Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hate Crimes Still Exist

Left, James Cauffiel
Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with, according to googledictionary.com.


In light of the recent suicides of gay teens, which received nationwide news coverage, the Lambda organization wants to get the word out that hate crimes are still prevalent.
James Cauffiel, 29, is president of Lambda at Vol State, and is a victim of a hate crime while he attended Clarksville High School.
Cauffiel said that he was on the football team, and very active in sports before he came out and told everyone he was gay.
The equality sticker placed on the gazebo in the Vol State courtyard

“My junior year I came out,” said Cauffiel. “I was in high school and I got beaten up. I was in the hospital about a week. I was bruised up with a punctured lung. I tried to press charges but the school came back and said that no one had witnessed it.”

Cauffiel said his attackers were former friends and members of the football team.
Since that time, he has been active in several different gay and lesbian organizations that include Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Lambda.

The Lambda organization at Vol State provides an open environment to foster dialogue between gay and straight students in a supportive atmosphere according to the clubs and organizations pamphlet in the office of student life and diversity initiatives.

In the past, Lambda has not been very well known around Vol State. “People don’t know it exists,” said Jamie Blurton, Vice President of Lambda, and student ambassador.
“I like to advocate for people’s rights,” said Blurton. “I’m involved in a lot.”

Several students around campus voiced their opinions about gay rights and Lambda.
“The fear of it is ridiculous,” said Denzel Greer about people’s fear of the gay community.
On student wanted to remain anonymous and said, “I’m not going to disrespect anybody, but I don’t associate with those kinds of people.”

Ryan Mclean said that he and his friends support equality.

“I have a huge number of gay and lesbian friends,” said student Shellie Leach. “I want to support equality and equal rights. Coming out day was October 11, and it was my anniversary to my husband. I spent the day reflecting how fortunate I am to be able to marry the person I love.”

Leach said she thinks that everyone should have that right.

For those interested in becoming involved in Lambda at Vol State, contact Nancy Blomgren at 230-3208, or Loretta Calvert at 230-3786. The next meeting will be Monday October 25 at 2 p.m. in the Wood Campus Center room 101. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Volunteer State Community College

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