Mickey Hart

Photo courtesy of: LGBT Center

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Former Lancaster student returns to campus for LGBT workshop

Former Hocking County resident wants to make regional campuses SafeZones

Mickey Hart, director of Ohio University's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center wants make sure people in the LGBT community feel just as safe on Ohio University’s regional campuses as they do in Athens. It’s personal for Hart because he started his Ohio University career on the Lancaster campus more than 20 years ago.

About 20 people participated in a LGBT SafeZone training workshop, conducted by Hart, held on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus Friday morning. Participants learned about the LGBT community, but the workshop also encouraged those in attendance to examine who they are.

The workshop was put on by the LGBT Center based at Ohio University in Athens. The mission of the center is to create a campus environment that is inclusive and supportive of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Hart conducted the two-hour workshop in Brasee Hall. The workshops are only held occasionally on regional campuses, but held several times each academic quarter in Athens.

Hart told the group that he is a gay man who grew up in nearby Laurelville in Hocking County. Hart said it is important to him that Lancaster and other regional campuses are considered safe areas for those in the LGBT community.

“Let LGBT people know there are safe people here on the Lancaster campus to talk to and to connect with,” said Hart.

Hart said that sexual orientation and gender identity issues are not unique to the LGBT community. He told workshop participants that all people have to think about those issues.

“Everyone in this room has a sexual orientation and everyone in this room has a gender identity,” said Hart. “We all have this identity and we need to figure out what it means to you to have this identity.”

The goal of the workshop was to teach participants how they could become an ally or advocate for those in the LGBT community.

“The more you are in touch with yourself, the more you will be helpful and can be an ally to others,” said Hart

Participants could leave the workshop with signs, magnets and buttons to hang around campus. Hart said when members of the LGBT community see the signs of support, it will help them to be more comfortable and feel supported while getting their education.