They are not going anywhere. That is what Ferris student Josh Thompson had to say about FSU’s Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance.
Thompson said he feels the overall Ferris community is not accepting of the gay community and wishes more would be done to make the university a better place for everyone.
“I feel that some people are OK with it and others are not. It matters how people were raised, their cultural background and how they individually feel about it. I feel that individuals should be a lot more comfortable and understanding. It’s not like the ‘gay community’ is going anywhere,” Thompson said.
The March 29 viewing of “Small Town Gay Bar” reflected on the struggles and accomplishments of being gay, as producer Kevin Smith’s YouTube video said in “one of the hardest places to be gay: Mississippi.”
Localizing the issue of being gay, Thompson said, “I feel that a lot of the gay community is judged because a lot of the students and faculty at Ferris State are extremely closed-minded. This is a critical issue.”
Thompson continued saying the gay community gets gay-bashed, stereotyped, labeled and harassed often.
“I feel that the Ferris State student body and staff need to find a way to be more accepting of the LGBTQA community,” Thompson said.
Cramer Hall Director Brittany Leslie and co-advisor of D-SAGA explained that the movie showing is part of a series which reflects on diverse issues such as being gay. Past documentaries shown on campus include “Prayers for Bobby” and “Out in the Silence.”
“Honestly, I am really interested to see how it [Small Town Gay Bar] will impact students. A lot of students here come from a small town. It will resonate with students in the fact that they might have seen some of the same things in their hometowns and evaluate their own perceptions of gay bars and small towns,” Leslie said.
Leslie believes there is a strong student following within the Ferris gay community that focuses on “educational and social explorations of what it means to be part of the gay community”.
She hopes students who have viewed films of any diverse documentary will think before they speak and open their eyes to how their actions impact others, including students of color to students with different religious beliefs.
Leslie explained how documentaries such as “Small Town Gay Bar” cause emotions to rise.
“It’s definitely not all roses or puppy dog tails. Some statements will hit home. It will be fairly emotional for them,” Leslie said.
Thompson, a four-year member of D-SAGA, reflected on the amazing friends he has made within the group, valuable information he’s learned and continues to volunteer at campus activities. His accomplishments of D-SAGA are not to be overlooked by the challenges he and many others have faced with stereotypes.
“At times, I have had challenges with being a member of D-SAGA, by being harassed by it. I overcame these challenges by stopping the stereotypes, explaining the purpose of the organization and helping others learn more about D-SAGA, the ‘gay Ferris community,’” Thompson said.
D-SAGA welcomes all Ferris students including those who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gendered and allies. Its weekly meetings are held Wednesdays in the Rankin Student Center 125/127 from 8 to 9 p.m. n