What campus life looks like from an LGBT perspective

By Victor Dixon, Editor-in-Chief

“What’s it like being LGBT at Newman?”

I find myself being asked this question often, and I don’t think my answer is ever what is expected.

For those who don’t know, I am a gay and transgender man, and I have been openly presenting this way for almost three years. Even though I am so fundamentally different from the majority of the people at this institution, I feel welcomed and as if this is truly the place where I belong.

I don’t want to put up the illusion that my experience is the same as any other: It’s no secret that people like me can often feel isolated from their peers. But members of the Newman community have made sure I feel included.

Choir Director Deanne Zogleman, Director of Student Activities Josh Prilliman, and Director of the Honors Program Kelly McFall are just a few of the faculty members who have personally made an effort to let me know that I have their support. Many of my peers in choir, the honors program, and different clubs and organizations have also made sure to include me just as they would anybody else.

I’ve even been approached with questions about my experience by people who are just curious, which always warms my heart and shows a collective willingness to understand that I have had trouble finding elsewhere.

Overall, Newman’s environment is very accepting and accommodates my different needs almost perfectly. However, I believe that many people with similar identities are overlooking Newman because it doesn’t highlight this aspect of itself. 

In recent years, the media and the legislative system have been flooded with a loud minority of people misusing their faith as a front for prejudice and even violence, so without distinguishing itself from that noise, Newman fades into obscurity for LGBT people who might be a great fit for this university.

My advice to the entire Newman community is to stand out and keep up the great work. It’s a scary world for people like me right now, and if you want the unique perspectives that we bring to the table, you need to publicly let us know that we’ll be safe here.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash