LGBTQA Center launches new blog
Online resource will respond to anonymous student questions
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 22:10
The LGBTQA Center, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and allied, has recently launched a new online project — a website called the Q and A. Its goal is to reach out to students on campus who have questions about LGBTQA issues.
The blog, which started in mid-September, is one way the LGBTQA Center is hoping to broaden its outreach and answer questions from students. Students can have their questions answered on the blog by submitting them via email. The questions are posted anonymously to protect the identity of students.
Becky Swem, a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate student who is interning at the LGBTQA Center, started the project to reach out to students who may be having a hard time on campus.
“I wanted to do some type of project for students who aren’t as comfortable,” Swem said.
The response from students has been slow — so far the site has only received one question. But Swem and her colleagues at the LGBTQA Center hope that the Q and A blog will provide a safe space for students to ask questions and receive informed responses.
“The goal of it is really to allow a space for students who might not feel comfortable asking whatever it is that’s on their minds,” said Chris Nile, a first-year graduate student at UVM who works in the LGBTQA Center. “[We hope] that they trust the center to be a space that would be able to come up with a reasonable answer.”
Dot Brauer, director of the LGBTQA Center, agreed with Nile.
“We wanted those students to have a place that they could look at and potentially communicate questions or concerns they have that would be comfortable for them,” she said.
Both Nile and Brauer noted that the blog is not intended solely for LGBTQA students, but for any student who may have questions regarding those issues.
“I think the issues can relate to absolutely everybody,” Nile said.
LGBTQA students are more likely to have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment and non-sexual harassment than heterosexual students, according to the 2011 Campus Climate Survey conducted by the UVM Center for Rural Studies.
The Q and A blog is one way the LGBTQA Center is reaching out to students to help them feel more comfortable on campus.
“There are students who are still uncomfortable on this campus, so I think the most important thing is for students to know they’re not alone,” Swem said. “Other students have felt alone or have had common concerns about coming out or are afraid.”
The Q and A blog is one way the LGBTQA center hopes to be more inclusive.
“We want to convey the understanding that you don’t have to fit any certain kind of mold to be accepted or welcomed as part of the LGBTQA community,” Brauer said. “You are yourself.”