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The Daily Tar Heel

LGBT Rally Organizers React to Ad

In response to Monday's announcement, LGBT groups are planning a gay pride march for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

After several Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender groups on campus determined that an announcement submitted via the DTH's Web site likely was a prank, the groups decided to hold a march matching the announcement, which described a "gay pride march on UNC."

The announcement stated that the march would take place at 7 p.m. and would start in front of Hinton James Residence Hall. A phone number was listed with the submission, telling students with questions to call Jim.

But Jim Carlton, the student referred to in the announcement, has no affiliation with any LGBT group on campus. Carlton denies any knowledge of the march and says he does not know who placed the ad or why they used his name.

"I have no clue," he said. "I'd like to know who did it."

Carlton said he is not upset his name was used, but LGBT leaders say they are concerned by the bogus announcement and its potential implications.

Fred Hashagen, UNC LGBT administrative assistant, said he views the incident as a prank that was intended to imply that Carlton was gay, which he said is harmful because it implies that being gay is a negative quality.

"From our perspective, at the very worst, this is aimed specifically at every LGBT person on campus," he said. "At the very best, it is aimed at a specific person, but the method of insult -- calling him gay -- is completely unacceptable."

Glenn Grossman, the president of the Carolina Alternative Meeting of Professional and Graduate Students, said he is concerned that an announcement like this might have been intended to set up LGBT students for a negative purpose. "It's probably just a prank, but we have a history of harassment of gays on this campus," Grossman said. "When you see something like that, you have to wonder if gay people are being set up for harassment."

Jamie Sohn, co-chairwoman of Queer Network for Change, said she also is concerned about the safety of LGBT students but that she thinks it is important to have a march anyway.

Sohn said the march is starting at South Building instead of Hinton James -- the only deviation from the announcement -- because it is a more safe and public area and because it is a recognizable administrative building.

Sohn also said she is contacting University police. "7 p.m. -- it's just when it's starting to get dark, and that worries me," Sohn said. "But we are hoping to show people the campus is unified and homophobia is not OK."

Hashagen said he wants to see members of non-LGBT campus groups to turn out for the march to show their support.

"We're hoping to see a bunch of progressive students coming together saying this is unacceptable," he said.

"Using terms that describe groups as insults is inappropriate."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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