LGBTQ Voices

By Rachael Walloga
Elm Staff Writer

The world can be a dangerous place for LGBTQ youth. The most important thing LGBTQ youth needs to know is that they are not alone.
Students looking for a safe space can find one behind the door with the rainbow sticker. Faculty members displaying this symbol are participants in the Safe Space program which “provides educational training designed to support and create a network of allies.”
For those seeking others like them, think about joining either the Encouraging Respect of Sexuality (EROS) club or Trans and Non-Comforming Gender Organization (TaNGO). Both are filled with like-minded students who may share similar experiences, and are willing to listen and give advice.
College is hard enough without having to worry who might judge you for who you are. This network of open, compassionate individuals is here for support and strength. There is no need to feel isolated anymore.
The world can be a dangerous place, but it is changing. The success of legalization of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 has become a sort of tipping point in American culture.
Since then, change has been spreading to all levels of governmental institutions. On Sept. 30, Vitit Muntarbhorn was appointed as “first U.N. independent expert charged with investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Muntarbhorn’s appointment is a milestone because it is a global recognition of the violence faced by LGBTQ people. It is being acknowledged on the international stage for the first time.
Athletes are fighting back against discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Specifically, they are fighting discrimination targeting transgender people who are being targeted by the HB2 law.
The HB2 law “excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide anti-discrimination protections.” The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, responded by moving multiple events from North Carolina in October.
After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fl., the deadliest shooting in the history of the United States, it seemed as though the world had regressed by decades. Many friends declined to attend Pride because they feared for their lives.
Despite the attempt to cultivate fear in the community, Pride was an even greater celebration in memory of those who have been lost in the fight for equality and for acceptance. Moreover, it has called greater attention to the discrimination that LGBTQ people face every day that is often swept under the rug.
What is most important is that these acts of violence will not and cannot stop the change in time. The LGBTQ community is stronger than ever, and particularly on the Washington College campus.

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