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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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The BG News
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September 21, 2023

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Service provides safe transportation to students leaving bars

Going to the bars in downtown Bowling Green can be a relatively fun and safe experience for most students, but for some it may be a source of anxiety and worry.

For members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, a trip to a bar may be accompanied by the fear of being physically or verbally harassed.

The University’s LGBT Resource Center sponsors a program, called “Big Gay Ride,” to combat this threat. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are “Gay Nights” at Uptown Bar, the program offers rides to members of the LGBT community so they may arrive and return home safely.

Luke Grabski, president of VISION, an LGBT club on campus, said in an email that the “Big Gay Ride” program began a few years ago after a man was “terribly harassed” while walking home from “Gay Night” at Uptown.

Grabski believes this program is a way to actively work against this violent discrimination “instead of just dealing with the fact that harassment exists.”

Although the program is sponsored by the Resource Center, it is completely student-run and volunteer-based. The student drivers use their own vehicles.

Tobias Spears, assistant director for LGBT programs at the University, said that “peace of mind is important” and just as the Resource Center provides a safe space for LGBT members at the University, the “Big Gay Ride” program works to extend that safety off campus. Spears said the program “represents the altruism within LGBT.”

Dakota Patton, a volunteer driver, said he first heard about the program after attending a Vision meeting last semester.

He was “looking for more ways to get involved” and thought this was a great way to do so.

This semester, Patton drives on Fridays while Grabski drives on Tuesdays. On average, Patton said he gives rides to eight to 10 people per night, between two trips.

Patton said these trips may even include stops at Taco Bell if anyone is hungry and he will accompany them inside if they so wish.

When asked if this program is an important one to keep active in BG, Patton said it is and that the need for the program “shouldn’t have to be proved by an incident.”

The “Big Gay Ride” program is looking for more volunteers to drive. He said volunteers are under no long-term commitment and may choose to drive as many or as few times as they like.

There are VISION meetings each Tuesday at 9 p.m. and those who wish to volunteer may attend those meetings or come afterwards, around 10 p.m., to sign up.

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