By Alycia McGrail
With the Massachusetts legislature currently holding hearings about bullying in the workplace, the state has shown it won’t take this behavior in stride.
Some students at Fitchburg State University have been working to prevent bullying as well. Student Coral King, for one, has had enough of this behavior, and has worked to help people become educated about it.
Just last semester, King and three of her classmates – Kaitlyn Doyle, Cayce Ferland and Cara-Mia Iadonisi – set up a table in G-Lobby for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender awareness.
For three and a half hours, the four of them sat there asking people to fill out an anonymous survey in exchange for free cupcakes or candy. More than 100 people complied. The surveys asked questions about being bullied, safety and comfort on campus, and how often respondents hear homophobic or derogatory comments about LGBT students on campus.
Not only were there surveys and goodies for the participants; posters with statistics on LGBT bullying were on display, and videos and music on LGBT bullying were constantly playing as well.
King said she felt the reaction to her effort was positive. “People were pleased to see that something was actually being done about issues for LGBT students on campus,” she said, “because too often things get swept under the rug when it comes to discrimination and slurs like those mentioned in the presentation. They were pleased that someone was finally speaking out and taking a stand for a cause that doesn’t get enough attention.”
In a sign that momentum is building, the online “It Gets Better” project continues to gather support from politicians including President Barack Obama, musicians such as the band Rise Against, and a variety of celebrities who have joined the fight against bullying of LGBT people. The website, which the New York Times says has showcased more than 23,000 videos and attracted more than 60 million viewers, can be found at http://www.itgetsbetter.org.