On April 30th members of LGBTQUA came together to participate in the University of Akron’s rock painting tradition. Painting the rock served as a bonding activity and a way to draw attention to Akron’s largest LGBTQ club.
Only two days later members found the rock had been vandalized. Member Fiona Szeles describes the vandalism:
“It was painted black and had “hetero” written in large letters… “40%” [was] written, representing a false statistic of people who believe gay marriage shouldn’t be legal in America. They also covered the rock in petroleum jelly, preventing new paint from binding to the rock and making it harder to remove the vandalism.”
According to Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans support same-sex marriage in 2019, while 31% oppose it.
Members worked together to clean up the rock grabbing paper towels and scrubbing off the jelly before they began repainting. According to member Rhys Stone, they also had to pick up litter left behind from the vandalizers. After the jelly was removed, the members repainted the rock rainbow and showed their resilience and intolerance for homophobia with the words “No H8” written in giant letters.
Although the rock was repainted, the damage continues to be felt.
“It was supposed to be a day of celebration but instead it left a bitter taste in our mouths,” former president Clay Slattery recalls, “We could feel the hate. We felt unwelcome.”
Member Hayden Boyce shares similar feelings, “I felt unwelcome in my own home. Campus is my home.”
The LGBTQ community is no stranger to hate. Many religions believe that the LGBTQ community is living in sin. Religious freedom is deeply important to American culture and many people may feel that this validates this type of hate.
Current LGBTQUA president Zendaya Dixon explains why this is not the case, “You should be allowed to have your own opinions but when you are actively working against another community and adding to their oppression, that is more than beliefs—you are being hateful.”
Despite this unfortunate occurrence, LQBTQUA presses on, continuing to host meetings every Tuesday. This club is a great way to meet other people in the LGBTQ community, be involved on campus, and promote acceptance and equality.