The Healthy Relationship & Interpersonal Violence Education program held a meeting Oct. 22 in the Phi Kappa Phi room to speak about the violence LGBTQ+ people face and some of the available resources that the Kansas City Anti-Violence Program offers. James Morgan, women studies graduate and speaker for the KCAVP, visited Emporia State speak to a group of students Monday night about the program.

“We provide dedicated services to LGBTQ youth and adults throughout Missouri and Kansas who have experienced trauma, violence, harassment or neglect,” said Morgan. “That’s a really big mission but someone’s got to do it. We are the only LGBTQ specific anti-violence organization in a four-state region.”

In the wake of campus-wide concern regarding sexual assault, the meeting served as a space for students to talk freely about themselves, their concerns and ask any questions they had regarding identity and violence.

LGBTQ+ folk face violence in many ways, from being forced to hide their identity to violence in interpersonal relations, according to Morgan.

“Having any experience that falls out of the trope (of man on woman domestic violence) can make one feel isolated,” Morgan said. “This is especially problematic for LGBTQ folk who many of our relationships don’t fit that template to begin with…No one deserves to be abused.”

Morgan said that it can be extremely difficult to survive violence alone.

“We are there like a hand to hold or a brain to think because, especially after we’ve experienced trauma, our brains are not doing normal things,” Morgan said. “It helps to have someone by your side to listen and record and take care of the nitty gritty while you are surviving…Our advocates are prepared to help folks right in the moment… and case management is more of the long-term stuff.”

From providing free therapy sessions and clothing to finding a room for the night, the program works to help survivors with assistance from fellow organizations such as Kansas City Passages and Harvesters.

Morgan pointed to the “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students,” published in 2016 jointly by the U.S Department of Justice and U.S Department of Education, as legal ground for current protections of trans students.

“The departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations,” according to the letter. “This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”

The letter, while not law itself, is a guideline for schools who receive federal funding to follow.

Hillary Wallace, graduate assistant for THRIVE and clinical counseling and art therapy graduate student, thought that the presentation went very well.

“Emporia State is doing an amazing job in their progress with Title IX,” Wallace said. “It’s important that we continue to push for more outreach programs like this one.”

Wallace outlined the need for more focus on international students who may experience language or knowledge barriers to accessing the resources that the campus can provide.

“It is important that we help educate each other and our teachers to create a more inclusive environment,” Wallace said.

The KCAVP can be contacted at 816-561-0550 and is located at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave in Kansas City, KS. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.

THRIVE will hold its next meeting at 5 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Student Wellness Center in Morse Hall.

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