On the Road to Aggieland to Spread Our Message of Equality
September 16, 2011 by Candace Gingrich-Jones, Associate Director, Youth and Campus Outreach Program
We woke up Tuesday to another ridiculously hot but gorgeous day in Texas. The bus and our accoutrements were set up on G. Rollie White Plaza, almost in the shadow of legendary Kyle Field, home of the Texas A&M football team. (We had been warned in advance by HRC staffer and Aggie Kirk Rice to keep any and all things orange safely in our suitcases for the trip to College Station-- especially burnt orange.) We had folks stopping by before we even had everything in place. I wasn’t too surprised at that – the bus drew attention as soon as it arrived in College Station. Camden Breeding, president of the GLBT Aggies had texted me Monday morning to say “just saw the bus in town. Whoop!”
It was a steady stream of people all day and I was happy to see so much diversity – diverse in every way except for the maroon clothing. Probably the only folks not wearing maroon outright were the Corps of Cadets & ROTC – I was pleasantly surprised when a few stopped to read our info and even sign postcards. The GLBT Aggies were out in full-strength, not just to check out the Bus but even picking up clipboards and getting folks to sign our “End Bullying” petition postcards. The GLBTA is set to have a great year – they had their first meeting of the year last week and over 120 people showed up!
It was almost 100 degrees by 10:30 and everyone was in need of some refreshing – which showed up in the form of Project Yogurt frozen yogurt. In addition to serving up treat the two women from Project Yogurt also got into the spirit, encouraging everyone to sign postcards and find out more about HRC. We talked to so many people who were eager to learn about the issue of LGBT equality and find out in what ways they could be helpful. What we saw at A&M was a reminder that the movement for full equality continues to progress – not only did the awesome yogurt-serving women and members of A&M queer group show me that but the A&M staff & faculty and Corps Cadets, too. Another sign for me was that there were no protesters in sight – and we had definitely discussed and planned for that possibility. But the ideas we were sharing – that LGBT people shouldn’t face workplace discrimination, that queer families deserve to care for and protect themselves under the law, that bullying needs to be addressed, that ‘faith’ and ‘LGBT’ do go together – are ideas that have mainstream support across the county. With luck, the Road to Equality Tour will allow more people to be actively supportive of the work for LGBT Equality. Thank you Texas A&M for the big ‘howdy’, the warm welcome and the chance to bring the Road to Equality to Aggieland.