Ally Week kicked off last week at Southern Oregon University with a drag show put on by the Queer Resource Center.
In addition, the SOU resource centers hosted a documentary in the hopes of bringing together a diverse group of students under a united theme of respect.
Ally Week is a student-led national movement intended to raise awareness about Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer issues, where participants “ally” together against prejudice and discrimination against the homosexual community.
About 30 students gathered in the Commuter Resource Center on Monday evening, Oct. 17 to watch “Out in the Silence,” a documentary featuring the lives of several individuals of the LGBTQ community, all facing a common foe: bullying.
According to the documentary, bullying today is not just exhibited in just a typical schoolyard fashion, but is also being exercised by people of every age, race and gender in areas such as the workforce, and even religious institutions.
The documentary was filmed and produced by Joe Wilson and Dean Hammer, who were inspired particularly by the negative results of their publicized wedding announcement in 2004. The couple received death threats and hate letters from community members who disagreed with same-sex marriage. They intended for the film to portray the realistic challenges members of the LGBTQ community face in everyday circumstances.
The film gave some examples of the challenges the LGBTQ community face, for example a church produced a video of Gay Pride marchers, followed by the slogan “The Gays are Coming To Your Town” in an attempt to convince public opinion against the rights of homosexuals. There was another case in which a woman pulled her child out of school due to the severe bullying he was receiving. This shocked many young viewers, but the school board, when presented with the issue, did nothing but laugh and wave it off. These examples sent a strong message to viewers.
Many SOU students participated in the discussion that followed, raising thought-provoking questions for our community to ponder, such as whether close-mindedness comes from the fear of the unknown, or whether mutual respect can create an even more unified community.