BW Allies seek positive response to anti-LGBT fliers at nearby CSU

Baldwin Wallace University’s LGBT+ student organization, Allies, have been trying to spread positivity and awareness after anti-LGBT flyers were posted on the campus of nearby Cleveland State University last month.
During the week of Oct. 9, anti-LGBT flyers were spotted and taken down from CSU’s campus shortly after the opening of the university’s new LGBT center.
The posters, which sported the title “Fascist Solutions,” had inaccurately low statistics of the rate of suicide among the LGBT+ community; following these statistics was a message advocating for LGBT+ people to commit suicide.
While nothing was posted on BW’s campus, the proximity of the incident brought it to the attention of the Allies organization.
“[Allies members] were devastated about the poster because [the content] was completely inappropriate,” said Vex Cassius, one of Allies’s co-student directors. “I definitely think that hate speech is not free speech.”
Cassius, along with fellow co-student director, Jake Knowlton, attempted to reach out to CSU’s LGBT center to organize a march or hold some sort of event in response to the incident, but have not been able to make contact with the organization.
On BW’s campus, however, in response to the incident Allies has been heavily advertising Transgender Awareness Week, which starts the second week of November and ends on Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The organization has been tabling in the Union with stickers, buttons, and other sorts of knick-knacks all advocating for transgender rights.
On Nov. 3, the group held their Trans Visibility Fair in the Student Activities Center to start off Transgender Awareness Week.
They had guest speaker Amy Vaughn, a professor who specializes in transgender voice therapy.
Cassius said BW has not experienced such an outright act of hate speech as publicly or violently as CSU.
There have been instances where students would write derogatory slurs or inflammatory language on the Allies’ public board, Cassius said, but the hate on BW’s campus is not as loud as it was at CSU.
“If anything, [the poster] has opened up a dialogue for with which we can discuss matters of the LGBT community that might not have existed before because everyone on this campus has seen the poster and have said, ‘oh, that’s horrible,’” said Cassius, “where before they only viewed the LGBT community in passing.”
Knowlton said the Allies team was excited to work with the BWise organization, a group focused on sex, drugs, alcohol and other health-related issues, on upcoming events. Similarly, Allies hopes to reach out and collaborate with other student organizations in the future.
Knowlton said the Allies executive board hopes to shed light on the positive aspects of the nearby poster incident rather than on the negative to further open a dialogue for students and to bring hope to those affected by the event.
“You don’t want to dwell on the negative, but you also don’t want to ignore it either,” said Knowlton. “We’re trying to have a more positive response to help compensate for the negative.”