LGBTQ support meeting for ACU student and faculty allies being held Saturday

This fall, Abilene Christian University will be implementing a new policy from their handbook that forbids student employees from being involved in a same-sex relationship.

On Saturday, a meeting called Abilene Allies will be held to help ACU student and faculty allies connect with each other and come up with strategies on how to provide support to LGBTQ students and staff members at ACU.

KTXS News spoke with ACU alumnus and proud LGBTQ community member Tyler Sparks, who believes that it is his responsibility to help current students and faculty of his alma mater who are affected by ACU's new handbook policy and Sparks says that he is not surprised that the policy is being put into place.

"Initially, it was kind of like a gut punch of anger mixed with sadness with severe disappointment, but honestly, it didn't come as a surprise, I kind of half-expected something like this to happen," said Sparks.

Sparks will be attending the meeting, which the main goals of will be to discover ways to be a voice for the LGBTQ community on campus and to provide a safe place where those affected by the new handbook policy can get support.

"At this meeting, we are partly looking at just connecting people and letting them know, 'Hey, you aren't alone.' There are so many people in Abilene who are here to support (the LGBTQ community), to do whatever we can to ease the tension," Sparks said.

In the past, Sparks says that ACU has never recognized the LGBTQ community and was hoping for a different type of recognition from the university other than discriminatory school policies.

"It's kind of bittersweet, sweet because these things are being talked about openly and honestly, but there's still that bitter taste of things aren't great," said Sparks.

Sparks hopes that the meeting will turn into something bigger, like a change in ACU's policy, but for now, it's just about helping out ACU's LGBTQ community as much as possible.

The meeting is being held at the Courtyard by Marriott Abilene Northeast, which is located at 2141 Scottish Road in Impact.

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