What does it mean to be a Hillcat Ally?
Being a Hillcat Ally is a visible display to the campus that you stand up for the rights and well-being of LGBT students. A Hillcat Ally is a non-judgmental listener, knowledgeable about the issues of LGBT students and someone who can provide resources and referral information specific to our campus and community.
- Faith Based Organizations
- Why does the University need this type of program?
- What are the goals of the program?
- What does it mean to be a Hillcat Ally?
- How can someone become a Hillcat Ally?
- What if someone is LGBT or has a lot of knowledge, do they have to go through the training to become a Hillcat Ally and get the sign?
- Doesn't this push a gay agenda on others?
- Why not include other minority populations? Why just LGBT people?
While Rogers State University doesn't have specific information about our campus, research done on other campuses allows us to understand some of the needs of LGBT students. The challenges LGBT students face are most recently documented in Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People: A National Perspective (2003) a study of 14 colleges and universities across the county that included over 1,600 respondents. The findings from the study for LGBT undergraduate students include:
- More than one-third have experienced harassment on their campus in the past year.
- Those experiencing harassment reported derogatory comments as the most frequent form of harassment (89%) and that students were often the source of the comments.
- Many (51%) concealed their orientation or gender identity to avoid intimidation.
Gay, Lesbian and Bi-sexual students also have higher suicide risks than their heterosexual counterparts. According to a 2004 report entitled Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Suicide in College University Settings by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, when risk was measured among all college students, LGBT students reported more depression, were lonelier, and had fewer reasons for living as compared to a control group. Those factors correlate positively with suicidal tendencies. Those students also reported experiencing more prejudice.
The programs' goals are to: increase tolerance among staff, faculty and the student body for LGBT individuals; to have identifiable resources for LGBT students to address concerns related to the issues they face based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity; and to show support for those LGBT individuals impacted by intolerance, hate, and harassment.
Being a Hillcat Ally is a visible display to the campus that you stand up for the rights and well-being of LGBT students. A Hillcat Ally is a non-judgmental listener, knowledgeable about the issues of LGBT students and someone who can provide resources and referral information specific to our campus and community. Allies are not counselors or experts on LGBT people.
Staff, faculty and students can attend the 2 hour Hillcat Ally training offered through the RSU Counseling Center. This will provide basic information about the needs of LGBT students, how to serve in the role of a Hillcat Ally and what resources exist for LGBT students. After completing the training, participants have the option of officially becoming a Hillcat Ally. They would sign a commitment and receive their Hillcat Ally sign. They can decide to stop being a Hillcat Ally at any time.
While we recognize that people might have extensive knowledge about their own experiences on being LGBT or even have a research background in that area – our program is specific to being a Hillcat Ally on the RSU campus. So, it includes information about resources, what we expect people's role to be and the needs of our students. In order to become a Hillcat Ally, someone would have to complete the training, regardless of their background.
The program does not ask someone to change their personal values. It merely educates participants on the needs of some of the students on our campus. The reality is, LGBT students are a part of the RSU community, and as staff and faculty we have a responsibility to make sure all our students are successful.
Unlike other minority populations where you can look and find someone who is just like you, it is not always obvious who might be supportive, understanding and aware of the resources for LGBT students. The Hillcat Ally program helps to bridge that gap. Currently, there are no other programs that support this population of students.
The following documents are made available to all of the Rogers State University community for training and understanding of all individual human beings.
- Actions to Challenge Heterosexism and Homophobia on Campus (pdf)
- Homophobia Assessment (pdf)
- How can I be an ally to the transgender and intersex communities? (pdf)
- Levels of Homophobia (pdf)
- Guide to Being a Straight Ally (pdf)
- Religious Organizations and Sexual Orientation (pdf)
- Strategies for Being an Effective Ally (pdf)
- Understanding Homophobia (pdf)
Coming Out Resources: There is no right or wrong way to come out. The following resources are made available to help you with the process.
- Guide to Coming Out (pdf)
- Living Openly in Your Place of Worship (pdf)
- Coming Out for African Americans (pdf)
- A Straight Guide to LGBT Americans (pdf)
- Oklahomans for Equality
- PFLAG Tulsa
- Planned Parenthood Tulsa LGBT Services
- Grand Lake Mental Health Center
- The Trevor Helpline | 1-866-4-TREVOR
- Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network
- Advocates for Youth
- Gay, Lesbian Alliance against Defamation
- National Center for Lesbian Rights
- Service Members Legal Defense Network
- Human Rights Campaign
Ally - Anyone straight or LGBT who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBTQ people.
Asexual - A person who is not sexually attracted to anyone or does not have a sexual orientation. Can experience libido or not, and may be aromantic or not.
Biological Sex - Our packaging, determined by our chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external genitalia.
Bisexual - A term given to people who are attracted sexually and emotionally to some males and females.
Cisgender - Describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them at birth based on their physical sex.
Coming Out - To disclose one's identity as a LGBTA person to others.
Dyke - Derogatory term referring to a masculine lesbian. Sometimes adopted affirmatively by lesbians (not necessarily masculine ones) to refer to themselves.
Gay - A term given to males who are attracted sexually and emotionally to some other males.
Gender Binary - The idea that there are only two genders – male/female or man/woman and that a person must be strictly gendered either/or.
Gender Expression - The ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, etc.
Gender Identity - Our innermost feeling of ourselves as "male", "female" or somewhere in between.
Gender Role - Society's expectations about our behavior and appearance based on our sex.
Genderqueer - A gender variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. Often includes a political agenda to challenge stereotypes and the gender binary system.
Heterosexism - A bias against homosexuality rooted in belief that heterosexuality is superior or the norm.
In the Closet - Refers to a homosexual, bisexual, transperson or intersex person who will not or cannot disclose their sex, sexuality, sexual orientation or gender identity to their friends, family, co-workers, or society. Also known as 'down low' or 'DL'.
Intersex Person - Someone whose sex a doctor has difficult time categorizing as either male or female. A person whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and/or genitals differs from one of the two expected patterns.
Lesbian - A term given to females who are attracted sexually and emotionally to some other females.
Outing - Involuntary disclosure of one's own sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.
Pansexual - A person who is sexually attracted to all or many gender expressions.
Privilege - A right or resource that one group has access to and from which other groups are denied.
Queer - A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. People who are in the process of figuring out their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Same-gender Loving - A term from the African American community used by people of color who may see gay and lesbian as terms of the white LGBTQ community.
Sexual Identity - This is what we call ourselves in terms of our sexuality (gay, straight, lesbian, bi, etc.)
Sexual Orientation - This is determined by the sex of the person one is attracted to and encompasses our sexual drives, desires, and fantasies.
Transgender - A broad term for all people who do not match society's expectations regarding gender, including transsexuals and cross dressers.
Transphobia - The irrational fear of those who are gender variant and/or the inability to deal with gender ambiguity.
Transsexual - People whose sense of themselves as male or female is different from their biological sex. Sometimes they hormonally and/or surgically change their bodies to more fully match their gender identity.
Two-spirit - Native American term for a person born with one biological sex and fulfilling at least some of the gender roles assigned to both sexes; considered to be part male and part female or wholly male and wholly female; often revered as a natural peace maker, healer and shaman.
Local organizations of faith that welcome those within the LGBT community.
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
200 East 5th Street
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017
All Souls Unitarian Church
Boston Avenue United Methodist Church
B'nai Emunah Congregation
Church of The Restoration Unitarian Universalist
College Hill Presbyterian
Diversity Christian Fellowship International
Center of Light
Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Parish Church of Saint Jerome
St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Church
Unity Center of Tulsa
University United Methodist Church