Gallaudet LGBTQA Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS


What does LGBTQA stand for? 
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Asexual/Ally.


What does queer mean? Why do people use the word queer?
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or gender-binary. Some number of years ago, the term "queer" was pejorative; it has since been reappropriated by some groups as a communal and political term to describe those who reject binary gender identity and sexual orientation  models (binary = either/or; male OR female; gay OR straight). It is suggested that people not in the LGBTQA community not use the term "queer" unless instructed to do so by family and friends preferring to identify as such.



What does trans* mean? Why do you use it? 
Trans* is an umbrella term for anyone identifying outside of typical gender norms. While typically referring to "transgender," "trans*" with an asterisk refers to various identities including, but not limited to, transgender, cross-dressers, drag performers, intersex individuals, gender blenders, or gender queers. The term can also be used to include allies and partners to the community. We use the term "trans*" to be as inclusive as we can and avoid leaving out any identities in a list that tries to address everyone's experiences.

What resources exist for allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community?

Choosing to be an ally is one of the most important things a straight, cisgender person can do for the LGBTQ community. A lot of responsibility can come with being an ally, though. You are expected to know information that you may or may not be exposed to on a regular basis. You may also feel a lot of pressure to be perfect at all times. Fortunately, the LGBTQA Resource Center also has resources for allies and is welcoming to all people. Like all other students, allies are welcome to make individual appointments with the LGBTQA Resource Center Coordinator. Allies also have access to all of our library resources and informational pamphlets specifically designed for allies. For allies wanting to learn more about the LGBTQ community and become better supports, our Allies Network Program is a good option to build upon the knowledge you already have.

Allies interested in becoming more active in the LGBTQ community are encouraged to contact Rainbow Society, Gallaudet University's LGBTQA student organization. Volunteer positions are also available at the LGBTQA Resource Center.

Is the LGBTQA Resource Center specifically for the Gallaudet Community? Does the Resource Center serve the larger Deaf or LGBTQA community as well? 

As a unit of Gallaudet University's Office of Diversity and Equity for Students (ODES), the LGBTQA Resource Center primarily serves Gallaudet students as well as faculty, staff, and alumni. Our services are for members of the LGBTQA community as well as allies. Many of our events are open to the public, and we strive to disseminate publicly-available LGBTQA-related information to the campus and wider Deaf and LGBTQA communities through our website and Facebook page.

Where is the LGBTQA Resource Center located? Can students use this space?

The LGBTQA Resource Center is one of three units in the Office of Diversity and Equity for Students (ODES). The ODES Suite houses both "The Hangout" lounge and the office of the LGBTQA Resource Center Coordinator, Dr. Cara Miller. Both are in Hall Memorial Building (HMB) South Wing Suite 141. Students are welcome to drop in to Dr. Miller's office during office hours to chat and seek consultation. Students, staff, and faculty are always welcome at the The Hangout Lounge - it is a designated Safe Space for LGBTQ and ally members of the Gallaudet community to relax, study, enjoy coffee, and spend time with friends.



How can students get more involved with the LGBTQA Resource Center?
We love volunteers! The LGBTQA Resource Center welcomes volunteers to assist with a variety of projects. Students, staff, faculty, and alumni can also serve on the LGBTQA Advisory Committee and assist Rainbow Society, the LGBTQA student organization, with projects and events.



Do you have to identify as LGBTQ to attend programs, groups, and events? 
No. The majority of our programs and events are open to everyone. The more, the merrier! We value exchange of ideas and opinions and welcome opportunities to share and learn new information related to LGBTQ and ally identities and experiences.



Who can check out the books and DVDs in the library? How long can you check them out for? 
Current Gallaudet students, faculty, and staff all have access to our library materials. Books may be borrowed for three weeks at a time and DVDs for one week. For more information, visit our Library page (coming soon).



What role can faculty/staff members have in the LGBTQA Resource Center? 
Faculty and Staff are welcomed and encouraged to become mentors and role models for LGBTQA students. During the academic year, the LGBTQA Resource Center offers programs where faculty, staff, and students may interact, such as Lavender Graduation. The monthly Pride Brown Bag lunch gatherings provide ongoing opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to interact in an informal setting outside the classroom. Faculty and staff are also invited to serve on the LGBTQA Advisory Board. For more information about programs offered by the LGBTQA Resource Center or to get more involved, email lgbtqa@gallaudet.edu.

One of the most important programs the LGBTA Resource Center offers for faculty and staff is our Allies Network Program. Allies Network provides participants with an assortment of resources as well as useful tools for supporting and referring LGBTQA students to appropriate services. Although members of the LGBTQA community often have a leg-up when it comes to information about and resources for the community, each of us has areas within which we can improve our knowledge and understanding. The Allies Network Program seeks to identify those areas and provide the tools necessary to support LGBTQ students and advocate for inclusion and equity across Gallaudet's campus. Email lgbtqa@gallaudet.edu to sign up yourself or your department or unit for an Allies Network presentation.

Are there safe sex materials available at the LGBTQA Resource Center? 
Yes. The Hangout lounge has condoms, dental dams, and lube pillows in stock, well as informational pamphlets. For students interested in testing, DAWN provides free and confidential HIV testing services every Wednesday in ELI.



How do I get updates on what's happening at the LGBTQA Resource Center?



What are the resources for trans* students that are starting to transition? 
At this time, Gallaudet student health insurance, administered by Student Health Programs, does not cover hormone therapy or reassignment surgery. However, for those with other insurances, Gallaudet Student Health Services and the Counseling and Psychological Services Center are available to provide referrals for health care providers.  The LGBTQA Resource Center Coordinator can also assist with researching LGBTQA-informed and culturally-sensitive health care providers. For more information, check out our page with Frequently Asked Questions for Trans* students.

What should I do if a Gallaudet student or faculty/staff member says or does something that is discriminatory?



How large is the LGBTQ community at Gallaudet University? What is the climate like for out LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students? 
There is a sizeable number of out LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty on campus. Additionally, there are many openly out alumni. There are as many different experiences of being openly LGBTQ as there are LGBTQ people on campus.

Does Gallaudet offer same-sex partner benefits for employees?

Yes, Gallaudet offers same-sex partners benefits that is including to: health and dental benefits, life insurance, long term care insurance and tuition assistance/waiver. You will need to be married or complete a domestic partner affidavit form. 


Does Gallaudet offer gross-up in wages to account for differential taxation between unmarried and married partners?

Unfortunately, no, Gallaudet University does not offer gross-up in wages for differential taxation between unmarried and married partners.



COMING OUT QUESTIONS


What resources are there for questioning students and/or anyone considering coming out? 
The LGBTQA Resource Center has informational books, brochures, and online resources to help questioning students and those considering coming out. The LGBTQA Resource Center can also assist you in meeting other supportive students in the community. For immediate or serious concerns, visit Gallaudet Counseling and Psychological Services, located on the third floor of the Kellogg Conference Center.



Can students schedule time to meet with the LGBTQA Resource Center Coordinator?
Yes. Dr. Miller is available during office hours and for individual appointments. To request an appointment, please email cara.miller@gallaudet.edu or lgbtqa@gallaudet.edu. For serious issues, please contact Gallaudet Counseling and Psychological Services.

- Questions and answers adapted with thanks to Emory University's Office of LGBT Life -

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