IU students and faculty gathered on Feb. 2 at Showalter Fountain for the No Hate in Bloomington IU Peaceful Protest. The march around campus aimed to spread awareness of homophobia and transphobia at IU. This was followed by a meeting at the Whittenberger Auditorium.
IU student Declan Farley organized the march after he posted a TikTok about being harassed because of his gender. The TikTok went viral and caught the IU administration’s attention despite previous reports Farley had made to the university that were not taken as seriously as Farley had hoped.
IU student Audrey Smith, who attended the rally, commented on the harassment members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced at IU.
“I heard about the TikTok where there was a student being harassed in a dorm for being trans and I know there have been other issues here where students don’t feel welcome because of their LGBTQ+ identification,” Smith said. “So, I’m here because they need our support.”
The march began at Showalter Fountain at 5:30 p.m. and ended at the Indiana Memorial Union at 6:15p.m. The meeting in Whittenberger Auditorium ran from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Participants in the march chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, IU’s hate has got to go” and “Stop the violence stop the hate” as a way to demand change for Bloomington’s LGBTQ+ community.
IU student Conner Wright, who attended the rally, commented on how important the protest is in raising awareness of the harassment LGBTQ+ members face.
“What happened to that person is a shame. I have friends in the LGBTQ+ community and I want to support them. Protests have their limitations, but they are a good way to draw attention to the issue because everyone walking and driving by sees and hears us and I hope that gets them thinking,” Wright said.
After the protest, participants were invited to Whittenberger Auditorium where students, faculty and community members voiced concerns and demands regarding how members of the LGBTQ+ community are treated at IU and in Bloomington.
In addition to the meeting attendees, a designated speaker shared anonymous speeches submitted online through a link created by Declan Farley. This allowed students, faculty and community members who did not feel comfortable speaking in a public forum to have their concerns and demands voiced.
“We don’t want that hatred in Bloomington, so we’re doing anything we can to support and say we’re here and not going away,” IU graduate instructor and rally attendee Joel Wiegnard said. “There’s only so much that can be done without administrators and other people standing up and acknowledging that trans people exist and that they have to respect us and our rights.”