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February 29, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Each letter represents different identity, students encourage others to understand differences

The LGBTQ+ acronym is a way to represent the community behind all the identities inside it. Each letter represents a different label that people can identify under.

Tobias Spears is the Assistant Director for Access, Diversity and Inclusion Programs which means he works with the LGBT Resource Center and Project Search.

Spears said the LGBTQ+ labels provide political representation for people and allow them to describe themselves within a word. He said this also allows people to be a part of the bigger LGBTQ+ conversations and community.

“It can be bad because the initials [do not] encompass everyone’s identity, but it attempts to,” Spears said.

Senior Mark Kelly said that it’s important for people to know as much of the LGBTQ+ acronym as possible.

“A lot of people focus on just the ‘G’ or ‘L’ of the community, but for the most part people ignore, [for example], the trans* aspect, the intersex aspect, the polysexual aspect and it’s very harming,” Kelly said.

Spears said that it’s important for people to know “there are [people] that exist that are not [like] them.” He also said that people need to understand that their identity is not central to everyone as a whole, so people have to be open to “dialogue about identity.”

Spears said he thinks there are a lot of labels that aren’t talked about and spectrums, such as the asexual spectrum and are still emerging into the mainstream.

Freshman Sarah Salzer said that she respects people who identify as LGBTQ+ by using whatever labels that a person assigns to themselves. She went on the explain that she wouldn’t refer to someone who has feminine attributes as gay unless they represented themselves with that label.

Kelly said that one way that people can respect LGBTQ+ identities is to use the pronouns and name that people want to be used in reference

to themselves.

“Other ways to respect is to not belittle people naturally,” Kelly said. “And not think of them as othered [or lesser].”

Spears said that people can respect LGBTQ+ labels and identities by allowing representation for other identities. He said he doesn’t like when people refer to the acronym as “the LGBT alphabet” because he said people fought for their identities within that acronym.

Spears said that if people want to branch out their knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community, the best way would [be] to go out and talk to other people not like themselves.

“When you want to meet different people, speak up about it,” Spears said.

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