If you are an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and are struggling with ways to support the community on Baylor’s campus, you are not alone. It’s no secret that anything that doesn’t fall in line with the heteronormative nature of the school’s administration and student population is often left out of the conversation. I am here to tell you that despite this, there ARE ways to express your love and support for your LGBTQ+ friends.
One of the main, and arguably most impactful, ways is using inclusive language in the classroom. Some professors are good at this and take on the role of creating space for all gender identities and sexualities within the classroom, but not all professors are that way. You can pick up where they left off by using that inclusive language when you speak. This can mean using correct pronouns when answering a question, utilizing non-heteronormative synonyms for partner and asking questions that encompass the LGBTQ+ community. By breaking that stigma and barrier within the classroom, those in the LGBTQ+ community can feel comforted knowing that they have allies that have their back.
You can take this a step further by outright correcting a professor if they take a homophobic stance or make a homophobic remark. This means students, too. We must hold each other accountable for our discriminatory mindsets, but also ensure that those who identify as LGBTQ+ feel supported in the way that they need to be.
Another thing you can do is include your pronouns when introducing yourself to normalize that practice so those who do not fit the binary aren’t called out or targeted for utilizing the pronouns that fit them. This can also mean including your pronouns next to your name on a Zoom call or adding your pronouns to your Outlook signature.
The biggest way you can be an ally on a campus that views marriage between a man and a woman is by being intentional with your inclusivity. Be deliberate with it. Being passive, while it may be the easy option, is what has kept the toxic and homophobic environment of Baylor a reality. The ultimate goal would be for Baylor to be as inclusive as it preaches itself to be – the little improvements that happen every day can make a world of difference until that happens. The responsibility of this does not fall on your shoulders alone, but on all of ours. If each of us take steps every day to make that difference, we can make Baylor a better place for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Change starts small, and it starts with you.
Be deliberate. Be intentional. And you can make space for the people who deserve it most.