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A Guide to LGBTQ+ Inclusion on Campus, Post-PULSE

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Edited By Virginia Stead

The research in A Guide to LGBTQ+ Inclusion on Campus, Post-PULSE is premised on the notion that, because we cannot choose our sexual, racial, ethnic, cultural, political, geographic, economic, and chronological origins, with greater advantage comes greater responsibility to redistribute life’s resources in favor of those whose human rights are compromised and who lack the fundamental necessities of life. Among these basic rights are access to higher education and to positive campus experiences. Queer folk and LGBTQ+ allies have collaborated on this new text in response to the June 16, 2016 targeted murder of 49 innocent victims at the PULSE nightclub, Orlando, Florida. Seasoned and novice members of the academy will find professional empowerment from these authors as they explicitly discuss multiple level theory, policy, and strategies to support LGBTQ+ campus inclusion. Their work illuminates how good, bad, and indeterminate public legislation impacts LGBTQ+ communities everywhere, and it animates multiple layers of campus life, ranging from lessons within a three-year-old day care center to policy-making among senior administration. May the power of well-chosen words continue to deepen our understanding, clarify our communication, and empower us all as pro-LGBTQ+ campus activists.

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Chapter Twelve: Fear and the Unknown: Harrowing Experiences of LGBTQ Students in Higher Education (Eric J. Weber / Karin Ann Lewis)

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CHAPTER TWELVE

Fear AND THE Unknown

Harrowing Experiences of LGBTQ Students in Higher Education

ERIC J. WEBER AND KARIN ANN LEWIS



INTRODUCTION

Earl Nightingale, an American motivational speaker of the 1950s, once said, “Whenever we’re afraid, it’s because we don’t know enough. If we understood enough, we would never be afraid” (Joshua-Amadi, 2013, p. 10). The experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students attending colleges and universities, especially those in rural areas, are largely unknown. Historically, universities have failed to provide safe learning environments for LGBTQ students (Fanucce & Taub, 2010; Nelson & Krieger, 1997; Rankin, 2005, 2006; Walters & Hayes, 1998). In recent years across the United States, reports of harassment, assault, and high rates of suicide among LGBTQ college students continue to be all too common and further underscore the alarming lack of safe learning environments for this group of minority students. The recent unconscionable acts of violence towards and murder of innocent LGBTQ people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida compelled the authors of this chapter to share some of the findings from a 2015 study in hopes of giving voice to LGBTQ college students (Weber, 2015).

Colleges and universities have a responsibility to provide and maintain a healthy, affirming—celebrating and supporting—and safe learning environment for all students; however, university faculty and administrators have little or no knowledge of LGBTQ students’ experiences on campus. We...

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