Liaison’s new blog series highlights the LGBTQIA+ community and its members’ experience in higher ed.
Throughout 2021, Liaison has acknowledged and celebrated the contributions of historically underrepresented communities by hosting blog series on Black History Month, Women’s History Month and Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We’re continuing that initiative in June with this post, the first in a new series focusing on the people behind this month’s Pride celebrations.
Today’s Pride events have their roots in a riot that took place in New York City in June of 1969 following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, which catered to a large gay and lesbian clientele. In recognition of the fact that the terms “gay” and “lesbian” alone do not adequately describe all members of an incredibly diverse segment of the population, Pride participants today often use the term “LGBTQIA+.” Although such acronyms and their definitions may vary from one source to another, LGBTQIA+ is generally understood as shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex and asexual and/or ally, with the “+” acknowledging that there are people who have non-cisgender and non-straight identities who may not feel included in the acronym.
Campus culture in the spotlight
Discrimination continues to mar the academic experience for many LGBTQIA+ community members. For example, the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) has reported that:
- Almost 17% of 180,000 graduate and undergraduate students interviewed in 2018 identified as “gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, queer, or questioning;” 1.7% identified as “trans, nonbinary, or questioning.”
- 66% of LGBTQ college students responding to a 2019 “campus climate” survey said they have experienced sexual harassment at least once.
- Students who do not identify as heterosexual are more likely to experience harassment, violence and stalking than other students.
- 20% of LGBTQIA+ college students participating in another survey said they have “feared for their physical safety due to their gender identity or their perceived sexual orientation.”
- 31% of LGBTQIA+ students of color experienced “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct” due to their racial identity.
Liaison is committed to using our resources and partnerships to address and overcome the systemic inequality experienced by members of all communities. As just one small part of this effort, please continue to check this space every week during Pride Month as we highlight the issues and opportunities facing LGBTQIA+ students and the institutions that serve them.