| LIFE AT WSU | LGBTQ+ Pride
You are Welcome Here
Worcester State's Strategic Plan outlines our aim to cultivate a vibrant campus life and a collaborative working and learning environment in which all members of our community feel welcomed, included, respected, empowered, and valued.
In support of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff, we formed a working group tasked with identifying changes that could make us more inclusive, and to centralize resources being offered at the institution, state and national levels.
In a recent update to university policy, students, faculty, and staff can now designate a chosen name, preferred pronouns, and gender identity, if desired. Beginning in Fall 2019, we will transition to an admissions application and data system that does not restrict gender to binary options. Additionally, students that identify as transgender will have the option to self identify.
Your designations will be reflected throughout the university's computer information systems (including course registration lists, OneCard, Blackboard, and WebAdvisor), and will be the officially recognized way you will be identified and addressed throughout your daily life in our campus community.
For more information please see our Chosen Name and Pronoun Policy.
We appreciate and celebrate our LGBTQ+ faculty, staff, and students and their experiences - if you have a story to share through our spotlights, reach out to email@example.com
Technically, I was out long before I began working at Worcester State. The difference about Worcester State verses other employers, is that I made it a point to never go back in when I got here. It could have been because I was a bit older, I had more life experience, or that I was a now a mother. I suppose it was all of those things combined and then some. The point is, I needed a lot of years and a lot of experiences to reach the point where I saw that there was a lot more to me than sexual orientation.
When I started at WSU, I made sure to remember to see all of myself everyday. Sexual orientation doesn't make a person good (or bad) at their job. It's a non-factor. So instead, I focused on all of the other things I am that contribute to my work - kind, professional, equitable, honest, knowledgeable, reliable, etc. I make it a point to be all of those things to the best of ability everyday. I focused on the things that will make my daughter proud of me someday. My sexual orientation is not a flaw. It saddens me that at one point in my life I wasn't strong enough to see it any other way. It's another piece of my story that drives me forward, and has led me to actively living a fulfilling life in a way I never thought possible.
My favorite part about working at Worcester State is that I get to spend my work days with a lot of truly wonderful people. I appreciate that I feel comfortable coming to work everyday. I don't feel the need to question whether or not I belong here. I've felt like I've belonged since my very first day. It's nice not to have to waste brainpower analyzing each interaction I have, wondering if mentioning "my wife" might cause judgment, a sideways glare or some other reaction leaving me on the receiving end of something very uncomfortable. I want to be judged on how I perform the responsibilities of my job. At WSU, I've always felt that to be the case.
Adversity is far from pleasant when you're face-to-face with it. Life comes with challenges for everyone. Some challenges are heavier than others and take time to overcome. I encourage people not to compare their struggles to the struggles of others as we all must face our own reality. The first part of facing a challenge is accepting it for what it is. Only then can you begin to overcome it. I struggled with my sexual orientation long after my best friends and college roommates knew of it. They accepted it long before I did. One friend told me that she was going to buy me "hers and hers" towels for my wedding. I thought she was insane. I'd never get married. She was right, I was wrong, and she did give me those towels for my wedding day.
The saying that "it gets better" is true. It's also true that it's not always an easy road. My advice for anyone facing adversity is to surround yourself with people who support you and see the strengths in you that you maybe haven't found in yourself quite yet, if you can. If you don't have that support system, seek out those resources within your community. WSU is a community of support and often times, those resources are in places you might not think to look first. My door is always open to anyone who may be struggling, and there are many others on campus who do the same.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”
I love this quote because no matter how old you are, there's always a whole lot more that you can learn about yourself.
In the many roles I have played at WSU over the years- first as an ESL student at IELI, then as a degree seeking student and now as an employee- I have always found the university to be a very welcoming space. When I was a student, I found my communities by joining Pride Alliance and by tutoring Spanish. This is a vibrant campus and we all, students, faculty, and staff, work together to create a learning environment where all can thrive and succeed.
By being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and an immigrant, I was born in Spain, I am able to never make assumptions about others and I am constantly analyzing the world around me. Because I am part of these two communities, I have learned to not live under the tyranny of the “I should” but the power of the “I can,” and that is something of which to be proud.
In many ways, those of us who are part of the LGBTQ+ community are constantly coming out, so I cannot recall the first time I came out at WSU. I have a picture of my wedding day on the windowsill of my office and that is the first thing you see as you enter the space. For me it is a way of showing my family and to offer a small piece of who I am to those who come to meet with me. As an advisor, students can sometimes tell me very personal information and this is a small way for me to open up as well.
I am very happy to be part of a welcoming and open community whose main focus is student success. When I was a student, I realized that faculty and staff would go the extra mile to help you out, even if it was not part of their responsibilities. They wanted to see you succeed. Now as an advisor for non-matriculated and adult students I can continue that work. At the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education we are all devoted to assisting students. Since I started working at DGCE, I have been encouraged to join and be an active part of different initiatives to better serve our LGBTQ+ community. I feel honored to be part of such a supportive division!
My favorite part about working at WSU is to be able to help others achieve their goals and to play a part in continuing to make WSU a welcoming and supportive institution. I can recall an instance in which a student walked by my office and after seeing the Safe Space sticker on my door blurted: “Very cool, that is very cool.” It made my day! It is small moments like those that make me appreciate being a part of the WSU community.
Ask for help and don’t convince yourself you are alone in what you are going through. Sometimes when we are struggling we isolate ourselves because we think it is the safest option. This is hardly ever a viable solution to whatever we are going through and it only prolongs our suffering. By asking for help we are reaching out to our community, allowing those who can help us to enter our lives and sharing our experiences with others going through similar difficulties or struggles. Once you feel you have overcome the challenge, help others do the same. It is rewarding and every small action makes a difference.
RuPaul always ends his show with this statement: “If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love anybody else?” I believe it reveals a great reality, that only by accepting who you are you are able to connect with others. In a society that sometimes is very quick to point out our flaws, it is important to remember and celebrate who are as individuals and bring that love to our communities.
The WSU community is a space with opportunity for critique and development. Any thing you want to do, do it for yourself, speak up for yourself and those that also have yet to find their voice.
I am a plus sized disabled black queer woman. Among those identifiers, I cannot choose which one I am most proud of because all those, and more not listed, informs how I navigate the world. However, I love the perspectives these identities allow me to understand. I am most proud of being apart of all these communities and the capacity for empowerment these communities bring.
I came out about 2 years ago to a supervisor at my previous institution. It was the first time, I said “I am queer” out loud. It felt so amazing. It was one of the first times I felt free and truly comfortable in my skin.
I work in residence life and housing. I appreciate the students here who are so driven to succeed. They have such strength that at times seems untapped. This also my favorite part about working at WSU.
Adversity will always be there. Find your allies and, even more so, find your accomplices who will stand with you when adversity becomes too hard a burden to bear.
“Education must not simply teach work--it must teach Life.”, W.E.B. DuBois
This section of the quote captures what I have come to know about my educational experience. Education, especially within a higher education context, is more than just job training, its preparing for a life of your own. It is a space to question established beliefs and to develop compassion for others. So when you transition into the world, you are more capable of understanding the nuances of your work and willing to make change wherever you go.