Over 20 students marched from Dexter Lawn to the University Union Tuesday chanting “What do we want? Civil Rights! When do we want them? Now!”
The demonstrators, lead by Cal Poly Pride Alliance student coordinators Angela Kramer and Morgan Leckie, cheered as they demanded equality for homosexuals.
The route included Via Carta and South Perimeter roads as well as a walk through the Avenue, before concluding in the UU.
Upon entering the UU, both Kramer and Leckie gave short speeches that touched on Poly Pride week and the state of homosexuality in America.
“It makes me really sad that we have chosen to ostracize another group from society in America,” Kramer said.
Tuesday’s events marked the second day of CommUnity Pride Week, which includes six consecutive days of events designed to educate and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
The festivities kicked off Monday night with a slam poetry event.
“It’s a week of education and empowerment for LGBT students and their allies,” Leckie said, adding “It’s not just about the gay and lesbian students here, it’s about everyone.”
The Pride Alliance, with support from Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals United, organized Poly Pride Week in order to bring visibility and support to Cal Poly.
Since the creation of the Pride Alliance in 2002, two homosexual students were taken out of Cal Poly and enrolled by their parents into “ex-gay” student programs, Leckie said.
She said she hopes that campus support can avoid such recurrences in the future.
Booths were set up in the UU Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in an attempt to offer such support.
The Central Coast Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the AIDS Support Network, Fusion and the Pride Alliance were all present.
The organization’s goal is to “try to smooth the waters and help parents (with homosexual children) understand that this is still the same person they’ve always loved,” Rick Tibben, 63, a member of PFLAG, said.
San Luis Obispo County continues to deal with instances where homosexual children are kicked out of their parent’s homes, Tibben said. In such cases, he said, PFLAG tries to place the children in homes until parents hopefully, “come to their senses.”
Despite the attempts to increase the visibility and acceptance of LGBT students, sometimes “the bigotry is still there,” Leckie said.
Several insularity comments were written on the display set up on Dexter Lawn as a part of Pride Week, including one that read, “Homos are gay, heteros are straight!” she said.
To curb such ignorance, Leckie said the Pride Alliance constantly encourages training the allies for the homosexual community.
“An ally is somebody who’s willing to put on a (pride) shirt, somebody who’s willing to hold hands with someone of the same sex,” she said.
A “Soup and Substance” luncheon, held on Tuesday in Chumash Auditorium, addressed fraternity life as a gay man.
Vice President of Tau Kappa Epsilon Adrian Herrera read individual accounts about gay fraternity members out of the book “Brotherhood” and then invited attendees to discuss the issues raised.
Herrera finished by reading his personal story from the book about coming out to his fraternity brothers.