Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators

Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators

Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators

Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students: A Handbook for Faculty and Administrators

Synopsis

This handbook is intended for faculty and administrators who wish to create a welcoming and safe environment for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students on our campuses. It will help readers, even those who may struggle personally with understanding non-heterosexual identities, gain a clearer understanding of the important issues facing these students. While some students arrive on campus with full clarity about their sexual identities, others may just be discovering their orientations while in our institutions. It is difficult to provide the attention LGBT students need if we do not understand the crises affecting them or how to address them. Each chapter analyzes specific issues affecting these students and offers recommendations or suggestions for change. Some of the areas discussed include: identity development theories, residence halls, career planning, health and counseling centers, HIV/AIDS, and student leadership and organizational development. Non-heterosexual faculty and staff may also find this work useful as they attempt to discover themselves in academic and educational literature.

Excerpt

It is no longer a matter of whether to provide services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students; it is a matter of when. The talent, energy, and hope with which LGBT students are arriving on our campuses must be acknowledged, honored, and encouraged. Some students are declaring their bisexual or homosexual orientations in high school, then knocking on our institutional doors with the expectation of being fully appreciated for who they are in their entirety--including their sexual orientations. Many more students come to us questioning their sexual identities: They're not yet ready to make pronouncements nor embrace labels, but they deserve our demonstrated and verbalized acceptance and attention.

As an undergraduate at the University of Florida in the 1960s, I struggled with my own lesbian identity. I experienced what Adrienne Rich calls "psychic disequilibrium"--knowing I was there but not seeing myself reflected in the classroom, in the curriculum, or in social gatherings of the institution. When I finally came out, my goal was to become an educator who cherished teaching and learning, who valued my own homosexual identity, and who understood that my sexual orientation was one of God's great gifts to me. I was honored to become the director of the University of Michigan Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Affairs in 1994, and then the director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997.

It is a great and precious opportunity to serve our extraordinary students. I have an intense belief in and love of these courageous young folks. They deserve to be treated with respect and with dignity for the talent they bring to our campuses and for the scholarship, research, and leadership in which they will engage.

Students do not live in a vacuum. To provide services for and about LGBT students on our campuses, we must be mindful that we also have LGBT people . . .

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