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LGBTQ activists take new approach

Eva Binda | Friday, April 20, 2007

A Holocaust Memorial lined the east part of South Quad Tuesday as part of Stand Against Hate Week, organized by different campus groups and departments to send the message that “we here at Notre Dame do not discriminate or tolerate hate, specifically toward our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning students.”The display was just one indication of altering tactics used by those campaigning for rights and respect for LGBTQ students.Despite high visibility enjoyed by the “Gay? Fine By Me” campaign, the week’s student organizers decided to take a different approach.”People are almost getting bored with this push for equality and acceptance for gay students,” said senior co-organizer Casey Scott. “There’s a whole lot more to be asked for. There isn’t any way, shape or form full acceptance. I don’t think this issue is going to go away for a while nor should it.”In addition to the memorial and the distribution of T-shirts for the Stand Against Hate campaign, a Day of Silence was organized Wednesday. Participating students took a daylong vow of silence to represent the silence of LGBTQ students and their rights. Scott said she considers the week a success especially for its first time on campus. “I think it’s a great event. […] It’s widespread and I’m excited we’re a part of it,” she said.Scott was also pleased that the Day of Silence could be brought to campus. She said the day is observed around the country at other universities, high schools and even middle schools. For freshman Patrick Bears, remaining silent all day “was the hardest thing in my life.” “I hope what I did will help the awareness of LGBT issues that are faced by people at this and other universities,” he said.Scott said she felt the Holocaust Memorial display on South Quad was particularly successful and had “the most reach in terms of all the events we did.” “Just even walking by the few times that I did, it seemed that people took notice of it. I think that had a big impact,” she said.To make an even bigger splash next year, Scott said she hopes to see “more interactive events,” like the Day of Silence, so more students can participate. “While I’m happy with the amount of people who did partake in the Day of Silence, I would love to see many more people participate,” said Scott, who hopes the day will become a “significant campus-wide event.”The week was put on by the Core Council for Lesbian and Gay Students, the sociology and history departments, student government, Jewish Club of Notre Dame, Progressive Student Alliance, Feminist Voice, Graduate Student Union, the Gender Relations Center and the University Counseling Center.