Here, you will find answers to a few questions you may have from current students and alumni!
1. What makes Whitman feel welcome and safe for LGBTQIA+ students?
2. How do you feel about coming out at Whitman?
3. How LGBTQIA+ friendly are faculty in the classroom?
4. How would you describe the social scene for LGBTQIA+ students?
5. What annual social event should a LGBTQIA+ student not miss at Whitman?
6. What is the best LGBTQIA+ opportunity to educate others on campus?
7. What is the best LGBTQIA+ Accepting Religious/Spiritual Organization(s)?
8. What advice do you have for incoming LGBTQIA+ students, i.e., what should they expect?
9. What's greek life like at Whitman for a LGBTQIA+ identified student?
1. What makes Whitman feel welcome and safe for GLBTQ students?
"Your sexuality does nothing to change how people treat you. People are interested in getting to know you, and that can include your sexuality if you choose to reveal that. Some people are educated about the GLBTQ community and issues, but if not, most are willing to talk to you about it and hear your perspective." (Undeclared, Gay, Cisgender female, class of 2017)
"I think Whitman feels welcoming and safe for LGBTQ-identified students because of the overwhelming acceptance of sexual diversity among students, staff and faculty. Of all the innumerable forms of human difference, sexual difference is virtually a non-issue at Whitman. People here will accept you as L, G, B, in the closet, out, or wherever you're at on the spectrum and in your own personal development." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
2. How do you feel about coming out at Whitman?
"To most people, sexuality is not a big deal, so neither is coming out. During high school, I had a really hard time coming out because I always felt weird about talking about it. But at Whitman it was a lot easier because I was able to "come out" more naturally as I got to know people better. It's a great feeling when people know who you are and accept you for it." (Undeclared, Gay, Cisgender female, class of 2017)
"I was already out when I came to Whitman as a student, and it was great. It was the first time in my life when everyone around me accepted me as a cisgender gay man and didn’t make a big deal out of it at all." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
"Coming out at Whitman was really easy. It wasn't a big deal to my friends but I still felt like I had a lot of support from them." (Geology, Gay, Lady, class of 2014)
3. How GLBTQ friendly are faculty in the classroom?
"I have not had any negative experiences in the classroom, it feels like a non-issue. That said, I am a science major so most of my classes don't deal with people things!" (Geology, Gay, Lady, class of 2014)
"All of the faculty that I work with are extremely knowledgeable, respectful, and helpful concerning LGBTQ interests and students' particular needs. I've relied on my academic adviser and other queer-identified faculty and staff for some very personal advice when I didn't know where else to go. Even if it's not in their job expectations, most of my professors have made it explicitly clear that they are available for extra-curricular counseling as well, sometimes even going so far as advocating on my behalf with the Dean of Students Office for extended deadlines in my coursework." (Gender Studies, Queer, Cisgender man, class of 2015)
4. How would you describe the social scene for GLBTQ Students?
"I feel like the GLBTQ social scene has been on the rise since I got to Whitman but maybe that's also because since I've been going to things now and then, I've made other GLBTQ friends. That definitely helps and is something I would suggest to someone who is coming to Whitman or just coming out." (Geology, Gay, Lady, class of 2014)
5. What annual social event should a GLBTQ not miss at Whitman?
"Queer-themed, off-campus social gatherings at Whitman have been a standing tradition for years. I’m told they are still very well attended and are very popular. When I was a student, they were definitely social engagements that one did not want to miss." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
"DragFest!! Traditionally one of the most widely attended GLBTQ events and it's definitely making a come back." (Economics, Queer, Lady, class of 2017)
6. What is the best GLBTQ opportunity to educate others on campus?
"GLBTQ and Coalition for Gender and Sexuality Awareness are two clubs that both offer opportunities on and off campus for involvement. Both clubs organize various events throughout the academic year in which students can participate and educate the general public." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
7. What is the best GLBTQ accepting religious/spiritual organization(s) on campus?
"Hillel Shalom and Better Together (interfaith club) are both very welcoming of queer students." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
8. What advice do you have for incoming queer students, i.e., what should they expect?
"Expect to be accepted; do not expect fear, homophobia or hostility because of your sexuality. Do expect to hear the occasional, unintended microaggression, because we all come to college to learn and not everyone has been exposed to sexual diversity by the end of high school. Expect a small, but very welcoming, warm and active queer community. If you are struggling with your sexuality or anything else in your life, don’t be afraid to reach out for help; there are many LGBT allies within the faculty and staff." (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)
"There is a lot that the GLBTQ club does and people it connects you to, but there are so many more people that identify somewhere on the spectrum. Obviously it depends on your comfort level, but if you can be open in your dorm or with your friends, then it's possible that other identifying folk come to you to share experiences and feelings, get advice and all that good jazz!" (Geology, Gay, Lady, class of 2014)
"Colville Street is basically the gay district of downtown Walla Walla, so if you're looking for an escape from campus, it's a real short walk to some pretty friendly venues. There are actually several places that are owned/staffed by LGBTQ-identified folks in town too. I've personally had great experiences with the staff at the Patisserie, Marcy's, Door Number Two, The Garden, Walla Walla Bread Company, and Coffee Perk." (Gender Studies, Queer, Cisgender man, class of 2015)
9. What is greek life like at Whitman for a GLBTQ identified student?
"Ostensibly, Greek life dominates a lot of the social groupings on campus, especially on weekend nights, and with so many people involved in sororities and fraternities, you might feel an urge to rush in order to fit in. The time I've spent in my fraternity has been some of the best and most meaningful I've had through my whole Whitman career. There are gay men in each house, and even though a lot of guys are not out publicly, or maybe just out to a few people, some of us are very very out, and that's okay too. The premise of joining a house is that you're committing to a community of mutual respect, so if you're interested in rushing, I'd suggest talking to current members and you'll probably be surprised with how accepting Greek life is at Whitman." (Gender Studies, Queer, Cisgender man, class of 2015)
"In my experience, the Greeks are just like the rest of the student body and super open and accepting and supportive. My sorority is awesome and such a welcoming group of women and I think that goes for all the other sororities also." (Geology, Gay, Lady, class of 2014)
"Greek life at Whitman is almost shockingly LGBT-friendly. Really. Fraternities and sororities at Whitman definitely break with any and all mainstream stereotypes of Greek college organizations. As a first-year student at Whitman, I was having a hard time adjusting socially (though this had nothing to do with my sexuality). Joining a fraternity was the major turning point for me socially at Whitman. I found a home, lifelong friends, and had a really great experience as an active fraternity member. The most surprising part of all was that I did not participate in Fall Rush. During Spring Rush, one of the fraternities on campus actually sought me out and asked me to join. Never in my life had I experienced such genuine affection, care and such a sincere offer of friendship and belonging—and this from an almost entirely all-straight fraternity. I wouldn’t trade my Greek experience as a gay male student at Whitman for anything" (Gender Studies, Gay, Cisgender male, Alum)