Page 114 - Faculty Handbook2

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General Concerns
114
UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTING LESBIAN, GAY,
BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, AND QUESTIONING STUDENTS
Some of the key developmental tasks for college students
include identity formation, establishing mature relationships,
and learning to manage emotions. During this time our
students may be questioning or exploring their sexuality
and/or gender identity for the first time. This can be both an
exhilarating and liberating experience, or a terrifying and
shame-ridden time. They may not have friends with whom
they can openly discuss their sexuality or gender identity.
Additionally, seeking support and validation from families
may be more difficult. In fact, lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students’ minority
status may be completely invisible to those around them.
These students can feel quite isolated and often are not sure
where to find support. There are many ways to reassure a
student that you are open to learning about them and who
they are. Even a simple Safe Space or rainbow sticker
displayed on an office window or bulletin board can help a
student feel more welcomed and comfortable.
Most professionals are now quite familiar with lesbian, gay,
and bisexual issues, but far fewer are well-educated about
transgender issues. Transgender is an umbrella term that
refers to anyone who doesn’t fit the typical, traditional,
binary gender categories or roles. This includes transsexuals,
cross-dressers (in the past known as transvestites),
genderqueer persons (those who identify with both female
and male or neither gender) and others. Gender identity