This week’s lecture regarding human rights, LGBTQ students, and the role of administrators truly resonated with me. As a higher education professional at a small suburban Catholic university, policies and procedures to accommodate the needs of transgender students are in the process of being developed. For many universities, accommodations for transgender students is a part of the routine housing selection process. This is not the case for my traditional Catholic institution; students are not even allowed to have overnight guest of the opposite sex. We also do not offer any support or social groups on-campus for LGBTQ students. The lack of on-campus support and accommodations further marginalizes LGBTQ members of the campus community. Despite increased awareness of the growing number of transgender individuals beginning or completing their physical transition in college, our institution is still behind the curve. Pusch ( 2005) noted in Objects of Curiosity: Transgender College Students’ Perceptions of the Reactions of Others that our self-identify is directly related to the way in which individuals react to us. Therefore, if my institutional community does not have resources in place for transgender community, we are negatively impacting their self-identify; we are not reacting or embracing trans students positively.
The journey of Cornell University chronicled through Matthew Carcella experiencing as a gay man during a time when resources were nonexistent resonated with me. Cornell’s institutional climate and resources could provide excellent benchmarking opportunities for institutions seeking to develop resources for LGBTQ students.
Harvard’s Business School illustrated the importance and benefit of the support of administrators. Based off the video It Get Better, it appears that the entire community is invested in providing a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBTQ students. Ultimately, I would like my institution to mirror the support system provided by Harvard’s Business School and Cornell University.
Pusch, R. S. (2005). Objects of curiosity: Transgender college students' perceptions of the reactions of others (PDF). Journal of Gay & Lesbian Issues in Education. 3(1), pp. 45-60.