Evan Marczynski/The AS Review

The AS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance staff (from left): Programs Coordinator Ben Crowther, Coordinator Josh Foley, Assistant Coordinator Jordan Deal. Photo by Daniel Berman/The AS Review

The AS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance will hold a free ice cream social at 6 p.m. on Sept. 30, in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. With this big, fall event just around the corner, The AS Review interviewed LGBTA Coordinator Josh Foley to ask what events the office has planned this year and how students can get involved.

The AS Review: What are the best ways students can become allies?

Josh Foley: The best way to become an ally is to educate yourself.  An ally to any identity can never know too much about the many facets of identity.

Review: What does the LGBTA believe are the most effective ways to foster diversity and acceptance on campus?

Foley: The LGBT Alliance office works to educate students and offer peer counseling for those who need it.  We also have a program called “Guess the Straight Person Panel” that goes into the residence halls in order to educate about stereotypes.  The office focuses on education and outreach in order to foster a diverse and accepting campus.

Review: Do you think Western’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community is well represented in the Associated Students? What about around campus in general?
What about the Bellingham community?

Foley: The LGBTQ is very well represented in the AS.  The Associated Students includes the entire Western community and is represented through the employees.  We have many different identities represented by our employees as well as many allies.  It is visible through the many welcoming programs that the Associated Students wants everyone to celebrate their identities.  The campus itself is also very diverse.  The fact that we have four LGBTQ clubs shows how diverse our campus is.  I am not very sure how well represented the LGBTQ community is in the Bellingham community.  I know Bellingham has the second biggest pride celebration in Washington, and there is an amazing queer group at Whatcom Community College, but other than that I am not very knowledgeable.

Review: Are there any changes you would like to see at Western in regards to LGBTQ issues?

Foley: There is always room for improvement.  As an office, we would love to see an even more welcoming campus as well as more programs for educating students living on campus.  Personally, I would love to see more education for the professors about queer issues and identity.  Overall, our campus is extremely forward-thinking.

Review: What other events have you planned for later in the year?

: We have many events already planned.  We have our big kickoff, the ice cream social on Sept. 30, Coming Out Stories on Oct. 12 and of course the Rocky Horror Picture show on Oct. 30. We always have our Weekly Night Series, which is on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in VU 462.  Also, we are very excited for our 19th Annual Benefit Drag Show on March 4.