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Lean in close now, I have a secret for you. Keep this on the down-low, but there are gay people at this school. Not only that, but there are bisexuals, pansexuals, transgenders, genderqueers, bois and maybe even a few straight men (at least that’s what I hear).
Webster University seems notorious for having the entire spectrum of orientations and identities: a melting pot. I don’t know who came first, Webster or the gays. Was it a ‘if you build it, they will come’ type of situation? Regardless, they have congregated into a Webster bubble, and it’s beneficial for every single one of us.
I heard a tale about a friend of a friend who grew up Christian in southern Alabama. It was only when she came to Webster that she understood the breed known as homosexuals even existed. She didn’t deny their existence; she had just never met one of them. Let’s just call her Alabama. Young adults like Alabama are out there and are not at fault for being at a disadvantage. Webster provides training wheels for students like Alabama by introducing them to characters from the whole rainbow. Let’s just say that at Webster, for every Alabama, there is a New York.
What they didn’t tell you on the tour: Webster’s environment induces and then cushions culture shock. The melting pot aspect of Webster wasn’t marketed to me during enrollment, it wasn’t revealed at orientation and there certainly were not pamphlets cautioning me on who awaited.
I chose Webster unaware of the diversity in sexual orientations and identities. I noticed them when I became a member of the student body, and that’s how it should be. The sooner people inside Webster’s bubble refrain from advertising orientations, labels and identities, the sooner we won’t need them beyond Webster. It’s only as big of a deal as we make it.
Like most college students, I have changed in my first two years but not quite in the way I expected. At my all-girls, Catholic high school I wore a uniform with my hair in a braid every single day. When I should’ve been figuring out my identity, I was sheathed in tartan plaid.
In 2011, when my first day of college rolled around on that fateful August 19, I could be anyone I wanted. As I slipped into Webster’s population, I realized no one minded what I wore or if I was gay or straight. On the days I wake up feeling like wearing tights and a skirt, tights and a skirt it is. On other occasions, slouchy skinnies, high-tops and a boy’s tee will do just fine.
Had I attended a different school, there’s a high chance I wouldn’t have discovered my gender bending uniform, and I certainly wouldn’t have accepted it. The community here allowed me to be whoever I felt like being. Not only does Webster allow it, it’s embraced, encouraged even. So, keep an eye out for those gays I warned you about. They might just surprise you.
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