Hi I’m Aaron, I use he series pronouns, and I’m humbly coming to you today as one of many queer voices at Tufts. If you are out and proud, this is for…
Campus Pride has released its yearly list of the top 25 LGBTQ friendly colleges and universities and Tufts made it on the list! As someone who has become very much involved in the LGBT community this past year, I’m so happy that Tufts has been recognized for everything staff and students are doing to make coming to college a safe place for everyone regardless of identity.
At Tufts the LGBTQ community extends from the LGBT center to rainbow house and to every dorm/house on campus. One striking image for those who come from more conservative towns is the mere number of rainbow flags when you walk on campus and that still that’s an understatement of what the LGBTQ community consists of. It’s by no means a small community and in order to maintain the title of one of the top LGBTQ friendly colleges the LGBT center and other groups on campus do A LOT.
Last year the LGBT Center implemented never before seen programming that opened up the center to EVERYONE. Nino Testa (Director of the LGBT center) and staff held events like the Qrunch (Queer Brunch) series where anyone can come to eat catered brunch and learn/discuss topics important to the Queer community. Some QRUNCH topics included Queer Spirituality as well as a discussion about the issues that Queer people of color face every day. There even was a town hall type meeting where the floor was open to any student interested in queer life and mental health to voice their opinions and suggestions about the state of mental health counseling for queer people at Tufts. Another very important step to making Tufts LGBTQ friendly was opening the discussion on gender-neutral spaces as well as giving the option to have your email/username reflect your preferred name. This year the LGBT center even created a new mentoring program for incoming students called Team Q. This will open up the possibility for even more students to come to school feeling comfortable that they have someone to talk to! All these events/ new developments as well as others not stated really have contributed to the queer friendly atmosphere on campus.
As a queer womyn of color, something that was important to me was to be accepted in both the queer community and the Latino community since it was something that I did not receive back home. To my surprise I was able to find acceptance in a lot of places that I never thought I would be able to. Tufts has provided me with a community of support through my sorority, Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/ Lambda Pi Chi Sorority Inc. as well as through the LGBT center, LOQSOCA (Loving Ourselves as Queer Students of Color in Action) discussion group, and just through the Tufts Community in general. I know that everywhere I go I can find people who are willing to listen and to accept the womyn that I am.
There will be times where people don’t understand what you’re going through as a queer person and sometimes you can even face some discrimination from those who don’t want to try and understand you. But as a whole Tufts is equipped with so much support and acceptance from various people (which includes staff) that you will feel comfortable being who you are every moment of the day and that's why Tufts deserved to be listed on Campus Pride's top 25 friendliest colleges!