Women’s Studies Office hosts domestic awareness panel


Courtney LucianaSpecial to the Southern News

In honor of domestic awareness month the Women’s Studies Office hosted the SCSU community and a panel of Connecticut candidates in the Engleman auditorium on Oct. 5 to discuss social justice encompassing in on gender and sexuality affairs.

The struggle for justice has been ongoing, said Shante Hanks, an alumni and deputy district executive for congressman Jim Himes. Still, she advised individuals to make a difference for their community by reaching out.

“I was hoping our future congressmen would say a change would made at the White House,” said Hanks. “The fact we are still fighting for equality in 2016 is surreal.”

Hanks placed her hopes among Republican congressional candidates Angel Cadena, in Connecticut’s 3rd district, and Matthew Corey, in the 1st district, both whom helped to advocate the educational discussion into a series of full-fledged debate by utilizing concerns of the LBGT community as a gateway to discuss a variety of issues including: gun laws, mental health and education.

Initially, Cadena and Corey insured members of the LBGT community their woes were recognized in light of the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub that occurred this June. The two Republican congressmen advised the LBGT community to remain aware of their surroundings at all times but to also accept that gun control will remain sufficiently justified under the constitution.

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Members of the panel discussing sexual equality in front of the audience in Engleman Hall. Photo Courtesy: Brokk Tollefson

“These answers are not good enough,” said Mckenzie Katz, senior, women’s studies major and member of the Sexuality and Gender Equality center. “The LBGT community needs comprehensive education to be placed among middle and high school students based on sex education and our peers need to be taught how to treat individuals of our community properly.”

According to the Pew Research Center that surveyed a national representative of 1,197 LBGT adults said 39 percent of these individuals have claimed to have been rejected by a family member or a close friend due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Thirty percent said they have been physically attacked or threatened. 29 percent said they have felt unwelcome in religious locations. In addition, twenty one percent said they have been treated unfairly in a workplace establishment. Over half with 58 percent said they have been the target of mockery.

Corey said he was not advocating LBGT members to obtain a firearm as a solution to alleviate the fear of attacks among their community.

“Again, I’m just pushing individuals to be aware of their surroundings,” said Corey with no new answers. “All we can do for now is work on centralizing education on these topics.”

The phrase ‘my community’, the phrase ‘your community’, the phrase ‘our community’ surfaced to one equivalent conclusion: Safety measures for the LBGT community need to be advanced.

Jonathan Pelto, Green Party candidate for Congress, in the 1st district, said the blown up discussion on social justice made a good snapshot of the structural issues the world has faced today. “The fact is a lot of domestic terrorism is occurring,” said Pelto. “The police need to be trained to learn that political idealization is a dangerous weapon.”

Photo Courtesy: Brokk Tollefson

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