A Courageous Conversations event was held in the Solarium on the Floyd campus on April 2 at 12:30 p.m. It involved seven students from the Equality Alliance club: Amanda Brendel, Ryan Jones, Kelli Arthur, Hannah Kent, Jordan Collins, Marcus Lee and Justin Deal.
The purpose of the event was to inform guests about the way LGBT students feel and deal with sexual orientation in and outside of the classroom.
Joan Ledbetter, adviser for the Equality Alliance club, started off the event by reading a student’s essay about the experiences she had encountered as a lesbian.
Deal, president of Equality Alliance, talked for a brief moment about the club before questions were asked of the seven panelists.
Ledbetter started the conversation by asking the panelists to cover the subject of bullying.
Deal said there is a problem with people bullying on social media websites.
His encounter with bullying in high school involved the silent type, such as people pointing and talking behind his back.
Since attending Georgia Highlands, he has had positive experiences.
Jones noted that he and his LGBT friends stood up for themselves in high school. They were able to block people out and stick together.
Lee talked about the abuse and disrespect he had experienced as a gay male in the military.
When asked about the positive aspects of being a LGBT, there were a variety of answers from the panel that included a sense of community, close friends that are always there and how other relationships improve because of the honesty of coming out.
Dana Davis, director of college relations, asked the panel about their feelings on the same-sex marriage case with which the Supreme Court is currently dealing.
Jones made a point about the legal benefits that are being denied to same-sex couples. He believes marriage should be open to everybody.
When Ledbetter asked what equality meant to the panel, Deal responded that to him it meant waking up and living comfortably without worrying about being gay or straight.
After the event was over, Jones said, “I think it went really well.”
Becky Crooks, sports editor for the Six Mile Post said, “I think it’s great Georgia Highlands supports the Equality Alliance, and so many people showed their support for the LGBT community.”