(news) glbtq protest copy

What is normally a peaceful forum for students to engage their peers turned sour last Thursday, March 20, when members of GLBTQ staged a silent protest against Christian Fraternity Chi Alpha. Reports of the protest allege that Chi Alpha yelled homophobic slurs at GLBTQ members.

“Today was the first time I truly felt unsafe on campus,” said GLBTQ President Gisselle Loredo. “I should feel safe when I’m walking through campus. I should feel safe when I’m walking to class. I should feel safe, period.”

Senior clinical psychology major and co-founder of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Charles Duncan claimed that one member of Chi Alpha shouted, “Homosexuals are going to hell.”

“As a member of the LGBTQIA community itself, I was deeply offended and disturbed,” said Duncan.

Members of GLBTQ gathered near Chi Alpha and protested while holding a rainbow flag, traditionally a symbol of the GLBTQ movement.

“Then some more Chi Alpha people came up and started debating us. Before we knew it, there were multiple debates going on and the crowd was growing larger,” said Duncan, who claimed that two police officers were called to monitor the scene.

“I at first advised members in the organization to not get into any arguments with them,” said Loredo. She changed her mind after GLTBQ members reported being harassed. “I later got a report from another member, stating he had been grabbed by one of the preachers. He had a large bruise on his arm as a result.”

Senior communication major Craig Richey is a member of Chi Alpha and was preaching during the incident. “We started preaching and touched on sin,” said Richey. “Since the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, they (GLBTQ) came up and started asking questions.”

According to Richey, he and two other members of Chi Alpha began preaching at 9:40 in the morning in front of the McKinney Humanities Building. Their preaching involved each of them standing near their table and speaking to students who would sometimes stop and gather to listen.

Responding to allegations that members of Chi Alpha were specifically targeting GLBTQ members with hateful speech, Richey claims that he “didn’t hear anything like that,” and that Chi Alpha was simply delivering their weekly sermons.

“I’ve had friends in GLBTQ and by no means are the two groups at war. It surprises me that a group who is so for rights and freedom is against our freedoms,” said Richey.

The SSA is seeking to take action against Chi Alpha. “We are talking to Kelsey Bratcher from Student Activities about this matter,” said Duncan.

GLBTQ will also be filing a report against Chi Alpha in the Office of Equal Opportunity Services. “The demonstration today violated multiple policies listed in UTSA’s nondiscrimination policy. I’m currently familiarizing myself with the appropriate process to deal with this,” said Loredo.

According to the UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) outlines the limitations to this amendment. The nondiscrimination policy as outlined by section 9.01 defines discrimination as, “conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

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