Past the stigma: LGBT students say education will create a sexually tolerant campus

An open door in the University Center reveals a large rainbow flag hanging over its sides. Inside of the room, several chairs encircle a large banner reading “MY FAITH” resting on the center of the floor.

The banner bears a strong religious theme, juxtaposed by a warm, welcoming energy as members of The Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity continue to file in.

It’s just another ordinary day for Taylor Trimble, president of the organization and spokesperson for the gay community.

“The Alliance for sexual diversity is the largest and oldest LGBT/QIQA student organization in Georgia,” Trimble said. “We give a voice to the queer student population at Georgia State, and Atlanta as a whole.”

Trimble has been a member of the program since last year, but has only recently become president.

“I heard about the organization through an ex of mine. When I first got here I was the education chair, then in 2012 I became the president,” he said.

Trimble said he believes there is more to raising awareness than simply entertainment, as does Secretary Treasurer and fellow Alliance member Andrea McBride.

“Homophobia is less prevalent than it once was,” Trimble said. “Either people aren’t as vocal about homophobia, or they’re becoming more educated about it and realizing that queer people are human beings too. It’s all about having the decency to treat every human being with respect.”

McBride said she believes homophobia comes from the lack of understanding on a more national level.

“People have become more accepting,” McBride said. “Maybe not because of a shift in religious views, but because of changing philosophies. America is an individualist society, so there’s more emphasis on the freedom each person has to make choices in their lives. Other societies around the world are more collective, with people being more interested in the well-being and representations of everyone as a whole.”


Coming out

A large part of the LGBT lifestyle revolves around embracing self-identity and honesty. Alliance members still vividly remember when they first admitted their sexual preferences, and the reactions they received.

“I came out once when I was 14, and again when I was 18,” Trimble said. “I was forced out, which led to some violent situations with my parents. My family has a hard time accepting it because of principles in ethnic background, but I’ve never felt like being who I am is a burden.”

McBride also remembered  when she first began to identify herself as a lesbian, and said it started at an early age.

“I first realized my feelings towards women when I was three,” McBride said. “I had more than the typical admiration towards my babysitter. I didn’t think much of it then. I didn’t fully come out to my parents until last summer. I’m grateful that my parents still love me unconditionally, because I have some friends who were in a lot tougher situations when it came to coming out to their family and friends.”

Although McBride always had an interest in women, she said she often hid who she was from her family.

“I would often lie about who I was and who I was dating,” she said. “Sometimes I would make