Insights on LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Higher Education
By: Nora Tejada (She/They)
I had the opportunity to talk with Matt Winser-Johns who is the Assistant Director for LGBT+ Program at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Here are five suggestions on how to create a more LGBTQ+ inclusive campus:
1. Listen to what the students need and want from your university.
Matt tells me that this position was made because students wanted more dedication to LGBTQ+ community. Also, do polls on social media and other outreach to gain more students insights. Matt tells me they had done an Instagram poll on social media and did exactly what they students had want. They had wanted a clothing swab which anyone could donate clothes and receive them.
2. Focus on key main areas surrounding LGBTQ+ students and community.
At UTD, Matt focuses on education, advocacy, and programming when it comes to his students.
3. Do not be afraid to speak up and use your voice.
Matt told me it can be scary to start a new initiative, but we need to make sure our Queer students get a voice so we must speak up.
4. Do not make assumptions on anyone’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
Matt also states do not assume we know everybody experience and ask people questions. Also, note that people do not owe us their stories and when they want to share, we listen without any probing questions. Also, do our best to mirror their language, if they identify as queer then say queer.
5. If you are unsure about any terminology then during your own time, do your own research.