Lone Star College–CyFair’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender and Allies student organization recently sponsored GLBTA Awareness Week, which included honoring Jason Moulenbelt as the first recipient of the Rainbow Award.
GLBTA Awareness Week was held March 27 – March 29 to support and affirm the commitment of the Lone Star College System to diversity, said Sergio Sarmiento, GLBTA advisor.
“The purpose of the student organization is to provide a support system and to promote acceptance and diversity while providing a safe atmosphere free of prejudice. The informational tables and open forum during awareness week not only served to support and educate our own GLBT students, but also the rest of the college and community about the importance of understanding and respecting differences among people,” Sarmiento said. “These events were held to educate and open dialogue about diversity and current issues faced by GLBT students and their families.”
In addition, the GLBTA created the Rainbow Award to be granted to a person or group of people who actively promotes diversity, inclusion, dialogue and equality toward GLBT students.
“It is with great honor for the GLBTA group to announce Professor Jason Moulenbelt as the first recipient of the Rainbow Award for the year 2007-2008,” said Sarmiento. “Jason has worked tirelessly and courageously toward creating a campus culture free of prejudice against the GLBT community. His passionate arguments and desire for inclusion and dialogue are truly admirable.”
Moulenbelt described receiving the first Rainbow Award as a humbling experience. He said he was deeply moved by students who courageously spoke out about their own experiences.
“It was heartening to see the camaraderie of the group, the attempts to comfort those who spoke of bad experiences and to cheer for those who had good experiences, said Moulenbelt. “Many of those who ‘came out’, came out to very receptive parents, which is great to hear – although some told heartbreaking stories of problems with relatives and friends.”
Moulenbelt said he was proud to be a member of the panel, to share his experiences as an ally to the GLBT community and to talk of strategies to use when a member of the GLBT community decides to trust someone enough to share their story with them.
“After hearing the tales of persecution and personal courage from the members of the ‘coming out’ panel, I felt like the real people who should be getting awards were the GLBT members themselves,” said Moulenbelt. “I will hang the Rainbow Award with pride on the walls of my office, announcing that I am an ally to the GLBT community and their concerns. I hope that very few Rainbow Awards need to be given out and that we can see members of the GLBT community as equals in the near future and the need for allies will be unnecessary.”