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Queer at Bryn Mawr, really a rainbow?

Queer at Bryn Mawr, really a rainbow?

Presentation by Cecilia, Elena and Aayzah

Bryn Mawr College, as a woman college, has a higher acceptance level of queer community than a lot of coeducational institutions. We are concerned about the views of Bryn Mawr students about it’s LGBTQIA+ community, and ways in which the college could be made more LGBTQIA+ friendly. One of the additional dimensions of our projects is how different aspects of one’s identity clash with their sexual orientation and gender identity. Going off of what we learnt about M. Carey Thomas in the Black at Bryn Mawr tour, we are intrigued by how progressive people can be in one aspect and equally, if not more, regressive in another. She was openly homosexual, in a time when it was viewed as a tabboo to not be hetrosexual, yet she was also blatantly racist. We wanted to see whether such contradictions exist on our campus. For the purpose of our project, we attended the events administered for LGBTQIA+ Month, conducted surveys, and interviewed hetrosexual, non hetrosexual, transgender and cisgender students.

Following are some of the questions we asked our interviewees:

  • What are your pronouns and your sexual orientation? 

  • Did you have any negative experience at Bryn Mawr regarding your sexuality? 

  • Do you think the Bryn Mawr community is LGBTQ+ friendly? 

  • What are the general views of the community about transgender people or people who are not heterosexual? 

  • What are your views on people or communities who do not accept non traditional sexuality?

  • Do you know people who came to Bryn Mawr just because it is a generally more accepting place?

  • To what extent is there cultural diversity within the LGBTQ community at Bryn Mawr?

  • Are there any aspects of your identity that people view to be clashing with your sexual orientation and gender identity?

  • Opinions on college accepting transgender men?

    In our survey, we found out some information that we never imagined. Although we knew Bryn Mawr is generally considered a community accepting of LGBTQIA+ students, we could not have thought that approximately 27% of student respondents of our survey applied for Bryn Mawr college because of its acceptance level of queer community. Moreover, we also found that despite being a LGBTQIA+ friendly community, our faculty members sometimes lack awareness about such matters, and this can be disconcerting for students. Unfortunately, the contradiction we had observed in the character of M. Carey Thomas, is also present in many queer members of our college, and we plan on discussing this in detail in our presentation.