“Queering the Union: Working with All Students,” a web-based seminar addressing the needs of LGBTQ college students, was broadcast in Elmhurst’s own Frick center Wed, Nov. 9.
“Ask yourself how effective your institution is in reaching this student population,” said David Ta, a University of Missouri graduate student who moderated the seminar with fellow student Jonathan Pryor.
The first suggestion was the use of gay symbols to support LGBTQ students. “The first thing a lot of [gays and lesbians] notice is a rainbow [decorating an object]. It’s a sign that someone is supporting us,” said a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga discussion participant.
Accommodating preferred names on IDs and applications is another way of welcome that was discussed.
“By allowing students to use a preferred name, [colleges would avoid] an LGBTQ students’ discomfort when the name doesn’t match the identity,” Dirk Rodricks, an ACUI representative from the University of Vermont, said.
Another issue was the lack of gender neutral bathrooms, which can pose a challenge for transgendered students.
Rodricks also raised the possibility of multi-identity students.
“Don’t forget students of color: his/her [LGBTQ status] may be their most valiant identity … We need to look and see that we have diversity within the LGBT community.”
Lastly, it was advised that actions be taken against bullying.
“I stopped coming to class [after I was bullied],” said Pryor, who identified himself as gay. “A safe environment is important.”