A C o m p r e h e n s i v e M a n u a l
transitions. When leaders want to (or
"My lover s really closeted and I don t
need to become) less active, other people
think she ll like it."
will be more than ready to fill their shoes.
The group will have enough energy to
"The captain of the football team lives
carry out projects, and develop increasing
down the hall from me!"
clout on campus. And in the process you
will get to know a lot of great people.
"I come from a really conservative, small
town and my roommate s from there."
I'm Not Really Interested...
When you first talk to other lgbt people
about your group, you are likely to get
Some ways you can answer it:
lots of negativity: "Oh, that group is so
First of all empathize and validate the
cliquey!" "I could never be in a group
person s fear. It is based on some reality.
with so and so." "I always get over
People are at different stages in the
involved and I m already spread way too
process of coming out. Respect these dif
thin!" People may be reluctant to get
involved for lots of reasons.
Tell the person s/he can be part of
your group or organization without
Your job is to find out those reasons, and
ever having to be visible on campus.
see if you can do anything about them.
There are up front roles and behind
The way to do that is to LISTEN.
the scenes roles. Does your group
have any policy on keeping names of
Ask questions to understand people bet
members confidential? Maybe you
ter. What s going on inside of them?
should consider this;
What s holding them back? What s their
underlying feeling? Sometimes nothing
Tell them about school policies about
you can say or do will make any differ
non discrimination/harassment of
ence. If every time you suggest some
lgbt people. Make sure they know
thing they have a "Yes, but....." come
what resources exist;
back, this may be the case. Often, how
ever, people have genuine fears and con
Explain that many lgbt students feel
cerns which need to be addressed before
safer after they get actively involved
they will give a lgbt organization a try.
because they develop a stronger sup
Here are some examples of common con
port system and feel better about
cerns and ways you might try to address
Tell them about your experiences and
the experiences of other active lgbt
"If I do anything it will somehow get
students. Do any of these experi
back to my parents that I m gay and
ences help to reassure any of their
they ll kill me."
"I want to go to law school someday; I
can t get involved because it may ruin my
"Nothing will ever change on this cam
pus; it s a waste of time to try!"
B u i l d i n g Y o u r G r o u p
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