The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
We live in a world where a majority of people’s good efforts are focused on awareness – breast cancer awareness, diabetes awareness, childhood obesity awareness, LGBT awareness, etc.
We have all these causes we want people to know about, but it’s like shouting into a void of apathetic ignorance. It’s not the bystander effect, it’s the bystander pandemic.
Murray State, however, is home to several organizations and changemakers who are actively trying to break through said void and who are showing bystanders how real change is made.
The Murray State Office of LGBT Programming is at the heart of some of this very real, genuinely life-saving change.
Because we also live in a world where innocent people are being murdered because of sheer intolerance. People’s lives are ending because of their sexual orientations and gender-identity crises, by their own hands or by the hands of others.
Murder: the ultimate reaction to things too many people refuse to condone, let alone understand.
Suicide: the final fate of someone who looked ahead at the rest of their life and saw an endless road of hate and ineffective self-justification.
To have a light in that darkness here on our own campus is significantly underrated.
The Office of LGBT Programming offers so many services that fly under the radar and it’s time people know about them.
Alliance, for one, is an organization for members and allies of the LGBT community. They provide invaluable support and are behind some great events on campus.
The Drag Show, for example, has become one of the most popular events hosted at Murray State – a groundbreaking feat for the LGBT community. People from all walks of life, different sexual orientations and of all gender identities come out to have fun in a uniquely safe space. Drag Queens and Kings tear up the runway for the enjoyment of everyone in attendance.
It’s a night where awareness thrives and where we get at least one step closer to true change.
There are also gender-neutral bathrooms accessible to attendees and performers on the third floor of the Curris Center. Gender-neutral bathrooms are available on campus every other day as well – an initiative that began during the summer of 2014.
Because why make something as menial and trivial as using the restroom part of the controversy that is, apparently, being yourself?
It’s a toilet, not a platform for “moral high ground.”
The Safe Zone Project, a national program with a strong presence at Murray State, “is designed to radically reduce prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,” according to the university website.
In accordance with this project and Alliance is also a group called Eracers – “a confidential peer-support organization at Murray State University that serves individuals with non-conformist gender identities and/or expressions (i.e. transgender, transsexual),” according to MurrayState.edu.
Long story short: Murray State is the much-needed, change-making minority.
Not many other schools, cities, states or countries as a whole are making these kinds of efforts toward providing everyone with a safe, tolerant space.
So let your rainbow flags fly, be yourself, love who you want to love and know you can always find at least one person, let alone several organizations, who accepts you at Murray State.