NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Following recent targeted attacks by some Illinois State students toward the LGBTQ community, a group of gay students, staff and allies took action.
Friday afternoon a group of at least 50 members from the Illinois State University campus marched from Hancock Stadium to the administration offices at Hovey Hall.
This comes nearly three weeks after off-campus student living communities were vandalized with anti-LGBT hate speech by members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Actions the ISU Interfraternity Council condemned on social media.
ISU Junior Jakai Martin, a gender non-conforming student, organized the demonstration after he was a victim of targeted violence at the hands of another student during homecoming.
Following the attack, Martin spoke in front of the student government association and started a petition on Change.org to the ISU administration.
“A lot of events that have been happening are hateful and are directed at us and we’re feeling the pain. I really want the administration to acknowledge our pain and see that we’re here along with our allies as well,” Martin said Friday.
As of this writing, the petition has over 2,500 signatures. Some of the demands within the petition and what protesters were demanding Friday afternoon are expanded counseling services along with a telehealth resource and a designated safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus.
Martin said such space would establish a queer presence at ISU.
“As well as provide the queer students with resources they are desperately needing; the ability to connect with queer faculty members as well as other queer related resources, I think that would be amazing,” Martin said.
Illinois State University president, Terri Goss Kinzy released a video statement to the university community condemning any hateful actions saying they are the “antithesis” of Illinois State’s core values.