With the Texas Tech’s Pride Week, hosted by the Office of LGBTQIA Education and Engagement, kicking off this Monday, I thought it would be fair to look how “gay-friendly” Texas Tech is. In my opinion, the institution is very accepting of the community but the students, not so much.

We all know that Tech is situated in one of the reddest counties in America, which isn’t a bad thing. In all honesty, it adds to the quality of life for the community because everyone keeps themselves, and everyone is very cordial.

There will also be people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and let us know what they think, like in any city in America. I mean us as I am a proud member of this amazing community and am also a local.

I never had a major incident with other locals other than getting called names and being told I am going to hell, but that’s nothing new and is somewhat expected.

When it comes to Tech, the institution, they are accepting of the community and have done tremendous work to ensure that all students a part of the community have a voice here on campus.

The Office of LGBTQIA Education and Engagement has some fantastic resources that students who are in the closet or out and anywhere in between can use. Faculty can even be identified as allies, people who are or aren’t a part of the community but work to end the oppression, and they have a sign posted on their door.

This allows students to know that if you come and talk to them, it is a safe space, and they will help guide you to the right campus or community resources.

Tech has even set up a scholarship for the community.

However, when it comes to the students on campus, that is another story. I don’t feel comfortable in my skin sometimes when walking on campus. I get looks from my mannerisms or how I talk by non-allies. 

There are times, people wouldn’t even want to sit close to me in a class solely based on the fact that I am gay. I am not one who is quiet about my identity, but at the same time, I am not throwing it anyone’s face.

I understand that this is the culture I live in here in the South, and I know mindsets won’t change overnight. However, I am asking to be treated like a human and to be respected.

Tech has made strides in helping the LGBTQIA+ community in having a voice on campus. I just hope that in time the student population will become more open and accepting.

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