There was a great article in the UNC-Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel yesterday, covering the organizing efforts of LGBT students on the campuses of North Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Winston-Salem State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University are among many of North Carolina’s HBCUs.
At NC A&T, LGBT students attempted organizing an LGBT student organization in recent years, but much of the organizing has died down due to the campus climate. It is good to see that many students in other areas are starting to organize:
Gay students want help at historically black schools
Groups fighting culture, religious ties
By: Liz Gilliam, Staff Writer
Issue date: 4/10/07 Section: State & National
Anti-gay sentiments and homophobia long have plagued the gay and lesbian community, but students and activists say that it’s a different ball game among historically black colleges and universities.
Cultural traditions, religious ties and previous racial oppression are among numerous factors cited for a large discrepancy between treatment of homosexuals at HBCUs and predominately white institutions.
N.C. Central University has an active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization on campus that has been gaining steam for the last three years.
“When I got to Central my freshman year of ’04, students were a little bit more non-responsive to anything dealing with LGBT students,” said Brandon Sims, president of N.C. Central’s Colors of NCCU. “It was one of those things where the staff and faculty were sweeping it under the rug until I became president in ’05 and I said, ‘No. NCCU needs an open and active organization.'”
Sims said that the organization includes 46 students of the school’s approximate 8,000.
He said that N.C. Central is one of the most accepting schools in the HBCU community but that the group had to turn to the Human Rights Coalition of North Carolina for funding. The school was willing to charter the group but not willing to fund it, Sims said.
Roger Hayes, a pastor at the Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship in Winston-Salem, said a number of gay students from area HBCUs have come to his church because it’s accepting.
Hayes said that from his experience, few gay students at Winston-Salem State University are open about their sexuality.