Celebrating Pride: 12 Ways Binghamton University Supports and Educates LGBTQIA+ Bearcats and Allies

Posted by Michael Burt, BA ‘15 MSW ‘21 and Tanyah Barnes on June 14, 2021


Celebrating Pride: 12 Ways Binghamton University Supports and Educates LGBTQIA+ Bearcats and Allies

Pride Month is celebrated in June each year to commemorate the uprisings at Stonewall Inn in June 1969 which helped spark the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Pride Month is a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to come together and celebrate their identities, recognize advancements that have been made and reflect on work that still needs to be done. Pride Month is also a wonderful opportunity for those questioning their identities to continue to learn more about them and for allies to reflect and learn about how they can offer support in effective ways. While most Pride events are celebrated in June, here at Binghamton University our LGBTQ Center officially celebrates Pride in October during LGBTQIA+ History Month, since a majority of our community is away during the summer.

The following is a listing of 12 resources and things to remember as you support and engage with our LGBTQIA+ community during National Pride Month.

LGBTQ Center (Q Center)

The Q Center, one of two identity centers in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), provides a safe environment where gender and sexual diversity is affirmed, and community is fostered through an inclusive campus environment. The center has an array of resources, educational opportunities and social justice initiatives, while also offering programming to support LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities. The center offers several key programs and initiatives to the campus community:

The Pegasus First Year Experience Program helps first-year LGBTQIA+ students transition into college life at Binghamton University through the initial Rainbow Welcome orientation program, the UNIV 101Q ABCS of LGBTQ first-year experience seminar and the Pegasus Programming Board. Referred to by many as a “home away from home," the center itself features a lounge, meeting room, library and  gender-affirming clothing closet.

The Gender-Affirming Clothing Closet allows students to experiment or “shop” for clothes that are more comfortable and that better match their identities. The clothing closet is open during normal center hours and the only ask is that patrons bring something to take something.

Active Ally Program

The Binghamton University Active Ally Program, facilitated by the Q Center and DEI, takes the traditional Safe Zone training models and significantly updates and expands upon them. This is unique to our campus because our Active Ally model goes beyond simply understanding LGBTQIA+ identities and passively supporting LGBTQIA+ people. The program focuses on what it means to serve LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities in an active capacity. The program currently offers two tiers: foundational workshops and Deeper Dive sessions. DEI staff are also currently working to expand to a third tier, which will address basic ally development, systemic oppression and LGBTQIA+ communities and sustainable change. In addition, the program is open to all constituency groups on campus and genders: faculty, staff, students, straight-cisgender allies and all LGBTQIA+ people. 

Chosen Name Policy

The University has adopted a chosen-name policy in an effort to be a more inclusive community. With this policy, any student or employee is able to self-identify a chosen first name in the University’s information systems, which can be an important part of a person’s identity. 

Gender Affirming Classrooms

The Q Center and DEI support Binghamton University faculty and staff in creating a classroom environment that is truly affirming for LGBTQIA+ identities. In doing so, staff provide workshops, training, Basic Human Sexuality presentations, individualized support and consultations, as well as the Chosen Name Syllabus Statement. This sample statement can be used to communicate faculty commitment and expectations for the inclusion of transgender and gender-expansive students both in and outside of the classroom. Learn more about our Chosen Name syllabus statements.

Pronouns

You may have noticed that some people on campus share their pronouns when they introduce themselves or include their pronouns with their name in an email or on their name tag. This is happening to make our campus more inclusive of everyone from all genders. To aid in creating a gender-inclusive campus, you can make it a point to introduce yourself with your pronouns and create comfort for others to share their pronouns with you.

Gender Inclusive Housing

Binghamton recognizes that same-sex room assignments are not ideal or appropriate for all students. Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) seeks to provide an environment that is welcoming to all gender identities and is not limited to the traditional gender binary (male and female). Students who sign up for these areas will be permitted to have roommates, flatmates and suitemates regardless of gender or gender identity. Gender inclusive housing is available in most living communities. Learn more using our Gender Inclusive Housing FAQ Fact Sheet.

Gender Neutral Restrooms

Gender Neutral Restrooms were created to ensure a safe space on campus for students regardless of gender expression or gender identity. Binghamton University has provided at least one gender-neutral restroom in 18 facilities on campus. Find facilities and locations.

