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Increasing support for LGBTQ students: what will it take?

In light of the recent hyper-coverage of “gay teen suicide,” we at the Campanil have been having a discussion about the questions the events and their coverage raise. Here are a few of our questions and answers we came up with.

These tragedies might be partially blamed on lack of support for the GLBT community on the part of the administrations at which the suicides occurred. This raises the question – could something like that happen here? Does Mills provide enough resources for its queer students? Mills prides itself on being more progressive than many colleges and therefore more in-step with queer rights, but there is definitely room for improvement. Mills has periodic support groups and with Queer Melanin on hiatus this semester, only one club for LGBTQ individuals. Some of us feel that providing a Queer Lounge would be a valuable resource and huge demonstration of support on the part of the administration.

Also, most of us agree that there are virtually no resources for trans students – this may be changing with the new student-led Queer/Trans Headquarters initiative, which would provide a resource center and safe space for all queer and trans-spectrum students on campus. We agree that this would be a valuable source of support for an underserved Mills community.

Is all the media hype actually doing anything to further equal treatment or real justice for queer kids? And is gay teen suicide actually on the rise? We can’t say for sure whether it is or not, but it is definitely nothing new. However, it is possible that so much coverage could bring about policy change. We all agree that it has brought awareness to the issue of bullying and harassment of queer youth, specifically cyber bullying.

It’s no surprise queer kids are being victimized in a culture that still doesn’t give queer adults full rights. We hope that the increased media coverage will somehow lead to more school administrations creating an environment where bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students is replaced with resources and support.