Gay College Experience: Jacob Woods
December 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Not every College or University is rainbows and lollipops. Hamline University on the better end of the rainbow has continued show how LGBTQ friendly the campus is. I fell in love when I came in and picked up a copy of the local newspaper when I toured the campus in June, which was pride month, and on their newspaper stand there was a pink colored print that had pride month events scattered cover to cover it. I picked it up and consumed every little bit I could. I was flaming with excitement!
When I spent a night on campus, I was fortunate to stay with a group of students who lived in an apartment near the University. When I walked into their kitchen I immediately noticed rainbow and pride magnets on their refrigerator. I had found the rainbows and was already considering Hamline home. I remained a bit nervous as you can’t judge a campus by its liberal coverings. Or perhaps you can.
Like many campuses, Hamline hosts an organization and club fair. Tables took up the entire Hamline lawn. I scoped out Spectrum which is the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) of Hamline University. I picked up my rainbow striped ally button and a pamphlet listing upcoming Spectrum events. I attended the first meeting where they informed us about the campuses Safe Zone training posters. These are signs with the symbolic pink triangle that are posted outside doors. The signs read, “this is a Safe Zone”. These posters mean that anyone entering the Safe Zone is entering a safe place for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning/Queer, Intersexed, and Allies (LGBTQIA) students to enter. Anyone who owns the Safe Zone symbol has taken the Safe Zone training. In their presence, there is no homophobia allowed.
To learn more about Safe Zone training check it out on the GLSEN website here.
Hamline only gets better. During the couple first weeks there was campaign for Hall Council Members. There were signs all over for president candidates and vice president candidates etc. One of the signs in my residents’ hall read, “Vote for me because I am a LGBTQ ally!” And what a wonderful reason for me to vote! Vote for them because they are not going to exclude a certain group of people based on their sexual orientation. This is precisely why I hope Bachmann falls out of this presidential race soon. Apparently the University students here at Hamline knows more about LGBTQIA equality than Bachmann could ever write anti-gay into the national constitution.
In such a politically polarized nation as Bachmann illustrates, it is easy to focus in on the negative. Luckily, Universities like Hamline have proved to me that there are LGBTQIA friendly places in America. If you consider the change that the youth has in regards to LGBTQIA issues within the last couple of decades, the Ally in LGBTQIA makes up a huge portion of our supportive and progressive community.
I think it is important that aspiring college students ask on their campus tours how progressive the campus in regards to LGBTQIA issues. As one hall mate says, “I think all campuses need to be LGBTQIA friendly. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be.”
Cheers to that sir! And if a campus is only a Safe Zone for some and not others, they don’t need my business, and they surely don’t need yours.