AMSA's Local Chapter Project Directory

PROJECT DESCRIPTION/CONTACT INFORMATION
Project title Gay? Fine by me.
Project type(s) School Service
Date completed 10/2006
Chapter Western University of Health Sciences COM of the Pacific
Project Coordinator Kristen Sharpe
Summary of project Gay? Fine by Western University: Students Organize T-shirt Campaign and Presentation

Western University of Health Sciences students are organizing a presentation and T-shirt giveaway in celebration of National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2006. National Coming Out Day commemorates October 11, 1987, when half a million people marched on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

Students organizing the event hope to move LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) health care into the mainstream by encouraging their fellow students to ‘Come Out as Allies.’ An ally is someone who may not identify as LGBT, but openly supports their LGBT peers and colleagues, and openly denounces discrimination against LGBT individuals. Allies are especially important in the health care professions, because all health care professionals will encounter LGBT patients sometime during their practice. Western University students will hold a presentation for their fellow students on the many ways they as health care providers can help to decrease health disparities between straight and LGBT patients.

On October 10, student organizers will distribute 500 T-shirts that read “gay? fine by me.” to their classmates to wear on October 11. The purpose of the Gay? Fine By Me™ T-Shirt Project is to give students and staff a simple and effective way to condemn homophobia publicly. It is a way to give voice to the many students who oppose homophobia and support equal rights for all Americans, but whose beliefs are too often drowned out in the noise surrounding the issue. At least 10,000 nationwide are expected to participate in the T-Shirt Project this fall.

The Gay? Fine By Me T-Shirt Project began at Duke University in Spring 2003. A few years earlier, the Princeton Review had named Duke the most gay-unfriendly school in America ("Alternative Lifestyles are Not an Alternative"). Over dinner one night, ten friends, both gay and straight, wondered if most people at Duke were really homophobic, or if that was just the perception. To find out, they printed T-shirts that read “gay? fine by me.” to see how many of their peers would wear them. After 10 days, the students had distributed almost 2,000 shirts, and the next year Duke didn’t appear anywhere on the Princeton Review’s list.

Since then, the T-Shirt Project has spread to over 200 other schools, churches and communities, and organizers have distributed over 50,000 shirts in almost all 50 states. Fine By Me Inc. is a non-profit, dedicated to giving voice to the friends and supporters of LGBT Americans.

Western University of Health Sciences started out in 1977 with its founding school, the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, which grants D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees. Osteopathic physicians, like M.D. physicians, provide primary care, perform surgeries, prescribe medications and enter into all specialties and subspecialties of medicine – as well as providing osteopathic manipulative medicine, which is especially effective at treating musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain. D.O.s make up about 5% of all US physicians, and there are 23 osteopathic medical schools in the U.S. (see www.osteopathic.org for more information). Western University offers doctor of veterinary medicine, doctor of pharmacy, and doctor of physical therapy degrees, and has physician assistant, master of science in nursing, and nurse practitioner programs.

For more information on the Gay? Fine By Me T-Shirt Project at Western University contact Kristen Sharpe at ksharpe@westernu.edu. For information on the national Gay? Fine By Me movement, contact Lucas Schaefer (lucas@finebyme.org) or visit www.finebyme.org.

Content area N/A
Number of participants 500+
Participant hours involved 45 hour(s)
PROJECT PLANNING
Coordinator roles
Coordinator hours hour(s)
FUNDING & ADVERTISING
Total project cost $2500
Project funding Local chapter funds,Medical school funds,Donation
Funding breakdown of sources and/or donations:
Project advertising E-mail, posters, class announcements, and word-of-mouth.
PROJECT EVALUATION
Success rating
(1 = unsuccesful, 5 = very successful)
5
Lessons/suggestions Many of the faculty felt that 500 T-shirts was a zealous goal. The T-shirts flew off the tables like warm cookies out of the oven and in hindsight, we should have purchased more. Several students still wear their T-shirts...a very rewarding "fruit of ou

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
Comments A very successful method to combat homophobia and promote tolerance within your university and the healthcare world.