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Bruins organize rally in response to hate crime

Editor’s Note

We have decided to run in this story the exact wording of the homophobic slur that was reportedly used in this incident. Given the graphic nature of the slur, a group of editors had to decide whether or not it was appropriate for the student newspaper to repeat the slur and potentially perpetuate its use. The editorial decision was made to write the slur as it occurred in order to report accurately and thoroughly on the incident.

By Erin Donnelly

Feb. 5, 2013 12:41 a.m.

The wrong photo was originally attached to this article.

About 40 students rallied in Bruin Plaza on Monday to encourage student activism in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in response to a hate crime last month.

The rally, hosted by UCLA’s Queer Alliance, was put on in response to a hate crime that targeted a UCLA student and member of the Queer Alliance last month. Early in the morning on Jan. 18, the student was walking south on Gayley Avenue when two men pulled up in a car and then reportedly held knife to the student’s throat and said, “Die, faggot, die.”

The student said he did not know the men who attacked him, but said that he thought they might have been able to guess his sexual orientation based on how he looked and acted that night.

The organizers of Monday’s rally said they want students to stay aware of what is happening in their community and to stand up against attacks on their community.

“The atmosphere at UCLA is getting better, but it does need improvement. It can only get better by students voicing their opinion,” said Gary Petrosyan, a fifth-year history and political science student who said he knows the student who was attacked and helped organize the event.

Several students participated in what the organizers called “gender bending” where they wore clothes that are commonly associated with a gender different to the one they identify with, said Jasmin Williams, a third-year film and television student and a co-chair for the Queer Alliance, who was wearing a man’s blazer instead of the more feminine clothing she normally wears.

The change in clothing was to emphasize that people should not be judged by how they decide to dress, she said.

Some students said they thought people treated them differently based on how they dressed for the rally.

“I’ve gotten a few bad looks, but for the most part, people have been pretty accepting,” said Josh Chang, a first-year undeclared student, who donned eye shadow, hair extensions, blue studded high heels and a sheer blouse.

Students also pinned patches of cloth to their clothing with various inspirational messages, Williams said. She was wearing a patch that read “regardless of what my clothes say to you, I should be respected.”

Representatives from the UCLA LGBT Resource Center spoke at the rally about upcoming events in the center and emphasized how students should not tolerate such violent acts in their community.

“We need your help, we need you to support us,” said Eric Adams, a third-year Afro-American studies student and chair of the Queer Alliance, to the crowd. “You need to educate yourself for your peers to stay safe.”

Juan Espinoza, a second-year political science student who was wearing a patch that read “Gay and Proud”, also spoke during the rally about a new LGBT-themed floor and gender neutral housing that will be available on the Hill next year. He said that the housing changes are an example of the steps UCLA is taking toward becoming a more inclusive campus.

Contributing reports from Sam Focht, Bruin contributor.

Email Erin at [email protected]

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