Inclusion of the Rainbow

Brittany Wells, Managing Editor

Where and how is the love shown at Kentucky Wesleyan College? Would you consider our campus as being a gender and sexuality embracing campus? Do you think our college, including staff, faculty, and students, demonstrates inclusion towards the lesbian, gay, bi-exual, and transgender community (LGBT)? Inclusion, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.” Notice how I did not ask if our campus “accepts” the LGBT community. Acceptance and inclusion are on opposite ends of the spectrum. When you accept something, according to Webster’s, you believe or come to recognize an opinion or explanation as valid or correct. Acceptance is the first step, where you understand that people have different opinions and live their lives differently. The second step is inclusion, which is the more difficult step. Inclusion involves taking an action, such as making a statement of your acceptance by involving others, regardless of orientation, in activities and groups around campus.

Wesleyan is a smaller school compared to other colleges and universities. Therefore, it is harder for the LGBT community to be included in certain activities around campus. I would like to increase awareness that there is a lack of inclusion for the LGBT community at our college. It is important that Kentucky Wesleyan College provides a safe and loving environment to work and learn, and for staff, faculty and students to feel comfortable with expressing themselves at our college. More love and respect on campus will result in greater inclusion of the LGBT community in Kentucky Wesleyan College daily life. It is important that all are integrated equally and appropriately. The obvious question is, how will we be able to make this happen?

Even though identifying the problem on campus is a start, it will not fix the problem. Therefore, as a college campus and student body, we need to come up with solutions to acclimate and include the LGBT community on campus. One idea was to create a LGBT group on campus in order to get people within the LGBT community, and allies outside of the LGBT community, introduced to each other. Allies are critical to inclusion and support the group and advocate for them to be treated fairly, equally, and respectfully. By getting this accomplished, we can start the conversation about how to improve inclusion on our campus. As a result, we will be able to use inclusion for other minorities and communities as well.