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Students sitting together on couches

Meredith Mason 

Throughout the fall semester, faculty, staff, and students participated in programs focused on raising awareness of LGBTQ issues and building an inclusive campus community as Bentley is committed to creating an environment that embraces diversity of opinion and is free from hostility and intolerance.

Guess the Straight Person

Sponsored by Bentley PRIDE (People Respecting Individuality and Diversity through Education), the Residential Center and the LGBTQ Steering committee, this annual program engages Bentley students in a discussion about stereotypes and the profound impact they can have. Over the course of an hour, 15 faculty, staff and students panelists were asked a series of questions to “determine” their sexual orientation. Staff then facilitated an audience discussion about why certain questions were asked and what individuals were trying to derive from asking them. This exercise drove home the message that stereotypes rarely paint an accurate picture.

Trans-cultural Competency Workshop

This on-campus workshop reviewed terminology, statistics and the spectrum and fluidity of gender identity. Facilitated by PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays), participants took part in a in a dialogue to evaluate the effectiveness and accessibility of Bentley’s current programs and services for students, faculty and staff who identify as transgender. The group discussed potential steps departments can take to create a more welcoming and supportive atmosphere for transgender members of the community.

Rainbow Luncheon

The annual Rainbow Luncheon hosted by Bentley PRIDE and the LGBTQ Steering Committee features a prominent national figure making a difference for the LGBTQ population. This year’s event shined the spotlight on keynote speaker Terri Cook, the mother of a child who, after years of nearly fatal adolescent internal struggle, transitioned from female to male. Cook shared her personal story and stressed the critical role ally support programs played for her son and can play for many others struggling with gender identity at a time of incredible fragility. In addition, Cook addressed the need for open and inclusive environments in both social and professional settings and how being your authentic self at work and in your community is the only way to change society’s views on the LGBTQ community. The luncheon also recognized two people from Bentley who have stood in public support of the LGBTQ population and demonstrated their dedication to the pursuit of understanding and acceptance on campus.  This year’s winners of the Rainbow Award were student Kayla Marandola, and Associate Professor of Law Marianne Delpo Kulow. 

Ally Training

Allies are individuals who help create a safe place for our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff, and are some of the most effective and powerful voices of the LGBTQ movement. Bentley’s LGBTQ Steering Committee hosted two workshops this semester for faculty and staff to become allies, adding to the list of 300 faculty and staff allies on campus who have completed a previously held workshop. Not only do allies assist people in the coming-out process, but they also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance and mutual respect. At the end of the workshop, attendees receive a special sticker meant to be posted on an office door to signal to all who enter that it is a safe place to be yourself.