LGBTIQ group raises awareness

The Haven LGBTIQ organization hosted their first training session last week. Dr. Michelle Stone, a Counselor at the Sam Houston State University Counseling Center and coordinator of the events, spoke at the Haven 101 training. Haven 101 covered topics such as vocabulary, gender and sexuality, power and privilege, risks and stats, current laws and what makes a “good ally.”

The next event is a follow-up of 101—Haven 102 on April 26. It will touch on subjects such as heteronormativity, identity development, coming out, microaggressions, difficult dialogues and allies in action.

“One of the main reasons we have Haven is to see people who are excited to and interested in creating a more inclusive campus for the students,” Stone said.

Haven trainings help students, faculty and staff to better understand the LGBTIQ community. The Haven is a network of informed, supportive people who work toward the elimination of stereotypes, myths and misconceptions, as well as a resource for anyone who needs it.

During the trainings, there are vocabulary quizzes to see what all the participants know, as well as various other activities and lectures on specific topics. Students are given binders with the quiz—pages of activities and resources of who to contact if they need someone to talk to or more information.

On the SHSU website under Campus Life >> Haven, it states, “Within the environment, Haven works to foster an atmosphere that promotes the exploration of thought, self-reflection, perceptions, beliefs, philosophy and theories in an environment of social acceptance. Haven works to promote this unconditionally accepting environment amongst the SHSU campus community by being a group of active advocates for the LGBTIQ community.”

The Haven website also has helpful LGBTIQ resources for anyone who might need them, such as links to various other organizations and centers. Also listed on the website are the names and contact information of SHSU students, staff and faculty members who have successfully completed a Haven Diversity Advocate training seminar and have volunteered to be listed.

“I think the Haven is important because everybody on campus deserves to have a place where they feel safe and understood,” Stone said. “Through our work, that is something that we hope to accomplish. A more inclusive campus creates more safety and a more welcoming environment for everybody; whether you’re a part of this community or not a part of this community, there is always plenty to learn.”

Stone says the ideal outcome for Haven is to “uplift, empower and celebrate our LGBT students, just like we would the rest of our students.”

The Haven events take place in the Counseling Center in Conference Room 208. Students can email haven@shsu.edu to join the organization or to get in contact with co-chairs.

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