The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Campus shows support for the LGBTQA community during Ally Week

A multicolored paper chain stretches across the walls of Founders Hall’s lobby. Near the center of the joined rainbow links, a throng of people crowd around a small table. Students, professors, dining hall staff, women, men, young, and old are all intermingling within this large crowd. From an outsider’s perspective, these people may look like they have little in common, but each person wears a small strand of yarn wrapped around their wrist.This simple bracelet may seem frail, like the paper links that decorate the room, but when hundreds of people wear this multicolored band and link their names together, they represent an idea that cannot be broken.

From Feb. 8 to 12, Pride hosted Ally ‘Week, a national event that the LGBTQA community celebrates once a year. During the lunch hours, members of Pride encouraged students to show their support for the LGBTQA community by signing a colorful paper link. Each link would join to form a chain that they would hang up in Founders Hall’s lobby.

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an ally is someone who will: 1. “Not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) language or slurs;” 2. “Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed;” and 3. “Support efforts to end bullying and harassment.”

“We are making a paper chain to show how many allies we have here in the Guilford community,” first-year Emily Stamey said. “We are hoping that by the end of the week it will stretch all around Founders.”

Members of Pride also provided multicolored yarn bracelets for their supporters to wear all week. These bracelets served to identify them as LGBTQA allies, but the true commitment that came with being an ally was not as simple as it may have sounded.

“It was funny – many people who visited our table asked how much it would cost to ‘pledge to be an ally,'” Brian Daniel, junior and president of Pride, said at the end of the week. “Being an effective ally does not take money; rather it takes commitment and courage. A true ally is committed to helping end bias and discrimination towards LGBTQ folks.”

“To be an ally means more than just being a friend to somebody who belongs to that (LGBTQ) community,” sophomore Lauren McClure said shortly after signing on as an ally. “It is more than sticking up for someone who is being insulted because of their sexuality. It’s being aware of that discrimination and trying to stop it by signing a petition or going to protests or even doing something as simple as signing chain links.”

The LGBTQA community usually recognizes Ally Week in October. Unfortunately, the date falls during Guilford’s fall break, so Pride would not have been able to host it.

“We decided to celebrate it last week,” Daniel explained. “Of course, we do not need a specific week to celebrate our allies, just like we do not need a specific month to celebrate LGBTQA history month, because it should always be celebrated.”

By the end of the week, almost 300 people had signed up to be allies and the paper chain was long enough to stretch across the width of Founders Hall’s lobby.

Anyone can become an ally at any time. For more information about the LGBTQA community, students can attend Pride meetings, which take place every Monday at 8 p.m. in the Queer and Allied Resource Center on the second floor of Founders Hall.

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