It is crucial in today’s society to provide a safe environment in universities for the LGBTQ+ community. A few LGBTQ+ students have reported many ways you can help provide a safe space in college.
Aridyan Perez, a formal student at Central Connecticut State University, said her college experience was positive, and she met a lot of people who made her feel accepted and loved. Perez also added that while in college she attended LGBTQ+ events and meetings to share her experiences as a member of the community and felt understood in that process.
“I think if a college campus has an LGBTQ+ organization, it should be more promoted and accessible to everyone,” Perez said. “I also think that those organizations should receive a lot of funding to be able to provide resources for those who need them. For people in the community, these organizations can allow them to be themselves as they might not be outside.”
Ian Bergemann, a senior at Southern Connecticut State University, stated that schools can offer programs that could help promote a safer and more friendly environment for the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, Bergemann added that resources like social media safety, mental health, and worldwide school reporting of homophobic behavior can also help build better environments.
“Perhaps my problem with universities is that they have intentions and spread them through ads and social media posts, but they struggle to acknowledge problems on campus such as homophobic behavior,” Bergemann said. “Additionally, I also do not know any LGBTQ+ advisors, staff, professors, and counselors. I would like to see more representation in administration as well.”
Haruna Nail is a certified life coach who promotes inclusivity and helps individuals that identify as women to transform their fears into purpose. Nail said that when faculty are more informed about the needs of LGBTQ+ students, the institution will become more inclusive.
“Mental health affects LGBTQ students in various ways. Most of them may not have grown up in supportive homes and environments, so they might not have a place to open up and feel safe,” Nail said. “Depression and anxiety can add to day-to-day stressors of the general college population. People can familiarize themselves with LGBTQ terminology as they can be allies to speak up if they are around anyone who is mistreating us.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a recent study found that 60% of LGBTQ+ youth reported having decreased interest in some of their usual activities due to sadness or hopelessness. LGBTQ+ students are twice as likely to commit suicide and experience depression.
Holding homophobic behaviour accountable and promoting more diversity in schools can help build a safer community for LGBTQ+ students. Additionally, it would be beneficial to have the education faculty learn more about LGBTQ+ terminology so they can better form an alliance with the community to speak up when they see injustice happening amongst students in colleges.