Letter to the Editor | Reopen LGBTQ in-person support programs
May 8, 2021
May: For college students, it’s a month of high levels of stress followed by parties celebrating another semester in the books. For others, a start on an internship or summer job. For some LGBTQ students, the start of summer may mean another season of LGBTQ problems made worse by COVID-19. According to an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, a percentage of LGBTQ youth state that their parents do not support their LGBTQ status and this may pressure them to remain closeted. This, coupled with decreased social interactions due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, makes returning home mentally straining.
Another issue pertaining specifically to transgender individuals would be the cancellation of gender-affirming surgeries. A report from ABC news states that many gender-affirming surgeries have been delayed until after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted which causes great mental stress on those who await gender reassignment surgery.
The University has support programs established way before the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs such as the LGBT Ally Network and LGBT Resource Center provide support programs and foster positive communities for LGBTQ members on campus; however, due to COVID-19 social restrictions, these essential services have mainly been moved online. In-person programs offered by these centers have been postponed indefinitely.
The University needs to address this matter in one specific way: Reopen LGBTQ in-person support programs as soon as possible. By reopening these programs, the campus can support LGBTQ students in a more productive capacity, especially for those who stay for the summer, as well as prepare for LGBTQ students who come back in the fall.
Joshua is a freshman in LAS.