Previous Page  20 / 20
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 20 / 20
Page Background

19

LGBTQIAA FACULTY AND STAFF: A REFLECTION ON CAMPUS PROGRESS

is a safe place to do so. “I can’t

imagine anybody on this campus

being discriminated against.

That being said, I only know my

experiences.”

Another faculty member who

believes IU Southeast to be a

tolerant, safe environment is

professor of Fine Art Debra Clem.

Having come out in her interview,

she describes IU Southeast as “the

most accepting, tolerant school

you could possibly ask for.” In

April 2002, Clem remembers the

resolution approving the provision

of benefits to same-sex domestic

partners of Indiana University

employees and students. “At the

time we were the only school in the

metro area to have such a policy,

and we’ve been ahead of the curve in

terms of domestic partnership rights

and policies ever since,” she said.

As advisor of GSA, Abernethy

stresses the importance of being

aware of the challenges that

LGBTQIAA faculty, staff and

students face such as healthcare,

recognition of rights and acceptance

from family members. “A student

who is coming out is going to

have to deal with things at home.

Additionally, some people live

double lives. They’re open on

campus, in the closet at home, or

vice versa. As an educator, if you

come across a situation where you

don’t know what to do, reach out to

a faculty member, find resources and

educate yourself.”

LGBTQIAA faculty and staff

who feel secure also promote

an atmosphere of security and

acceptance for LGBTQIAA

students. As a member of the

GSA, Calvin Barron believes “it’s

good to have professors who are

comfortable coming out. Students

who grow up in rural areas may

have misunderstandings about who

LGBTQIAA people are and it helps

them understand that it doesn’t

have to be something that is feared.”

Past president of the GSA Angelica

Wiseman agrees with Barron and

said, “I feel safe talking to professors

who make that extra leap in their

classes to include a small sense of

diversity. I feel like if they’re out

here on campus and the university

accepts them, then that indicates

acceptance within the workplace in

general, including other fields.”

Former GSA advisor William

Sweigart said, “Change socially

is very slow; there are still blind

spots and difficulties. It takes a real

effort and resources to support and

create the kind of climate change

that’s needed.” Although things

have slowly evolved for the better

over the years, older discriminatory

views of the LGBTQIAA community

and attendant homophobia die

hard, both with the so-called

“straight” world and the LGBTQIAA

community. Moving forward,

McTyier believes, “The key thing is

to have a conversation. It’s all about

creating a dialogue, getting past the

discomfort and understanding one

another.”