While cyborg drag queens at Queerfest would indeed be a spectacular addition, I’m talking about the more immediate future of Colgate. There has been a lot of progress in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) life at Colgate. There are events like Queerfest that have become an annual tradition, groups like Advocates and Lambda that support LGBTQ identifiers and allies and even an office within the University – LGBTQ Initiatives. It’s wonderful how far Colgate has come in supporting this community and frankly, I’m happy with the progress thus far. While LGBTQ life on campus is not perfect, I think the college has been working to provide a better atmosphere for its LGBTQ students and allies with a decent amount of success.
However, not everything is glitter and rainbows (pun intended). Having the administrative side of Colgate support queer students and allies is only half the battle. In order to make true progress from this point, the majority views of the student body need to shift. It’s no secret that Colgate appears to be fairly homogeneous: heterosexual, white, from mid-upper to high socioeconomic backgrounds. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of “different” students on campus. Actually, I know very few students personally who would fit this traditional view of the Colgate student mold. The point is, Colgate is a diverse campus across a broad range of identities, but its thoughts are narrow. We’re stuck in a rut.
So what does that mean for the future of LGBTQ life on campus? Personally, I think it will be a while before LGBTQ students can be out on campus without being judged too often. It’s difficult to change an idea that has been dissolved into the social climate of an institution, and it’s difficult to admit that I can only do so much to change that. I do believe that Colgate’s administration will continue its support of LGBTQ life on campus, but that alone will not change the mind of the average student. I’m not saying we should force people to support LGBTQ all-out all the time (though that would be awesome), but some people aren’t even aware of what the acronym stands for. What I’m saying is that before there is a change in the general consensus of hetero students toward queer students, everyone needs to know what these issues are all about.
Alright, so we looked at past progress and the possible future and what it will take to get there. But what can we do now to work toward a more inclusive future? Communicate, educate and inform. Literally, just have a conversation with someone; it’s a great first step. I was tabling for Asexuality Awareness Week several days ago, and a lot of people learned for the first time what asexuality was! That’s how we change the future, and that’s how we improve this campus. Passively hoping will only keep us at the place we are now. Change happens actively.
So while cyborg drag queens are under development for Queerfest year 2515, we should be concerned with making this campus better for the next few generations of queer Colgatians. Colgate isn’t perfect, and neither are its students. After all, we’re only human. And that’s the point behind equality – we’re all human.