Laurier Brantford is strengthening its diversity with an Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) group on campus. Though LGBTQ groups are common in many universities as a part of various diversity programs, it is the first of its kind at Laurier Brantford. Guidance councillor and co-ordinator of the LGBTQ group, Rachel Mahrer, noticed a distinct lack of resouces for LGBTQ students on campus, and hopes to change that with the formation of this group.

“The goal is to have a place where students have a group through which they can talk and connect,” Mahrer said.

Mahrer also hopes the group will create a positive and safe place where students can explore their sexuality and connect with other students to provide peer support and share coping strategies with each other. Mahre is willing to put some control in the hands of members, as she is prepared to discuss what the students want. Tentative discussion topics include coming out, sexual identity, safe sex, and anyother issues that may arise, as well as hosting guest speakers if there’s interest from the group. Through the creation of the group, Mahrer hopes that students will eventually want to to expand and initiate/create LGBTQ groups of thier own, and draw more visability to these issues on campus.

“Students are not talking about it because when there’s nothing out there then you keep it quiet,” said Mahrer. “I’d like to see a lot more signs that there’s support.”

Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender and Questioning group members may be concerned about backlash or even their own safety, which is precisely why the group plans on adhereing to a strict confidentiality agreement, which will be discussed and consensusly agreed apon by all members at thier first meeting. The date, time, and location of the meetings are also kept confidential and are only available through contact with Mahrer. Although members of the Rainbow Centre express graitude and thanks to their group establishment in Waterloo, Mahrer cautions that it’s not for everyone. She recongises the fear that some students may have difficulty talking about their sexual orientation within a group setting, and in such cases one-on-one, family, and relationship counseling is available, as well.

Though this group is run by counseling services and people tend to associate counseling with problems, Mahrer assures students that homosexuality is not a problem.
“We don’t pathologize these issues, we don’t see it as a problem,” Mahrer said.

Contact Counseling Services for more details at 519-756-8228 ext. 5780 or ext. 5889 or send an e-mail to csbrantford@wlu.ca with attention to Rachel Mahrer.

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