HRC Blog

HRC Equality Bus Stops in Tuscaloosa!

The following guest post comes from Zack Hasychak, Community Events Manager at HRC. 

The HRC bus tour rolled onto the campus of the University of Alabama this morning for another "On the Road to Equality" open house featuring a NOH8 photo shoot, just one day after the student body organized a social justice march in response to several recent instances of intolerance on campus. 

Here at the largest university in the state, we were met by hundreds of LGBT and allied students and faculty interested in engaging with HRC and learning more about the LGBT movement. 

On Wednesday, HRC and our partners at Equality Alabama released a new poll which revealed that nearly 70 percent of Alabamians support passing a law that prohibits bullying and harassment against LGBT students or children of LGBT parents in schools. That message resonated strongly here on campus today, as many of our visitors  have been subject to bullying themselves, both when they were younger and in college.  Most of our visitors were shocked to learn that such a law isn't already in place.

"Bullying is unacceptable, and we must ask our legislators to put strong protections in place for our community in Alabama," a leader of the campus LGBT group Spectrum noted. 

The highlight of my day was meeting Christa, a straight ally who drove four hours from the Florida/Alabama border with her sisters to join us today. When I asked her what inspired her to make the long trek north to Tuscaloosa, she spoke about growing up in a small town where homophobia is rampant and culturally acceptable. As an ally, she feels it is her duty to spread the message of acceptance and tolerance with her fellow Alabamians. She talked about a young, closeted cousin and the struggle he will inevitably face throughout his adolescence, and her desire to make Alabama a safer place for him. 

While inspiring, Christa's story isn't unique - we spoke with tons of allies this morning who were thrilled to see HRC on the ground here in the deep south. "It means a lot that HRC was willing to come and be visible in a place which is so openly hostile to LGBT people," one visitor commented. 

After a great day here in Tuscaloosa, we're on the road to Birmingham for an open house at UAB and a benefit for our good friends at Equality Alabama tomorrow. Stay tuned for more updates as we venture across "Sweet Home Alabama!"

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