Opinion: PFLAG panel invalidated by extra credit

As college students who pay for our education, we deem it important to do our best on every assignment and try to squeeze in every extra point we can. More often than not, students jump at any extra credit opportunity that comes along, though it can be misleading at times. Students end up in important and worth-while panels, meetings, gatherings, etc. for all the wrong reasons.

On April 14, PFLAG, an organization that promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, held a panel at Saddleback College. PFLAG stands for parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays but extends to all gender identities. The individuals on the panel included transgender individuals, gay individuals and parents.

“This [newer] generation comes with more acceptance and awareness of the different gender identities but it’s still nowhere near being solved or completely accepted,” said speaker Angie Hendrix.

These individuals tour around the states in their respective chapters to speak about their experiences, the impacts of them and how to provide support to others.

The Sociology Department set up the panel and also offered extra credit for the sociology students to attend and write a brief reflection on the panel and afterward discussion.

The turnout for the panel and discussion was very respectable which brought lots of eyes and ears to the event. It is important for an organization like PFLAG to reach the masses and try to make ripples in the community. But lots of those eyes and ears were of students trying to get extra points in before the end of the semester.

The panel was an incentive for students but it should not have been. It did bring a larger audience and perhaps shed light to some of the individuals, but it should not have been the sole purpose. The experiences and issues discussed should not have been sold out for some extra credit points.

It did bring in listeners but the closed minded individuals that should be the ones listening most likely were not.

Hendrix touched on an important matter when she mentioned the newer generation’s awareness, but the effort need to be put in to raise even more awareness to a widespread audience, not just a select crowd of students.

The trade-off of panel and points did bring about more people, but for the wrong reasons. The panel members had shocking and life changing stories to tell and offered the proper perspective to such an event. However, the event was not publicized as it should have been. Even though it was publicized online, information does not travel as well orally through a campus like Saddleback. Had it been publicized properly in a larger time frame, it may have had an even bigger impact on campus.

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