Be the Hero Who Checks the Closet


Author
Anthony Ungaro, NASPA IV-W Gender and Sexuality Knowledge Community Representative

Published
September 25, 2017


As you come into work in the upcoming weeks, store the enthusiasm and smiles in a containment unit much like the ones used in the movie, Monsters, Inc. This positive reserve will be a substance used to awaken the senses. It will be essential to be awake, alert, and advocating.

In the U.S., the current political climate is sending unfortunate ripples through the homes of LGBTQA+ students who come to campus in search of the rooms without monsters in the closet. Whether students come back from the service (which is now being attacked much like Sully and Mike Wazowski), arrive homeless, or come from home sweet homes (like Boo); we must learn to protect those who trust the institution to be a comfort zone. I understand that growth does not happen in the comfort zone, but it is in these times that we need to redefine development to include personal barriers. These blankets might be able to hide faces of those we are supposed to help, but students can still listen. As educators, we are allowed to tell students to wrap themselves in personal fabric to keep warm in the cold environments some seem to experience; however, it is not an excuse to ignore those unseen. As the representative for the Gender & Sexuality Knowledge Community, I want everyone to understand the important roles all campus personnel have in the college experience. We are meant to sew memories and embroider challenges. We are the individuals who advance personal design and teach skills in stitching education to add to these designs rather than mimic the institutions patterns. When the blanket is complete students can utilize the threads outside the twin XLs.

This message is meant to provide a unique perspective towards students who have sewing templates in their respective schedules as well as those who are uncertain about the first materials to use. A new environment will be cold and for LGBTQA+ students, a blanket will continue to shelter them from monsters in the closet. At the institution, we need to use the hottest months to be present and available so that when work becomes hectic and the season becomes cold, students use a blanket to rest, not to hide. With the semester in motion, think about the impact you had today, could tomorrow, and made yesterday. All the doors students enter have different designs and lead to different professionals, but we all have a common purpose to serve…not be a monster in the closet.

When the office is closed, please remember:

1.      It is okay to share a blanket

2.      Everyone is afraid of the monsters in the closet

3.      Laughter is more powerful than fear

4.      The campus is a fort with adventure

5.      Size of the blanket doesn’t impact its usefulness

6.      No one is too old to use a blanket


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