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November 02, 2023

Point Foundation - The National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

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The Impact of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation in Higher Ed



November 02, 2023
Point Foundation - The National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

"Recent legislation just seeks to divide us further. It hopes to prevent so much progress that has been made, and it tells us that our identities don't matter." - Flagship Scholar and Amazon Scholarship Recipient Rehman Hassan (they/them)

In 2023, 20 states passed anti-LGBTQ legislation, and 16 states' anti-LGBTQ laws include restrictions on LGBTQ students' rights in schools, colleges, and universities. Point Foundation Scholars across the nation are impacted by these state and national decisions. Some feel isolated, while others speak out about feeling in danger in states where anti-LGBTQ sentiment is high.

Out on Campus

In the face of this opposition, LGBTQ students are doubling their commitment to building LGBTQ inclusion in their schools.As an intern at the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, Flagship Scholar and Amazon Scholarship recipient Warren Small worked on a bill proposal named "The LGBTQ+ Safety in School Housing Act. " This bill would require gender-inclusive housing to be available at public, federally funded academic institutions nationwide. 

cara weathers-2Point Scholar Cara Weathers creates opportunities and spaces for students with intersecting identities to come together at Pacific University to give BIPOC LBGTQ students an inclusive environment and network of support.

"For me, I almost instantaneously felt an increased sense of belonging after I developed friendships with other QTBIPOC," she said. "As a leader and advocate, I strive to be out and visible for others like me. Coming out is perpetual but incredibly valuable."OIHEW Bios (12)-2-1-1

As an intern at the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, Flagship Scholar and Amazon Scholarship recipient Warren Small worked on a bill proposal named "The LGBTQ+ Safety in School Housing Act. " This bill would require gender-inclusive housing to be available at public, federally funded academic institutions nationwide. 

"Campus housing is critical to ensure academic success," Warren said. "LGBTQ students deserve to feel safe in their housing assignment as they pursue their educational dreams."

jenia browne bio-1Flagship Scholar and Walter Decker Scholarship recipient Jenia Brown hopes to build more inclusive campuses for years to come by elevating underrepresented voices in her career as a professor.

As an educator, Jenia hopes to uplift "the voices of Black queer communities…through Black feminist studies and through Black queer studies."

 

Out in the World

Point Scholars are making a difference beyond campus.noah mancuso-1

Flagship Scholar and John M. Deciccio Scholarship recipient Noah Mancuso is studying for his doctorate, focusing on LGBTQ health and health disparities among marginalized communities. 

"These laws just make it impossible for people to care for themselves, let alone communities support each other," Noah said.

Noah's career goal is to use his research skills to continue to improve healthcare for LGBTQ people everywhere.

jaspreet kaur-1Flagship Scholar and Comcast NBC Universal Scholarship recipient is also working to create a more inclusive future. She co-founded a production company called Brown Girl Joy Productions to increase the representation of marginalized identities in media. That starts with getting more diversity behind the camera.

"My big vision really is to change the way the infrastructure behind filmmaking and how can we make filmmaking a more sustainable career for people who are often not given the chance to pursue it," Jaspreet said.

How to Help LGBTQ Students Now

LGBTQ students at Point and nationwide have been working hard to make their schools safe. Here's what you can do to support them now:

"In times like this, where our community is under attack it's more important than ever before for allies and LGBTQ people to speak up and advocate for us as we pursue the equal rights and opportunities that we deserve," Warren said.

"I think a lot of it is going beyond being what people see as an ally," says Jenia, "Being at protests, being at rallies, donating to queer organizations, supporting mutual aid organizations for queer people around you is a huge thing that people can do."

Educators, LGBTQ or not, can be powerful allies for LGBTQ students. Find out how in our guide to navigating anti-LGBTQ environments as a higher education professional.

For more info about being an ally to LGBTQ students, check out Point's allyship guide to LGBTQ terms and respecting identities. 

Whether you are an ally, an LGBTQ community member, a student, or an academic, stay on top of the issues LGBTQ students face on campus. Follow Point events such as Out in Higher Ed Week, an annual celebration of LGBTQ students. The week empowers students, allies, and academic professionals to foster pride on campus, and gives students a platform to share what they need to thrive in school. Discover resources from the Point student community and network to challenge school policies, and build LGBTQ community



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