LGBT community finds resources on Southern’s campus

Natalie Barletta – Opinions Editor 

For those who are struggling with their sexuality or gender, it is said to be a confusing and lonely time. Queer youth-whether they are transgender trying to figure themselves out, or trying to figure out if they are gay, bi, or a lesbian, often find themselves feeling lost and depressed. Southern Connecticut State University offers many chances to not only support struggling students, but to also educate those.

There are many resources on Southern’s campus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual students, also known has LGBTQIA. The first is the Safe Zone, which a program is run by counseling services. According to it’s page on the Southern website, the Safe Zone helps combat homophobia on campus and promote acceptance. Throughout the year, they get many requests for clubs, faculty members and other staff to speak and hold events.

At the start of every semester, Counseling Services at Southern holds training services for those who are interested in becoming a CC or CA. The training lasts for a couple of weeks, and at the completion of the program, receive a Safe Zone symbol and pin to display in their residence halls.

The goals of the Safe Zone include accessing their feelings among gay, lesbian and trans, to increase knowledge among queer and trans issues, and to improve the environment for queer youth on campus. For those who are interested in further information, they should check out the Safe Zone page on the Southern website.

But for those who are looking to find a few peers to support, SCSU offers a few clubs to help those who are struggling with their sexuality to be able to talk to others who going through the same thing. One of those clubs is Prism.

Prism is the undergraduate student club. It’s goal, according to it’s website page, that gears towards education and awareness towards different sexualities. The members promote acceptance towards all genders and sexual orientations, as well as being supportive towards one another. Prism does many events for the LGBTQQIA community, as well as their allies. This includes the Day of Silence, a Drag Ball, and a workshop at the True Colors conference held annually at UConn.

“Prism is a safe space on campus for LGBT students and allies. Our goal is to educate the campus,” said Prism Vice President Elle Higgins.

Former Prism member Luke Herzog had a positive experience with Prism. Coming from a more conservative hometown, Herzog felt very accepted and welcomed by the club’s environment.

“We did a lot of games where there was a lesson behind it,” said Herzog.  “There was a lot of activities that went with understanding of sexuality and gender.”

Another forum for struggling students is the Q group. The Q group is hosted by the Sage Center. The Q group is a weekly support group that discusses various issues such as coming out and being out.

The Sage Center, located in the Adanti Student Center room 201, creates an accepting environment for queer students so that they could feel like they have a safe place on campus. They also work towards educating others, and help address LGBTQIA issues throughout campus. The Sage Center often collaborates with many clubs on campus, including Prism. Higgins was excited about it, because she believed that it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s a great start, but there’s always room for improvement,” said Higgins. “The less tolerant we are, the more tolerant others will become.”

Photo Credit: Southern News Archive


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