Information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and/or questioning+ individuals.
We realize that far too many people, institutions and media lump the issues experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning+ individuals into one category, and by doing so create problems of exclusion and generalization. While we continue to seek better, more inclusive approaches and perspectives, we believe it is pertinent to provide information and resources regarding the LGBTQ+ community and its experience of sexual assault.
Sexual assault is devastating to all victims, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, and you may feel reactions that are shared by any gender. Whatever the circumstances of your assault, you may have fears and concerns specifically related to you being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and/or questioning+ in addition to those that any survivor of sexual assault may have. These concerns may not only be about what occurred during the assault, but how you will be treated by the health care and criminal justice systems, your friends, family, and if you are in a relationship, your partner.
Some issues you may be dealing with include:
- Fear of disclosure to friends, family, or employees.
- Fear that your sexual orientation or gender identification will be seen as your central "issue" to health care providers, instead of the assault.
- Concerns that your case will not be taken seriously because of your sexual orientation.
- Your dating or intimate partner was the one who committed the assault.
- Questioning your sexual orientation after the assault.
- Feelings of vulnerability, guilt, or self-blame.
It may be helpful for you to know that you will not be required to disclose your sexual orientation to anyone, unless you choose to do so - even if you visit the emergency room. Regardless of how you feel about your sexuality - still questioning, closeted, or totally "out" - you are entitled to the same sensitive treatment as any other survivor.
If you suspect or know that the assailant knew you were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and/or questioning+ you may want to report the assailant to the Office of Institutional Equity. Should you choose to report the assault to the Department of Public Safety, you may choose to share your orientation, or not.
Above all, it is important to remember that the assault is not your fault. This may be hard to acknowledge if you are still coming to terms with your sexuality or gender identification, or the assailant indicated that they knew of your orientation. Remember, you have the right to services that are non-judgmental and to surround yourself with those who can emotionally support you best through the healing process.
LBGT Student Services Office
The Office of LBGT Student Services provies support, education and advocacy to the WMU campus community to create a more inclusive campus climate for all students, inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our programs provide opportunities for students to meet other LBGTQIA+ and ally student, develop leadership skills, and help make WMU a more welcoming campus for LBGTQIA+ students. The office provides a supportive and inclusive space open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All LBGTQIA+ students, employees, and their allies are invited to drop in to hangout, study, and take advantage of the extensive lending library.
Outspoken is an organization at Western Michigan University comprised of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally students. They focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion as well as being an open, safe space for anyone who would like to join! They focus on the advocacy and well-being of LGBTQ+ students through weekly meetings and special events.
340 S Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
OutFront has a partnership with the YWCA that provides counseling, referrals, and resources. They also have LGBTQ+ resources available and can refer you to doctors and counselors in the area.
LGBT Sexual Assault Victim Advocate/Counselor (269) 345-5595 Ext. 353
629 Pioneer Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Through a partnership between YWCA Kalamazoo and OutFront Kalamazoo, the LGBTQ+ Advocate/Counselor provides sexual assault services, including individual counseling, advocacy, and group counseling to LGBTQ+ focused community organizations such as HIV education and other LGBTQ+ support groups.
FIRE Place is our on-campus support and resource center. The center is a safe place for students that supports survivors and friends of survivors of sexual assault and other bias incidents. From here you can easily reach a network of campus programs, services, offices, and registered student organizations. Caring sexual assault peer educators will assist you and provide direct connections to the most beneficial options as well as help students navigate the resources. The center maintains a collection of resources and educational publications on the topics of sexual assault, bias incidents, and other forms of violence. You may also come to contribute to ongoing healing art and awareness projects.
College of William & Mary Sexual Assault Resources and Education. Web, 2017.
FIRE! Sexual Assault Peer Education, 2017.