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PRISM students observe day of silence

April 17, 2014

 

JARED KING
Staff Reporter

 

Dustin McGilvray, right, a senior psychology major, and Taylor Michiels, left, a senior marketing major, tape each others mouths in order to observe the  Day of Silence, a LGBT awareness event that takes place nationwide. –Photo by Colin Fontenot

Dustin McGilvray, right, a senior psychology major, and Taylor Michiels, left, a senior marketing major, tape each others mouths in order to observe the Day of Silence, a LGBT awareness event that takes place nationwide. –Photo by Colin Fontenot

What will you do to end the silence? Students of Louisiana Tech’s Prism group took a vow of silence Friday to do observe National Day of Silence to bring awareness to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community Friday.

 

PRISM, founded in 2005 as the Gay/Straight Alliance, offers Tech students a place to be who they are without fear of bullying or discrimination. President Taylor Michiels, a senior marketing major, said that the group provides LGBT students with a safe space.

 

“In our safe space, people are free to be who they are,” Michiels said. “We accept everyone. People aren’t afraid to talk about being gay, and transgender members aren’t afraid to dress up as the gender they choose to express.”

 

Many of the members of PRISM did not have the luxury of such a support system in high school. Declan Tracy, a junior biology major, has been a member of PRISM for three years and is transgender. Tracy values the group because of the discrimination he was subjected to in high school.

 

“My story is not a happy one,” Tracy said. “I didn’t have a good time in high school because of the discrimination and the bullying that I suffered from. I experienced the physical side of the abuse as well as the verbal side of it. PRISM is very supportive of the transgender community and supports transgender awareness.”

 

While primarily created as an organization for members of the LGBT community, heterosexual people are also members of PRISM. Referred to as allies, heterosexual members of PRISM are advocates of LGBT rights and stand with the LGBT community in its fight for those rights.

 

Rebecca Hillman, a senior accounting major, is the vice-president of PRISM and is an ally of the organization.

 

“An ally is simply a person who supports the LGBT community and works to prevent homophobia and participates in activism events,” Hillman said. “Allies are important because they give the LGBT community validation. They don’t have to be a group of gay people but they can be integrated with heterosexuals.”

 

As a member of PRISM, Hillman said she has not faced discrimination from other students because of her association with the organization.

 

“I think the Tech campus is a very open place,” Hillman said. “I think it is more open than people think, and the members of PRISM have never had problems with students reacting adversely to them.”

 

Email comments to jki008@latech.edu.

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