Kent State Grows In Acceptance and Prepares for Future
College can be a major time of adjustment and finding oneself which can be hard for some people, especially for first year students. However there are some who come into college knowing exactly who they are and where they want to go with life and Alex Weaver is one of those people.
Alex Weaver is a freshman studying computer animation and game design at Kent State University and identifies within the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community. He identifies as both asexual and gay which can be confusing to whose who do not know what those terms mean.
According to GLAAD, a media group that monitors everything published about the LGBTQ community, asexual is “used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction” and gay is “used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex.”
Preferring to be addressed as “he” or “they” instead of the “she” pronoun given at birth, Alex Weaver went through with a name change before coming to college.
“I changed my name from Alexa to Alex. It cost a lot of money but it didn’t take that long. I started it at the beginning of June and was done around the end of June,” Alex Weaver said.
Besides wanting to change his name so it was closer to what he identified with, Alex Weaver has never struggled with his identity and over time those closest to him have come to accept it.
“Our mom is pretty fine with it and our grandma is fine with it as well,” Baylee Weaver, Alex’s twin sister, said. “With our brother and our dad they’re more conservative with their views, so they aren’t against it they’re just weird about it.”
However by having a family that understands, Alex Weaver’s experience may differ from that of other students at Kent State.
According to the director of the LGBTQ student center, Ken Ditlevson, “Sometimes students run into families that are not as supportive. Students have had their families just completely turn their back on them, those are heart wrenching situations.”
On top of the support from his family, Alex Weaver is looking forward to being a part of more clubs and student organizations specifically through the LGBTQ center.
“I am a part of clubs for it [the LGBTQ student center] but I don’t really use it as a resource,” Alex Weaver said. “I might go there just to hang out, because it’s really nice there and I’ve tried to get more involved with PRIDE! Kent.”
Besides the group PRIDE! Kent there are four other major LGBTQ groups on campus and they are Kings and Queens of Kent State, Transfusion, Threads and Q-Grads. Each group is different but all aim to help students feel that they are accepted and belong, something that Kent State hasn’t always offered.
“When I was a student at Kent State there was one group, PRIDE! Kent, and if you didn’t fit into that you didn’t fit in,” Ditlevson said. “So we are thankful that in addition to the center there are these other opportunities for students who are a part of the community to get involved.”
With progress being made not only at Kent State but also out in the professional world, people like Alex Weaver are being more accepted by society. Alex has an open mind of what his future may hold and so do some of the people who support him.
“Whenever I ask you [Alex Weaver] what you want to do you’re always kinda like ‘I don’t know, I just want to draw,’” Baylee Weaver said. “But it’s a good passion to have and I think you’ll be happy no matter what.”
Though Kent State has evolved on topics related to the LGBTQ community there is still more work to be done to help students not only feel accepted on campus but to feel prepared for their future endeavours.
“It’s a different day thankfully, so just making sure that we’re not falling back to the whole stereotypes of what it means to be a man or a woman or what it means to dress that way, but being cognisant that we need to equip our students to be successful in the professional world,” Ditlevson said.