Student organization fights for gay rights

Since the 2003 Supreme Court case ruling of Lawrence v. Texas outlawed anti-sodomy laws in Texas, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations have continued to uphold the equal protection standards established by the case.

UH student organization GLOBAL’s Public Relations Officer Chris Busby feels many students are disinterested in LGBT issues.

"For all those who are heterosexual and think (Lawrence v. Texas) doesn’t apply to you, this is important for everyone’s fundamental rights – keeping the government from invading our personal rights," Busby said. "The government doesn’t belong in (a person’s) bedroom; even if they don’t believe in gay sex.

"States generally should be allowed to make their own policies, but this was a case where the government needed to step in to protect the individual’s rights."

Created in the mid 1990s, the UH student organization serves as a social and political support network for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and its supporters.

"Discrimination of any kind should not be welcome anywhere, much less on a campus of higher learning. There is a need for a safe place to meet, get involved in the community and socialize on campus," GLOBAL President Melanie Espinosa Pang said.

As a student-run organization, GLOBAL’s mission is to provide a forum for discussion and action on issues related to the gay community on and off campus.

"We attempt to bring GLBT issues to the minds of all UH students," Pang said. "We provide support for students on campus who find themselves in need by providing both a group setting for mutual support and an anonymous contact point, by phone or e-mail, to discuss problems and to answer questions."

Along with their projects on campus, GLOBAL has also collaborated with AIDS Foundation Houston, worked with The Alley Theatre to perform a play based on the history of the Houston LGBT community and participated in the candlelight vigil for Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, a weeklong event in which heterosexuals show support for the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans.

As its membership numbers continue to rise, GLOBAL is also in the process of setting up a scholarship fund for LGBT students at UH.

"Having a bigger presence on campus, taking more initiative in stimulating campus awareness and education on GLBT related issues is one of our main goals this coming semester," Pang said.

Today, in honor of the anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, many GLOBAL members will attend a potluck dinner celebration hosted by the Houston GLBT Community Center at 6:30 p.m. at the Bering and James Art Gallery. Cost is free and the event is open to the public.

Non-GLOBAL members and individuals any sexual orientation should not feel discouraged from attending the potluck or any other GLOBAL activity, members said.

"GLOBAL is a group of people who just want to love and let love. (We) aim to provide†a safe, open-minded group atmosphere, so we encourage anyone with an open mind and an open heart to join," Pang said.

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