Scary Year for LGBTQ Community


Jacob Martinez, Production Manager

America’s LGBTQ community has faced increasing opposition throughout 2017 as the current White House administration seeks to undo many of the progressive plans put in place before President Donald Trump took office.

William Paterson University conducted a week-long celebration of its LGBTQ community, kicking off the week with the 15th annual LGBTQ College Leadership Conference. The conference unified staff and students from around the tri-state area with classes and presentations reflecting the struggles and triumphs of likeminded individuals.

Hundreds of bills have been proposed by members of the government directly impacting the LGBTQ community such as the military barring of transgender people and the First Amendment Defense Act. Several states around the nation have taken conservative measures as well. South Dakota wishes to pass a bill targeting LGBTQ people from adopting children while Kentucky proposed a bill that would “allow student groups to discriminate against LGBTQ students,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“It is unfortunate to be a gay in America today. We are definitely being targeted by the government and sadly enough, by people in our own communities,” said a 22-year-old NJCU student who refused to identify herself.

Despite growth in support for the LGBTQ rights, 20 percent of LGBTQ college students still fear for their safety due to their gender identity, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

College students in America must be prepared to face all sorts of dangers ranging from the typical missed homework assignment to the recently and sadly common active shooter scenario. Many researchers and university faculty members have always concerned themselves with the mental health of college students.

While the number of college students identifying as LGBTQ continues to surge, universities are providing safe spaces for those who face dangers that may not be relatable to straight students. Wellness Coordinator Liz Amaya-Fernandez, who held a workshop on identity during the conference, believes that despite the increase in safe spaces the current climate is “still dangerous for some people.”

“Here we are saying there are more safe spaces, but from talking about the military or even Title Nine reversal there is just a lot that is making people feel really scared,” said Amaya Fernandez.

Although the year is coming to a close, there seems to be no relief for those who make up the LGBTQ community. While some prefer to rally and protest the policies being enforced around the country, others take to social media using the hashtag #LicenseToDiscriminate to denounce anti-LGBTQ acts.

Whether you are in need of a safe space or you want to make a difference in the LGBTQ community, make sure to contact WPU’s Women’s Center or Student Government Association for further information.

For those seeking to meet with likeminded people, the celebratory week dubbed “Beyond the Rainbow: Uniting Our Collective Voice” will end October 26 with an LGBTQ block party in Zanfino Plaza during common hour.