With the onset of New Student Orientation this week, The University Star editorial board feels it is important to encourage all incoming freshmen or transfers to feel free to be themselves and know that Texas State is a safe, comfortable environment to do so.
Texas State students, faculty and staff work hard to foster an accepting, welcoming environment for all Bobcats. Many faculty members and student leaders undergo training in order to properly serve the diverse groups of students that call Texas State home, in addition to professors and administrators.
There are many student groups on campus here to provide support to their fellow Bobcats and a countless number of clubs and organizations that cater to people from all walks of life.
While this acceptance is extended to all people, Texas State has made exceptional efforts to be inclusive of LGBTQIA students. The Ally program is stronger than ever, and groups such as Lambda, Trans*cend, Bobcat PRIDE and Bobcat Equality Alliance, for example, are all safe places for LGBTQIA students to connect with others that may share the same experiences as them.
While everyday acceptance of LGBTQIA people is arguably much more common than in previous years, one of the areas that is only just begun to be breached is athletics. However, the recent publicity aimed at openly gay athlete Michael Sam should serve to encourage students and remind them that it is okay to live the life that best suits them.
Sam decided to come out before he was drafted to the NFL so the team that chose to draft him would know exactly who he was as a person. Doing so required immense courage and did not come without some backlash but the support was more overwhelming than the hate.
Sam’s example should serve as encouragement to all LGBTQIA students who are struggling with the decision of whether or not to reveal their sexual orientation. It takes an immeasurable amount of courage to be true to oneself, but all Bobcats should feel certain that they will be accepted and welcomed at Texas State.
This university welcomes students from all backgrounds and walks of life, and athletics is not any different. The editorial board is confident any openly LGBTQIA athlete wanting to attend Texas State would be welcomed to the Bobcat family with open arms just like the rest of the population.
In fact, any incoming students should feel comfortable enough to be themselves. Seeing the recent string of athletes and stars deciding to come out and own who they are should be empowering to all.
College is the time and place for students to figure out who they are and blossom into well-rounded adults. No one should be afraid to be themselves, regardless of who that might be. The editorial board encourages all students to feel safe to be the person they want to be and know their fellow Bobcats will be there to support them no matter what.