Andrew Ross - Mustang Daily
Andrew Ross - Mustang Daily
Andrew Ross - Mustang Daily
Andrew Ross – Mustang Daily

Same Gender Hand Holding Day will be celebrated on campus today with a march beginning on Dexter Lawn. The event is supported by Cal Poly Student Life and Leadership and the Pride Center on campus.

“It’s an opportunity for queer and supportive students to get visible on campus,” said aerospace engineering senior Jason Bertels, who helped organize the event.

Bertels said there are two goals for the march: One is to combat heterosexism through visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students on campus and in the San Luis Obispo community. Secondly, the march is to give students the chance to express themselves and open up to their sexuality in a healthy and comfortable environment.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” business administration senior Moses Torreblanca said. “It’s a way for me to express to others about who I am, and what I am comfortable with.”

As seen on the posters around campus, the event’s tag line, “Live out, live loud!” promotes the event’s purpose of being comfortable with any type of sexuality, and the willingness to express it to others. Tuesday’s event is meant for two or more people of the same sex to openly hold hands. The point of the march is to show it is just as normal as a male and female holding hands.

The campus Pride Center holds numerous events like this each year. According to the the Pride Center’s website, the center’s main goal is to raise awareness of issues on gender identity and oppression both on campus and in the San Luis Obispo community. The Center does this in hopes of educating the general public on LGBT and other related issues and work toward the overall goal of eliminating heterosexism, homophobia, gender identity oppression and discrimination.

In a recent interview with Pride Center coordinator Erin Echols about students on campus that are working toward boycotting Chick-Fil-A due to the franchise supporting anti-gay campaigns, she spoke about the safety of LGBT students on the Cal Poly campus.

“For being an LGBT student on campus, I think it is physically safe,” Echols said. “Verbally, not so much. I definitely think there (are) pockets of safety around campus. The residence halls are great because you have (resident advisers) who have gone through ally training and want to be supportive of all the residents.”

Safety is just as big of a topic for the Pride Center as freedom of expression is. They work with students and help identify areas around campus that have been considered a safe space for students who are considered more diverse to relax comfortably.

“I know the University Union is really comfortable for a lot of students who are more diverse,” Echols said. “But there’s certainly other locations and majors that I see people who have harder times with. We do see people change out of majors or have complaints against students in classes.”

Echols said bullying on campus toward LGBT students happens on campus every so often, but many students brush the instances off.

She said she doesn’t though — she takes note of every incident.

“I don’t want to recommend Cal Poly to someone in a way that is inaccurate and have them have a bad experience, so I let them know,” Echols said. “I let them know that there’s some really great people out there and most of the people you run into will be really friendly and open.”

All students are encouraged to attend and support the Hand Holding event. The march begins today at 11 a.m. on Dexter Lawn. If it rains, the event will be moved to Chumash Auditorium on the second floor of the University Union building. Supporters of the march urge students who wish to be involved to arrive early to help create signs.

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  1. Wish this had been published prior to the day of the event. I would think most people don’t read the paper before 11am (unless they have early classes), which is when the event started, so this article didn’t help as much as it could have with publicity.

  2. I too experienced chronic bullying from a serial bully sitting at the president’s cabinet. He interfered with all my activities at school he could – even my report of harassment with the dean of students. He made my life miserable and put my legal integrity in risk by cheating and lying. He’s name is RB. What is he doing on campus to begin with?

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