Is our campus truly supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community?

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Sienna Williams / The Bucknellian

Ricky Rodriguez, Senior Writer

As a Queer/non-binary person on a campus that likes to ignore rather than address, I’ve noticed tension in a number of spaces when homophobia, transphobia and other forms of violence are being talked about — and rightfully so, violence in general is disturbing. 

The majority of the people tensing up, however, are cis/straight people. The majority of the conversation and engagement happening more often than not primarily involves Queer/Trans people themselves — in addition to other marginalized people. Why? 

The majority of people on this campus don’t realize they are complicit and also contribute to the smallest forms of violence against Queer, non-binary and Trans peoples on a daily basis. This is probably because having gay friends, going to pride and reposting a “love is love” graphic on your Instagram story automatically makes you a trustworthy and reliable ally…right? Yeah, no. 

The same people that claim to be “for the gays” are the same people using their positions and proximity to power to condone homophobia, transphobia and other unspeakable acts within their circles and this campus as a whole. 

Allyship should not be conditional. Allyship should not shift or be based on the people around you and/or the willingness of others to “understand” what you’re advocating for. There will always be tension when it comes to fully embracing — not just “tolerating” — the experiences and overall existence of Queer/Trans peoples. Therefore, you should not expect a pat on the back if you correct someone for misgendering a non-binary person. 

You should not expect a pat on the back if you call out a close friend that uses the f-word like it’s their religion. You should not expect a pat on the back for being a decent human being — that’s the bare minimum. 

Considering heteronormativity permeates every single corner of this campus, making sure Queer/Trans peoples are protected, made to feel safe and comfortable should be a top priority for both students and faculty alike. There are a number of amazing faculty members that use their classrooms as spaces to address common issues that pertain to Queer/Trans violence and give their students the time to grieve and express themselves. 

There are also a number of amazing people within all levels of administration that do their best to encourage Queer/Trans students to pursue and preserve any joy they experience — and that’s beyond precious. 

On a more personal note, I feel others need to realize that Queerness/Transness is not an accessory to straightness. Queerness/Transness is not working to compete against any individual person. Queerness/Transness out in the open — especially within this community — is something beautiful, revolutionary and worth appreciating. 

Whether or not you do support Queer/Trans people, I hope you understand we are here to stay and it is not our job to coddle others when they feel any discomfort.

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