A young girl walks down the halls looking around at other couples that society deems “normal.” She wonders if she will be viewed differently when walking with her girlfriend.
“There would be straight couples holding hands in the hallways in high school, but if me and my girlfriend held hands it was wrong,” said Alice Wyche, freshman at TJC.
It can be a challenge coming out to friends and family. S.A.G.E helps students through this process by giving them someone to talk and connect with.
S.A.G.E stands for straights and gays for equality. This organization is anything but judgmental.
“(S.A.G.E) welcomes all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our mission is to promote acceptance and equality for all students,” said Melanie Ward, official sponsor of S.A.G.E, Professor and Reading/Developmental Education.
“Students can come and be exactly who they are … You can be straight, gay, trans, bi, or whatever you wanna be. As long as you support equality and you’re respectful to people,” said Ward.
Regular meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of every month at 6p.m. in the Gold Room of the Ornelas Residential Hall.
S.A.G.E plans to hold a free testing day for AIDS Oct 31. Students will be able to get tested at no cost and receive results almost instantly.
They are also planning to attend the National Conference of LGBT Equality Creating Change. LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender. The conference will be Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2014, at Hilton Americas-Houston in downtown Houston. This will be a chance for students to meet other students who are going through the same struggles and make connections.
TJC has a lot of supportive faculty and staff when it comes to the S.A.G.E organization.
“We have safe-space stickers … it’s a visual thing that you know it’s a safe place to go,” Craig Foster, official sponsor of S.A.G.E and academic advisor.
Teachers, faculty and advisors are given the opportunity to put it on their door.
“It’s important to know that there are people they can go to that aren’t silently judging them,” said Foster.
“The first S.A.G.E meeting I went to I felt like an abandoned child that had just found her long lost family,” said Wyche.
High school is a tough time to come out about sexual orientation worrying about what people are going to think and judgment.
When students get to college, everything seems to get better.
“People are so much more accepting,” said Wyche.
Coming out can be difficult, especially when there is no support system to turn to.
“It’s going to be hard … but two people are put on this planet to be together … it’s hearts, not parts,” said Wyche.
“(If your thinking about coming out) make sure you’re ready … It’s no one else’s choice but your own,” said Bryan Roberts, freshman at TJC.