Yes, it's normal!
Some GLBTQ students coming to W&L feel apprehensive about what it's going to be like for them here. It's important for you to know that sexual minority students are welcomed and valued at W&L, and most GLBTQ students have found the coming out process much easier and more positive than they had imagined. Remember that even though you might start out at W&L not knowing any other GLBTQ students, you're not alone.
Opening up to the possibility that you may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or even just questioning means opening up to the idea that you're on a path that's your own. Coming out is an ongoing process that unfolds at your own pace. Throughout the process, it is normal to feel scared, vulnerable, exhilarated, proud, brave, confused, empowered, relieved, uncertain, and/or affirmed. Most importantly, you don't have to go through it alone. A support system is an invaluable place to turn to for reassurance. Sources of support can be other GLBT people, GLBT hotlines, close friends, or counselors. A supportive mental health professional often helps people become more comfortable.
On a daily basis, you will face decisions about where, when and how to come out - or where, when and why not to. Always remember, this is your journey. You get to decide how to take it. Here are some resources that can help:
General Trust: a weekly peer support group for gay, bi, trans, or questioning undergraduate and law students intended to help provide support and to help students build friendships and a sense of community. Contacts: Kirk Luder, M.D., x8592, email@example.com or Beth Curry, LPC, x4888, firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLBQ Confidential: a gay Peer Counseling program aimed at providing special peer support for gay/bi/questioning students who may not feel comfortable talking with straight peers about their sexuality. Look for posters around campus.
General Equality Initiative (GEI): The Washington & Lee University General Equality Initiative works to promote equal rights, justice, and opportunity for all members of the Washington & Lee University community regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. For information, go to http://www.wlu.edu/x22804.xml.
University Counseling (located in Early Fielding): There are four counselors in the University Counseling Center; Ms. Curry and Dr. Luder both have special areas of interest and expertise in supporting GLBTQ students. You can schedule an appointment with any counselor by calling x8590.
CAIR: If you feel that you have experienced discrimination or harassment because of your minority sexual orientation, you can contact any member of the Confidential and Impartial Resolution resource program to help provide support and resolution of your difficulty. There are posters listing all CAIR members around campus. For more information, go to http://cair.wlu.edu.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion (located in Elrod Commons):
Director: Tammy Futrell, Associate Dean of Students
Safe Space Program: Educational training offered to faculty, staff, and students on GLBTQ issues and how to be an ally.
GLBTQ Resource Center (located on 2nd floor of Hill House): Provides a safe space for students to socialize, study, and access resources.
Confidential HIV testing at SHC 458-8401 or Rockbridge Co. Health Dept. 463-3185
Equality Virginia: www.equalityvirginia.org
Human Rights Campaign (HRC): www.hrc.org
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG): www.pflag.org
Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network: www.GLSEN.org
The Advocate - The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine Internet site: www.advocate.com
The Trevor Helpline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386); www.thetrevorproject.org
The Gay, Lesbian , Bisexual, Transgender National Hotline: 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
The GLBT National Youth Talkline (provides phone and email peer counseling through age 25): 1-800-246-7743