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There are several resources at the university and around Denton for LGBTQ+ individuals to engage with their community in a safe environment.
The Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access provides gender and sexuality resources through the Pride Alliance office. Pride Alliance offers awareness and gender inclusion training, partners with community organizations to promote policies for all gender and sexual identities and provides hormone replacement therapy.
Last year, the Pride Alliance established the Lavender Leaders retreat, where incoming students can connect with other queer and transgender students and learn about LGBTQ+ resources. The Pride Alliance also offers an OUTfits Clothing Closet, where individuals can access clothes such as shoes, bras, accessories and more.
“They are very lovely people, they are absolutely fantastic,” said Violet, science and professional communications senior and founder of Don’t Mess with Trans Texans. “Unfortunately, they’re so understaffed and their resources are stretched so thin that there’s very little they can actually do to help queer students.”
Although founded by a university student, DMWTT is not affiliated with the university in its effort to provide a safe space for students to be themselves without limitations despite the lack of support for the transgender community in Texas.
“[DMWTT’s goal is to] provide more community outreach and trans-specific spaces,” Violet said. “Even during pride month, I’m seeing that a lot of pride month efforts aren’t super inclusive of the transgender community or aren’t as inclusive as they should be. The efforts and the needs of transgender people are being ignored by both legislation and even by our own community. To have a space where we can organize, where we can just have a good time and experience joy and live life is extremely important.”
LGBTQ+ students can also voice their need for more resources and community events to university organizations. Chloe Baars, an art history sophomore who is involved with the University Program Council, said UPC highlights different perspectives in their executive meetings and takes them into consideration when planning events.
“I feel like I can give a good perspective on the climate of UNT’s LGBTQ+ community when it comes to UPC,” Baars said.
Baars is also a member of the Social Sapphics, “an inclusive, diverse and safe space for women, women-aligned people and non-men in the UNT LGBTQIA+ community.” As a member of the Social Sapphics, individuals have the opportunity to meet other LGBTQ+ students and listen to guest speakers talk about issues going on in the community.
Additional LGBTQ+ organizations include GLAD: UNT Queer Alliance, The Space: A Trans and Binary Student Organization and the Black Out Alliance. The Career Center in Sage Hall offers resources such as the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBTQ Scholarship Database, College Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Students and UNT Division of Student Affairs LGBTQ+ Resources.
Computer science senior Jonathan Sanchez said he feels welcomed and safe on campus, but many also believe the university could do more to increase protection against hate speech and improve funding for organizations like Pride Alliance.
“The community is very accepting, but there are organizations out there [and] fraternities that are not welcoming,” Sanchez said. “Allowing them to spread their hate in a very liberal school sends a negative message to the community.”
Featured Image: Identity flags hang along the walls of the Pride Alliance on June 10, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane