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LGBT Students and "Coming Out"

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Allison Stow

on 4 May 2015

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Transcript of LGBT Students and "Coming Out"

Misconceptions and Myths (continued)
Coming Out at Loyola
“For those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, coming out is an ongoing process that may involve confusion, self-doubt, and stress. Even people who simply wonder about their sexuality or identity are often afraid to share their questions with others. One of the first steps in the process of coming out is acknowledging one's own identity. Regardless of the circumstances, the choices surrounding coming out to others require courage and deserve respect.”
-Loyola Counseling Center
LGBT Students and "Coming Out"
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network is the leading national education network focused on ensuring safe schools for all students
2011 National School Climate Survey
-Participants in this survey completed a survey about their experiences in school, including hearing biased remarks; feeling safe, being harassed, and feeling comfortable at school; and academic experiences, attitudes about school, and involvement in school.

Key Findings
-Over three quarters of LGBT students heard homophobic or sexist remarks often or frequently at school.
-More than 8 in 10 students heard the word "gay” used in a negative way often or frequently at school.
-More than half of students heard homophobic remarks from school personnel.
-Less than a fifth of students reported that school personnel frequently intervened when hearing homophobic remarks or negative remarks about
gender expression.
-4 out of 10 students heard their peers at school make racist remarks often or frequently at school.
-Remarks about students not acting “masculine enough” were more common than remarks about students not acting “feminine enough.”

Misconceptions and Myths
-If a person has sex with opposite sex, then they can’t be gay
-Gay people can’t control their sexual urges
-Coming out is a one-time process
-Gay people are not happy because they isolate themselves
-Hollywood portrayals of gay people are accurate
-Discrimination only impacts racial and ethnic minority groups
-Being gay is a mental illness
-If a gay or lesbian could just meet the "right" member of the opposite sex, then he or she could fall in love and be "cured"
-Being gay is contagious
-Gay people recruit others to be gay
-There are specific gender roles in gay relationships
-Gay men want to look like women and lesbians want to look like men
-Gay people could change if they want to
-Therapy could cure homosexuality
-People are gay because they were sexually abused
-Gay persons sexually molest children
-Gay people do not have stable or long relationships
-Gay people do not have children
-Homophobia only exists in straight people
-It's OK to call gays and lesbians names like "queer," "faggot," and "dyke" because they are "deviant"
-Gays and lesbians are few in number and "hide out" in careers like theater, interior design and cosmetology

Realize that not all students who identify as LGBT have had a negative experience while at school
Education for staff on spotting discrimination
Creating clubs/organizations for LGBT students
Simply creating a welcoming environment can do wonders.
A Guide for Resident Assistants: The "Coming Out" Conundrum
-A group of RA's at a local Private University are having trouble..

-How does one deal with someone coming out?

-What steps can one take to adequately handle the situation?

Cruz, C., & Aberle, C. (2014). Myths and assumptions about LGB people. The University of
Tennessee. Retrieved from http://counselingcenter.utk.edu/self-help-materials/myths-and-assumptions-about-lgb-people/

Greene, D., Britton, P., & Fitts, B. (2014). Long-term outcomes of lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender recalled school victimization. Journal of Counseling & Development, 42, 406-418. Retrieved November 1, 2014.

Irwin, J., Coleman, J., Fisher, C., & Marasco, V. (2014). Correlates of suicide ideation
among LGBT Nebraskans. Journal of Homosexuality, 61(8), 1172-1191. Retrieved November 5, 2014.

Jones, K.N., Jones, J.A., & Brewster, M.E. (2014). The creation and validation of the LGBT ally identity measure.
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1(2)
, 181-195.

Loyola University Maryland Counseling Center. (2014). Coming out. Retrieved from

Ottenritter, N. (2012). Crafting a caring and inclusive environment for LGBTQ
community college students, faculty, and staff.
Community College Journal Of Research & Practice, 36(7)
, 531-538. doi:10.1080/10668926.2012.664094

Perez, R.M., DeBord, K.A., & Bieschke, K.J. (2000). Coming out: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual
identity development. In Reynolds, A.M. & Hanjorgiris, W.F. (Eds.),
Handbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients
(35-55). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Temple University. (2012, April 13). College students coming out: Sean Deegan speaks
out. Retrieved from

Tetreault, P. A., Fette, R., Meidlinger, P. C., & Hope, D. (2013). Perceptions of campus
climate by sexual minorities. J
ournal Of Homosexuality, 60(7)
, 947-964. doi:10.1080/00918369.2013.774874

Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The
2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
Ally= heterosexual who works to develop understanding of needs and experiences of LGBT individuals
Social support (where you guys come in) can help lower suicide attempts by 20%
Allies need particular skills--precursor to action/intervention
Rate of Allies goes up, oppression goes down

What does it mean to be LGBT?
-Bisexual: A person that is sexually attracted to both men and women

-Transgender: denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender....
+What exactly does this mean?

AIM to be an Ally
Knowledge and Skills
Openness and Support
Oppression Awareness
Knowledge of resources---steer people in that direction
Skills is not advocacy
Don't need skills to support
lack of awareness/knowledge leads to avoiding supportive skills
Need to know Identity Development. Leads to increased action/activism
Remember your mission as an RA

Help to foster a community at Loyola that is empowered, caring, and just. This includes...

promoting personal growth
advocating for a positive environment
recognizing the value and impact of diversity in our community

Know your Resources!
You don't have to handle anything alone!
Difficulties "Coming Out" On a College
- Fear of obtaining a social stigma, afraid others may treat him or her differently because of his or her sexual orientation.
-Prior bullying victimization in other school settings, e.g.
Greene, Britton, Fitts,. 2014
+Found that prior bullying (in high school or earlier grades) highly correlated to high levels of withdrawal and shame focused coping strategies.
r= .30 & .28, respectively.
-History of homosexual shaming on Campuses
+ex. Tyler Clementi, Rutgers student

To Conclude...
-If you were in this situation, how would you handle it?

-How would you support this student going forward?
Dangers of Inappropriate Handling of Situation

-Suicidal Ideation is much higher in LGBT populations; especially as age increases (Irwin et al,. 2014).

-Higher rates of depression

-Lower rates of perceived social acceptance (Greene et al,. 2014)
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