Since its inception, Nazareth College has been devoted to protecting its students and celebrating their differences. Compassion, caring, and understanding is woven into the fabric that has formed its campus, and its grounds. From the second you step onto campus, there is an overwhelming sense of family and support. This Pride Month, the Nazareth Community once again is called to celebrate its fellow students and faculty.
To me, it is always important to understand the history, and the challenges that marginalized groups have faced. The history of the LGBTQIA Community and its allies is filled with protest, boycotts, harmful legislature, and events that have caused some to lose hope in change. Being part of this community, and looking at the events of the past, like the Stonewall Riots where the Pride movement began, and the constant mudslinging of our politics to either support or hinder the LGBTQIA community, honestly scared me… terrified me… and it started to have an impact on my schooling.
I decided to come out as gay in my senior year, about two months prior to graduation, with the thought that I would be able to start over at Nazareth.
In high school, I was the type of kid who would often be seen alone, or wouldn’t talk to many people. I felt that I couldn’t identify with others because I was holding onto a secret that I thought would ruin my life. I decided to come out as gay in my senior year, about two months prior to graduation, with the thought that I would be able to start over at Nazareth. I’ll be honest, it was rough, but I was able to hold on to hope that I would be able to start brand new in college. This idea may seem far fetched, or even a dream to some, but when you are in this type of situation, you will tell yourself anything and you will believe it. Luckily, this idea wasn’t just a dream, it became a reality. The summer before I arrived at Nazareth I was able to witness history as our nation decided to support the LGBTQIA Community in the ultimate way; granting me the ability to love who I want to love, by saying that I could legally marry them.
Being part of both the Nazareth College Community and the LGBTQIA+ Community has been the privilege of a lifetime. I have only been a member of the Nazareth Community for a little under two years, but there has not been an instant where I didn’t feel welcome. The community on our campus makes it so easy to be who you want to be and to still feel like you belong. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I have met with staff and just talked about random topics, including my sexuality, and how I could help others like myself. By being involved on campus, I have had the privilege of talking to those who may not want to be out to the world yet and have been able to help them work on accepting who they are. There have been a number of events where Nazareth recognizes the history of LGBTQIA Community, while also pushing for the advancement and continued support of LGBTQIA rights, including the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms in a few of the buildings around campus.
The community on our campus makes it so easy to be who you want to be and to still feel like you belong.
To the incoming classes, I hope that you feel the same way I do about Nazareth and that you always feel welcome here, or seek out someone who will help you to become the person you want to be. To the current students, the alumni, the staff, faculty, and trustees, we stand together this June in reflection of the events at Stonewall. We remember the tragedy of Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and we look forward to a time where all are accepted regardless of of our differences. Happy Pride 2017, Nazareth!