June is Pride Month!
If you’re not sure of the origins of this celebration, here’s a quick history lesson from the Library of Congress:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States…Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events that attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
At University of Advancing Technology, we want to support our student population, giving them an outlet and a platform to voice their thoughts.
Through our student-led Culture Committee, they are using their influence to share new and different ways of life with each other.
One of those students is Alayna Lecrone, an online student majoring in Game Design. We asked Alayna about her experience at UAT.
Read on to hear her opinions about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and UAT student.
Question: How do you feel about how UAT supports and welcomes the LGBTQ+ community?
Alayna: From the very beginning, even before I enrolled, I had attended some open house live streams and kind of made it known I was transgender. In those events, I was able to gauge the reaction to see what the environment would be like. I am happy to say even then as a person not yet enrolled, it was nothing but positive and supportive! This made my decision to come here way easier, and now being enrolled students and staff alike have been amazing! I even got to educate a few people, and I feel like a pioneer of sorts moving in this industry, though many have come before me.
Q: How has your personal experience been at UAT as a member of the LGBTQ+ community? How have you felt supported and welcomed?
Alayna: As I kind of touched on before, the students and staff have been nothing short of amazing! Even though I’m an online only student I have never felt excluded or left out, which is really rare. I have heard from people on campus that the environment there is amazing as well.
Q: If a young person who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community was thinking about coming to UAT, what would you want them to know?
Alayna: UAT is a great place, welcoming accepting and safe. The staff goes above and beyond to help you feel included. I will take credit for some changes that happened recently that were prompted by my persistent asking, such as allowing preferred pronouns to be shown on Microsoft Teams and Canvas portal we use at school, and you are also able to go by your preferred name on almost anything unless required by law to be legal name. They really do their best to make you feel safe, accepted and welcome at the school. You will make so many friends and grow exponentially as a student and individual here. I have been dreaming of coming to UAT since I was in 11th grade. I’m 34 now, so it took a while but I finally made it and for good reason. There is no place like UAT.
Q: Do you have any final thoughts or advice for those that are discovering more about themselves while in college?
Alayna: Ironically I came out officially in college. So, my only advice would be to breathe. Realize that you are who you are. It’s scary at first coming to terms with it. People are going to disagree; some maybe even will walk away. I would love to say everyone will always be so happy and accepting but that’s not the reality. The main thing is to keep your head straight. Seek help if you need it; there is a thousand resources and discreet counseling available to you. Coming out in 2021 is A LOT different than coming out in the early 2000s. Be happy, be strong, be brave, but most importantly BE YOU. No matter what. Life is full of regrets, don’t make denying who you truly are one of them.