Coffman rally targets GLBT hatred

The event was held in response to recent campus intolerance cases.

Chelsie Hanstad

Students, staff and community members gathered in front of Coffman Union on Monday to rally against hate toward those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

Clad in winter coats, hats and mittens, about two dozen people arranged themselves in front of Coffman’s pillars, holding signs with messages such as “Stop anti-gay religious intolerance” and “We are who we are.”

B. David Galt, office director of the University’s GLBT programs, said the rally was in response to recent cases of intolerance toward GLBT people on campus.

“There have been incidents of incivility Ö incidents in classrooms where GLBT students have left because they feel unsafe,” Galt said.

No one interviewed at the rally said they experienced such incidents themselves, but they said they heard stories and believed attitudes toward GLBT students have worsened in recent months.

College of Liberal Arts advising employee Stephanie Lawrence said she has noticed a shift in attitudes, reflected in some opinions published in the Daily.

In October, the Daily published a column by a University student arguing that the Bible forbids homosexuality. It also printed several letters responding to the column.

Andrea Nordik, a University alumna who graduated in May, said that while she walked around campus she heard rumors of negative editorials and slurs directed at GLBT students.

The rally was not in response to the recent court decision in Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage, nor was it in response to last week’s proposal by two Minnesota legislators to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. The rally was planned before those events occurred, Galt said.

The rally was one of two events focusing on GLBT issues held Monday. There was also a forum that explored religious and faith community beliefs related to such issues as sexuality and civil rights associated with GLBT people.