raise awareness,” Graff-Haight said.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor
Professor of Health Education, Dawn Graff-Haight (left) displays her Safe Space Training certificates that she earned on Oct. 14 with Director of Multicultural Programs Jason Rodriquez and senior Elizabeth Guzman

Graff-Haight fought for three years for the creation and active practicing  of the Consent Awareness Training Squad , which has been  in Linfield’s orientation for the last 14 years. CATS spreads the awareness of alcohol and consent with students, there is talk of  wanting to add Safe Space training to the CATS program in order to spread awareness for the LGBT community. Graff-Haight supports having every student and staff member to take Safe Space training to raise LGBT awareness.

“I’m really pleased to discover how accepting and open campus was went I came to Linfield 17 years ago, but the alliance for everyone could always be better, people still don’t get it and we need more awareness,” Graff-Haight said.

Arroyo brought up the “Start, Stop and Continue” exercise, which is the act of starting positive habits that will help the LGBT community, stop prejudice and oppression while continuing a good support system that the LBGT community needs.

“Instead of people being bystanders, they should be upstanders,” Graff-Haight said while promoting healthy habits and ceasing discriminatory behaviors for the LGBT community.

“We’re all people and every human being should have a right to be who they are,” Graff-Haight said.