Monthly Archive: March 2022
As a young adult newly entering the adult world, it is easy to be confused by the terminology we use to describe changes in college for gay and lesbian students. We have come a long way in our terminology and there is no clear cut definition for the words “gay” or “lesbian.” Some would say that these terms are self-defined terms used by members of the gay community to separate themselves from heterosexuals. The reality is that these terms were created by colleges and universities to help them better understand the students they are admitting into their schools. College admissions is a very competitive process and the colleges and universities have to be very careful about giving admission criteria that will allow any student to attend.
College adjustments for gay and lesbian students do happen, but you won’t find them listed in the guidelines for college acceptance. Most of the time, these adjustments are put in place after the college has given its acceptance to the students. Once the college has all of the information about the new inclusion policy, the students are notified about the adjustments to college policy. The adjustments can be anything from an updated sexual orientation policy to modifications in school policies for helping gay and lesbian students feel comfortable about their sexuality.
Many of the recent changes in college policy for lesbians and gays came from a need to create guidelines that would keep anyone who was questioning their sexual orientation from being harassed by other students on campus. This was done in response to the tragic Pulse shooting in Orlando. The Pulse incident left two people dead and a lot of grief and confusion in the lives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community. A group of students wanted to develop a set of guidelines and rules that could help ease some of the strain caused by this tragic event.
The first guideline was that if someone in your community is questioning their sexual orientation, you should not be personally affected by the way they are feeling. The second guideline is that no matter how much the student is hurting because of the conflict, they should not blame themselves for being a gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The third guideline is that if the student experiences a significant change in behavior, they should talk with a college advisor about it. They should not suffer in silence because of the tension that other students have about their sexual orientation.
As the need for Guidelines grew, there were concerns that the College would lose its sense of individuality and would become a cookie cutter type of institution. This does not have to be the case. The College can be whatever that makes you and other students feel comfortable. People need to understand that differences do not need to be a problem when it comes to sexual orientation.
Gay and lesbian students may not feel comfortable in a College that does not accept them completely. There are ways that you can be accepted and still pursue your goals. There are institutions out there that are willing to make accommodations for you. You do not need to be upset about someone making a negative comment to discourage you from going into the College that you want to attend. Take the time to seek out information about what is going on at the College and if you have any questions or concerns, talk to the College’s department of equity and equal opportunity.
Some lesbian students may experience an added level of stress because they are nervous about the reaction that other College students will have to their lifestyle choices. Know that this can be reduced by knowing your support network. There are support groups on campus for gay and lesbian students. You may want to join one of these groups so that you have a sounding board for your situation. Know that you are not the only gay student in your college or university. Many students are like you.
There will come days when you will feel as though you cannot breathe. Adjustments in college for gay and lesbian students do not have to take forever. If you are willing to face the struggles and learn from the counselors and administrators on your campus, you will find that you can thrive as a student and a person on this campus. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is that you should never give up.