During Ally Week, the Patricia A. Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality hosted a series of events to help the students of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville become better allies. On Sept. 29 they held Ally 101, an open forum to ask whatever you wanted to about what it takes to be an ally.
“An ally is a person who does the little things, telling someone that it’s not cool when you call someone or something gay,” junior psychology major Alexzander Dietterich said. “It’s also advocating for equality.”
Some issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students face is struggling to support one another due to people spewing hate. Dietterich believes that it is important to stay positive and stand up for others even when it’s not convenient for you. As an ally, it is your duty to help make sure that someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ is safe.
According to the Sexual Assault Violence Campus Climate Report that was surveyed in the Spring 2015 semester, 78.8 percent of students reported that they’ve experienced at least one form of sexual assault on campus. Of those that reported to have had a sexual assault experience, a large majority were LGBTQ+ students. 89.2 percent were LGBTQ+ students who experienced at least one form of harassment and 16.2 percent experienced at least one form of sexual violence.
“LGBTQ+ allies are vital to the continued health of the LGBTQ+ community; having outside support allows our issues to be taken seriously and gives us the manpower we need to convince others to let us be happy,” senior mathematics major Rosemary Carroll said in an email interview.
Also mentioned during the forum was the use of micro aggressions and how allies can help stop people from using them. Assistant vice chancellor of student affairs Laura Bayless explained that a micro aggression could be referring to something not pleasant as “gay” as a joke. She encouraged the attendees to ask someone what would be so funny about using that particular word. She said that it would make the person using the micro aggression feel silly and put on the spot.
The center, located in Warner Hall, is designed specifically to be a safe zone for LGBTQ+ students and allies. It is a place where people can be comfortable and respected by their peers.
“The Doyle Center is a very accepting place where regulars can do homework, eat, relax or whatever,” freshman physical engineering major Ali Phillipps said. Phillipps finds herself at the Doyle Center at least once a day.