Did Tarleton prioritize LGBTQ+ awareness over Breast Cancer awareness?

By: Kyley Wilhite

Multimedia Journalist

Correction: In the printed version of newspaper VOL. 11. NO. 3 in the article titled, “Did Tarleton prioritize LGBTQ+ awareness over Breast Cancer awareness” under the picture of four students standing in front of the LGBTQ+ flags the caption said the students were organizers of the event, however, this was mislabeled and they were actually volunteers.

Correction: Instead of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion the appropriate name is the Joe R. and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs.

There has been lots of speculation concerning the rainbow ribbons that have been hung around the trees on the Tarleton State University campus in Stephenville. This leads to the question, where are the pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness month?

Pride month is in June, so why is Tarleton flying ribbons for LGBTQ+ for the Month of October if there are other things to be celebrated?

According to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, they were the ones who took the time to fly these flags around campus, however, Breast Cancer is something that impacts us all. Students on campus, family members of those students and professors of those students have all been impacted by this disease. So, why is Tarleton not taking the time to acknowledge it?

According to cancer.net which is a blog funded by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, roughly 44,130 deaths happen per year from Breast Cancer with 530 of those being men and 43,600 being women.

They also state, “Breast Cancer is the second-highest cause of death for cancer in women.”

Breast Cancer typically has a five-year survival rate, but in most cases, people lose their battles. Along with chemotherapy, testing and waiting for results this disease can have detrimental effects on a family, which is why it’s so important that we remember these people throughout the month of October.

As for LGBTQ awareness, according to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, “It was National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, and to fully support those students on campus we wanted to make sure they [felt] welcome on that day.”

LGBTQ+ members are upset that they don’t get as much representation; however, as far as I see our university invited a drag show to come on campus, but I’ve yet to see any football players wearing pink socks during games.

The rainbow ribbons were tied around trees by the Barry B. Thompson Student Center.
Photo By: Kyley Wilhite

By putting up these rainbow ribbons on the trees by the Barry B. Thompson Student Center, the center upset many Tarleton students. As a result, many of the LGBT+ ribbons have been torn down.

The main concern isn’t the fact that the ribbons were displayed, it was more so that there wasn’t inclusion. So, how did those responsible make the decision to represent LGBTQ+ but not Breast Cancer Awareness?

Personally, I can understand why the students are upset. Breast Cancer runs in my family, and I am a firm believer that October should be reserved for those current fighters and those who have defeated this illness. I think Tarleton, as a whole, should be doing more to represent this historic month.

By writing this column, I have run into the question, “Is tearing down the ribbons okay?”

 I think that over time the ribbons will be destroyed anyways by weather, squirrels on campus and rioters; however, I don’t believe that we must tear one group down in order to build up another.

Senior Math Education major Briley Cantrell said, “We can use October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month because it does not get the recognition it deserves. Personally, my grandma just won her battle with breast cancer last month, so it upsets me that they aren’t advocating for those hard fights.”

Cantrell also expressed her concerns about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

 “This was supposed to be celebrated during the month of September, but it was yet again, something that the university refused to talk about,” Cantrell said. “Childhood cancer can be very detrimental to most families, and I wish that our university would take things like these into consideration.”

I can understand how we want to make sure everyone is included, but whenever I did my student interviews the underlying theme was if the university chooses to support one cause, they must support the other cause.”

Whenever I talked to freshmen Kinesiology major Abegail Smith, however, she had a different opinion.

Smith believes, “National Coming Out Day is about being strong enough to tell your friends and family who you really are. I don’t particularly believe that it deserves the whole month of October, but it does deserve recognition.”

Smith did say, “Tarleton should put up ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness. [Although,] the tearing down of ribbons just shows that we don’t respect and love others on campus enough to respect their opinion.”

I believe she does make a good argument with this statement.

In an online student poll, when asked the question about breast cancer ribbons, students said, “It just doesn’t seem like the university is prioritizing correctly.”

As far as Breast Cancer Awareness goes, Tarleton did join the #LightUpMBC global campaign by illuminating the smokestack and campus buildings teal, green and pink, but how much did this actually do for students?

 When I asked around my residence hall, most of them didn’t know this event was happening due to no signs advertising for it. This again raises the question, where is the intentionality?

On Thursday, Oct. 14, Tarleton had a volleyball game dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness called, “Spike-out breast cancer.”  It was a beautiful attribute to their coach who is currently fighting stage four Colon Cancer.

I believe there is always room for improvement, no matter what topic you’re referring to. If I were to guide Tarleton, I would say that next year they should do more events to emphasize the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This can be done by putting up signs and sending announcements to our Tarleton emails.

We could also try and reach out to many of our helpful groups on campus like sororities, spirit organizations and The Center for Diversity and Inclusion to take up the cause of raising awareness.

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