Rylee Seavers | Broadcast Reporter
The Sexual Identity Forum (SIF) was created on 2011 as a place for LGBT students at Baylor to find community and meet like-minded individuals.
Dallas sophomore and President of SIF, Alexander Patterson said many LGBT students often feel like they are alone, but that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“There are so many other people who have the same thoughts, feeling, religion, belief, whatever as you and it just is a way of helping you find other people, find community, find friends and have that great Baylor experience that we want every student to have,” Patterson said.
SIF has largely been under the radar since it was created, but this spring was a turning point for the group because they decided it was time to be more visible. A key factor in this was the release of the 2017 climate survey findings, which revealed that eight percent of Baylor students identify as other than heterosexual.
“We are just a minority group on campus to give a voice, community and place of belonging for the eight percent of the Baylor student body who identify as being queer, transgender, no binary or really anything in the wide spectrum of LGBT,” Patterson said.
SIF has increased their awareness around campus through participating in forums, lecture series and chalking around campus.
“Last year, it was still pretty underground,” said Eli Williamson, Dallas sophomore and SIF internal co-chair. “People were still scared to talk about it, but especially this semester is when people are actually saying, ‘Hey, this is a thing. I’m in this.’ You see more stickers, more pins on people’s backpacks, and so you’re able to say, ‘Hey, come to SIF, this is a thing that is at Baylor.'”
Patterson said his experience at Baylor has been positive and characterized by a loving community.
“I think it’s those small moments that I remember the most about Baylor,” he said. “It’s not those kind of random, bad moments. It’s the overwhelming sense of Christian community, that says love your neighbor as yourself, that does go out of its way to be open, inclusive and kind to everyone, regardless of belief, gender, creed, whatever.”
Patterson said he believes discussion about important issues is key to growth and that SIF wants to encourage those discussions.
“If we don’t talk about things, such as human sexuality or other religious beliefs, we can’t grow and thrive during our time here at university,” he said.