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Our Best Advice for LGBTQ College Students, From People Who Have Been There



“Remind yourself why you chose this moment, this place, this space to come out. Use this reminder as your mantra when you feel overwhelmed or scared,” says Danushi Fernando, the director of LGBTQ+ and gender resources at Vassar College.

Find the resources for queer and trans students at your school and use them

Connecting with others who are also grappling with similar questions—or even adults who have come out and are now happy, healthy, and thriving—can be comforting, Kelly Spivey, the director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Brooklyn College, tells SELF. Trans people specifically might find they want extra support handling coming out or dealing with dysphoria. In that case, seek out other trans people to advise and support you, Spivey recommends. Depending on your situation, you may find people to connect with online or through IRL groups, meetings, and get-togethers. (Or both!)

“Take advantage of the resources your school offers. Many colleges have free or low-cost health clinics, personal counseling centers, career centers, and other support services,” says Binder. “Your tuition and/or scholarships fund all of this social infrastructure, so you’ve essentially already paid for the services awaiting you,” Araya Baker, a counselor at Pennsylvania State University, points out.

You might also want to look into finding a therapist, whether that’s through your school’s health center or via a private practice. Seeing an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist can help you process your emotions and work through problems (whether they’re gender and sexuality-related or not)! “I realized that when I put in the work in therapy and became more aware of myself as a whole person, I was more confident and secure in my identity and could brush people’s ideas of me off easier,” Cam, who has been out since high school, tells SELF.

If your school does have an LGBTQ+ center or similar organization or service, you could try getting involved as a volunteer or joining the staff part-time.

Ultimately, you should know that you don’t have to go through this solo. “The first step can feel liberating, but also lonely,” says Fernando. “It’s so important for students to recognize that they are not alone, that there is community, alive and well, that there is support for them.”


Find fun, pleasure, and community with people who are like you

Joining student clubs that fit your interests and taking classes you’re passionate about will help you find other folks who share your values and get to know who your allies are in the administration. But keep in mind that making friends can take time. “You don’t have to settle for the first group of LGBT friends you find,” says Ash, a recent graduate, who “thought being queer or trans was enough to have in common to be good friends” when they first began college. However, they quickly realized that queer and trans people, like any other identity group, are not a monolith. “People aren’t always going to share your interests, experiences, or politics. Notice who you have lots to talk about with, or who you find easy to talk to,” they say.

Source: Self

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