LGBTQ+ community shares glimpse of challenges the community faces daily.
Many in the LGBTQ+ community provide a welcoming support network and safe space for individuals who need advice or just need support through tough situations.
Unfortunately, the community is tossed around while juggling laws, media portrayal and bigotry. While its members continue to fight for equal treatment and opportunities, the obstacles they face often make it difficult to reach that goal.
“Homophobia and transphobia are unfortunate realities of our lives as LGBTQ+ people. From the public and from our own families, we face additional obstacles when simply trying to live our lives,” said a communications student. “Discrimination is never justified, and it hurts to see it present on our campus, even if it is from just a few non-students.”
Homophobia and transphobia are not the only fears the community faces, as there are many ideologies that cause hatred towards the community. They also receive constant judgment and looks, just for expressing who they are.
“Any hatred directed at LGBTQ+ people is caused by ignorance and bigotry. LGBTQ+ have a right to live their lives without fear of judgement or oppression,” said another communications student.
CSU was the site of recent protests targeting the LGBTQ+ community on campus. The protesters did not appear to be students, but that did not make the situation any less hurtful.
“Some people, like the recent protesters on campus, use religion as a weapon to divide people. It was nice to see near universal support of the LGBTQ+ community from the students in the courtyard that day, and also to see affirming faith communities near campus, like Trinity Cathedral,” said a mechanical engineering student.
While the community continues to face challenges that await on every corner, CSU recently implemented a new policy that impacts the community.
“The city of Cleveland as well as Cleveland State University support transgender people in choosing whichever bathroom most closely aligns with their gender identity. This is an important policy that treats transgender people with the respect they deserve,” said Connor Mahon, office operations manager at Cleveland State University LGBTQ+ student services.
This new policy is not only a step forward for the community, but it is also a step that is supported by the university.
“Cleveland State also recently opened their first multi-stall inclusive restroom on the fourth floor of Berkman Hall, which can be used by anyone of any gender identity," Mahon added. "This provides another inclusive choice for the CSU community.”
“The Safe Space program is a training provided by LGBTQ+ student services to the campus community. The training aims to give people a basic understanding of correct terminology and an understanding of what it means to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, two essential requirements to supporting all people at this university,” said Mahon. “It discusses the ways that faculty, staff and students can actively contribute to creating and maintaining a safe and inclusive campus environment for all.”
Students, faculty and staff are welcome to join the community. If interested, email email@example.com to schedule a time for training in groups.
Along with the Safe Space, there is a campaign called Vikes with Pride, which features photos of members associated with the community.
“The Vikes with Pride campaign is a poster featuring the photos of students, staff and faculty who are members or allies of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Mahon. “Our goal is to show members of the LGBTQ+ community at Cleveland State that they are not alone. The poster lets students put faces and names to the network of support they have access to here."
Mahon mentioned that this will be an annual project to update the poster each year.
Students that are interested and wish to be featured in the next poster to show off their pride and support can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There is a community here and ready to welcome you, and you don’t have to go through this alone. Find your people, there’s strength in numbers,” said a communications student.
The LGBTQ+ community welcomes anyone to show their support and raise awareness for the community.