Be Yourself: Featuring One Of My Best Friends, Charlie

Name: Charlie Brandt

Year: Freshmen

Major: Economics and Spanish Double Major

Hometown: Olney, Maryland

Q: What do you think about the LGBTQ Equity Center here on campus?

Honestly, I’m not too familiar with the LGBTQ equity center here on campus. I’m sure they do great work. I think I get emails from them sometimes…I signed up for the listserv during orientation. At the beginning of the year I went to this LGBTQ welcome event at Stamp with a friend.

Q: Do you feel like the campus does a good job of promoting equality and equity regarding sexual orientation?

I think campus does a great job promoting equality and equity for LGBTQ individuals. Pronouns are always respected and orientation always remains both appropriately personal and protected. I’ve always felt safe; safe to kiss and hold hands with my boyfriend, and ultimately safe to be who I am.

Q: Do you think the campus makes everyone feel free to express themselves and do you feel free to express yourself?

Yes, indeed I feel that I can express myself on campus. Naturally, I cannot speak for everyone. But as someone who is pretty shy and always seeks to keep PDA at least a little cautioned, I believe most LGBTQ individuals would agree.

Q: Is there anything you would change?

Hmm….”change,” everyone’s favorite word, especially on a college campus. I really can’t think of anything concrete. I’ve had friends experience spouts of disapproval and discrimination, just as I have first hand heard and seen inappropriate behavior that paints homosexuality as something negative. For example, your typical “straight boys” saying things like “that’s so gay” or behaving in such an obviously “homosexual” manner as to provoke laughs from their fellow “men,” when in reality they are not gay.

These things, however obnoxious, are not so easily changed, certainly not by the university. They’re silly notions diffused throughout an evolving society. The University should just support an inclusive language campaign, something it already does, quite emphatically I might add.

Q: What would you say to incoming freshmen who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community?

To incoming LGBTQ students, I would say this:

1. Be yourself.

2. Don’t take anyone else’s nonsense or discrimination.

3. If you’re judged, or made to feel uncomfortable, or excluded in anyway, say something! It’s not the infamous “tattling,” it’s heroic in fact. Imagine how many lives you could be improving by saying something and by provoking action.

4. Be safe

5. Focus on your education, of course.