Lamia Abozaid | Contributor
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay
According to The Washington Post, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community experience high levels of anxiety, feelings of rejection, and fears about their safety. The report stated that nearly three out of four people who responded to the survey have been threatened verbally because of their sexual identity and 95 per cent reported having trouble sleeping. No matter where they are, even in the place they are supposed to feel the safest, like in their homes, they feel rejected along with concerned for their safety.
When Dee Guttman, a first-year journalism student at Seneca@York, was asked whether or not they feel safe in their college, Guttman says that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is tough on its own. However, nowadays, they believe that it is socially acceptable to the point where they can allow themselves to feel safe.
“This wasn’t always the case, not all university campuses that I have been on did I feel as safe as I felt on the Seneca@York campus. I have been to other campuses, I felt safe to be myself but I also had to hide at the same time. I definitely knew that the people coming in had a different view on me than the people I currently feel safe around at Seneca. I feel like it is more socially acceptable to be you, or I choose to feel that way. I just believe it is really up to the individual of where they want to feel safe” says Guttman.
Despite the fact that Guttman believes it is up to the individual to choose to feel safe or not, they also believe that the people around them help create this feeling. An important way to do this is by using the appropriate pronouns.
“Totally neglecting gender-neutral pronouns doesn’t seem like it really emulates a safe space, but I think that Seneca is hopefully working on it. Regardless, we need to advocate for ourselves, but it can be really scary because not a lot of us have a voice like that. I do know that it is getting better for my gender neutral pronouns, it is really up to others to use that. While some people claim that they forget, there is an impact mentally and psychologically on any trans person. It is really up to us, trans individuals, to insist on having people use it.”
Guttman also believes that institutions should try to emulate the idea of a safe space, but not all of them do it because they are trying to help — they do it because they have to.
Not only do they believe that Seneca@York is providing a safe space, but also support for each individual community, not only the LGBTQ+ community.