Avery McKnight has invited Dr. Yolanda Bogan to administer a basic LGBT training session at the management seminar that will be held May 4.
“That management seminar with all the university administration being present, I’m going to use that as an opportunity to get on their schedules at that time,” said Bogan, the director of the counseling center. “Everybody will be there and I can look at all of them and say, ‘OK. When is your meeting? And how can I be a part of that meeting?'”
Bogan said it is important to get on their schedules, so she can reach out to faculty and staff as well. She said taking this approach won’t make an add-on meeting for faculty and staff but will integrate LGBT training into their regular professional development activity.
“What I am aiming to do is a couple of things,” said Bogan, the director for the counseling center. “One is just to increase the faculty and staff awareness of just basic issues related to the LGBT community and beyond that, hopefully, there will be some people who will self-select to become allies.”
Bogan said to be an ally would require a more intensive training session.
Students agree with Bogan’s training sessions hoping they would bring more understanding to faculty and staff members. Students also want to see the attitude toward the LGBT change for the better.
“It is important that the faculty know the cultural differences between the heterosexuals and homosexuals so that they can understand the different aspects about our culture,” said Jubilee Jackson, 26, a senior physical therapy student from Ft. Lauderdale. “A lot of people, especially older people, a lot of faculty, they may not have had a lot of interaction with gay people and if they have, it may have been very limited.”
Bogan said faculty, staff and administrators working at the university need to be aware of LGBT issues.
“It is important for faculty to understand that being aware and sensitive is a regular part of our professional development and this is not an add on. It is like learning to use the computer,” Bogan said. “Learning about the LGBT community and some basic information are just helping us to educate students. It is a basic part of what we do at the university.”
Jackson said insensitivity on campus toward the LGBT student population comes from misconstrued images of LGBT people. He said people judge LGBT students based on what they have seen on TV or what they have heard from friends.
“They often see our sexuality and forget that there is a human attached,” Jackson said. “So it is necessary so people can see we aren’t so different. But you also need to take into consideration that some of the things they are used to saying and doing have been offending us for all these years and they need to stop now.”