Gender and Sexuality Support Groups

The Q Center offers Transcend, a peer-led social group for transgender and gender-expansive students. The group discusses topics and current events related to gender identity, support each other, socialize and work together on events that promote acceptance on campus. The day and time of meetings change each semester to accommodate the needs of members and can be verified via email at transcend@binghamton.edu or by inquiring at the Q Center.

The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides comprehensive clinical and referral services for undergraduate students, graduate students and affiliated entities. The UCC offers an area of focus for LGBTQ identities by providing a counselor liaison to the LGBTQ Center who supports weekly Let’s Talk sessions; and a Gender and Sexuality support group, for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive, queer or are questioning their sexual orientation or gender.

OUT for Work

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development has been awarded SILVER certification through OUT for Work's Career Center Certification Program. They have a thorough understanding of the complications LGBTQ students may face when looking for internships or jobs after college and resources to help. Find specific LGBTQ resources in CareerTools. 

Hormone Replacement Therapy On-Campus

Decker Student Health Services serves as a liaison with medical health providers and students ordering hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and require long-term medical plans. This allows students who have already begun HRT to maintain continuity of care. Decker also provides the same type of care you would expect from your primary care provider at home, and services also include confidential rapid HIV testing.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an academic program that explores gender and its relation to other identities, including race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion and sexuality. Faculty members from different disciplines offer courses in the program and WGSS also offers internships and special projects with local agencies under the supervision of the program’s director. Examples of courses offered this summer are “Men & Masculinities” and “Gender, Violence & Social Justice."

LGBTQIA+ student organizations and leadership opportunities:

Binghamton University has a wealth of student organizations that intentionally create inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ students. Here are a few of the organizations that focus on serving the LGBTQIA+ community:

SHADES (Instagram / Bengaged) is an organization that was created for LGBTQIA+ students of color and aims to create a safer atmosphere on campus through activism, education and social events. SHADES meets every week to discuss intersectionality and the unique issues faced, while participating in activities to foster inclusion and community at Binghamton.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) (Instagram / Bengaged) is a new club for LGBTQIA+ students at Binghamton that aims to create a safe community and environment for LGBTQIA+ students in the STEM fields, while also welcoming any LGBTQIA+ students and allies, regardless of their major.

Keshet (Instagram) is a sub-group of Hillel at Binghamton University and Binghamton’s home for LGBTQIA+ Jewish students.

Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) (Instagram / Website) is Binghamton’s oldest LGBTQIA+ organization that provides a safe haven for the LGBTQ community on campus and in the surrounding areas.

Things to Remember

If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or questioning your gender or sexual identity, we encourage you to connect with the Q Center staff, who can help you to find your fit here at Binghamton. If you are an ally at Binghamton University, the Q Center’s Active Ally Program is a great place to better understand the LGBTQIA+ community and actively advocate for the community. Allyship is extremely important for the community, and by taking the time to educate yourself on the community, you can work towards becoming the best ally you can be.

Using people’s pronouns correctly is extremely important because it validates a person’s gender identity and shows them the respect they deserve. To aid in creating a gender-inclusive campus, you can make it a point to introduce yourself with your pronouns which helps others to be more comfortable with sharing their pronouns. With this, do not make assumptions of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. By avoiding assumptions, you are allowing others to be more comfortable and open up to you on their own terms.

Always remember that it is a privileged and oppressive position to expect LGBTQIA+ individuals to educate you on their history and community. If you are not a member of the community, but want to learn, we encourage you to take ownership of your own learning. In addition to various courses and training opportunities offered here at Binghamton that you can use for awareness and competency building, there are a wealth of online resources available that can educate you on the struggles of the community, as well as key people and events in LGBTQ+ history.

Finally, join us in celebrating SUNY Pride 2021: Pride in Bloom. This is the season to let our pride bloom, and this year’s SUNY Pride events will include Freedom Day: Celebrating Juneteenth and Pride Together, SUNY Pride Art Gallery, SUNY Pride Networking Night, the SUNY Spectrum Conference and more. For more information on SUNY Pride virtual programming and events check out: https://www.suny.edu/pride/.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.