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Wellesley is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex students.
The ready support by students, faculty, and staff of Wellesley’s large, active LGBTQ population is one of the most remarkable aspects of our multicultural community. From rainbow “Safe Space” stickers on office doors to out-and-proud First-Year Mentors, Wellesley offers many informal mentoring and advising resources for its LGBTQ students and their allies.
The Stone Center, Wellesley’s counseling service, offers an annual Queer and Questioning discussion group as well as counselors trained in handling LGBTQ issues. The Cultural Advising Network includes a part-time LGBTQ adviser, and Spectrum, Wellesley’s LGBTQ student organization, annually trains students as peer resource counselors.
Student life at Wellesley is distinguished by its openness, a quality appreciated by all students. LGBTQ students at Wellesley participate in all 160+ official student organizations, enroll in all majors, and live in all parts of campus.
Wellesley’s openly queer alumnae carry this diversity of experience forward into the wider world, where they can be found working in public health (Ophelia Dahl DS ’94, president and executive director of Partners In Health), documentary film (Academy Award-winner Debra Chasnoff ’78, president and senior producer at Groundspark), arts and entertainment (Sarah Warn ’96, founder, and Malinda Lo ’96, former managing editor of afterellen.com), and even right on the Wellesley campus.
Any student may choose to take courses like the Cinema and Media Studies Department’s Contemporary Queer Cinema; the several queer literature courses in the English department; or other political science, women’s and gender studies, sociology, or economics courses explicitly about the LGBTQ experience.
LGBTQ students and allies may become members of Spectrum’s executive board and organize lectures, social events, and other programming for the Wellesley community—or just attend them. Highlights of Spectrum’s programming include the annual Faculty-Staff Straight Talk, in which LGBTQ faculty and staff share their experiences with students; events around National Coming Out Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and National Day of Silence; and — of course — Dyke Ball is a Wellesley Tradition that originated as a party for those who could not attend their high school prom with their desired date. Now the party is attended by everyone — gay, straight, female, male ...it's sold out every year with more than 1,000 people dancing the night away in Tishman Commons.
Meanwhile, members of the LGBTQ community can also be found in College Government and playing team sports, writing for campus publications and sitting on the Multifaith Council, singing for a capella groups and burning the midnight oil in the Science Center.
Wellesley for Equality provides the political counterpart to Spectrum. Originally founded during the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Massachusetts, Wellesley for Equality branched out into work around the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ongoing advocacy for transgender rights, and working for an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), among other areas.
Whether you have been out of the closet since your middle-school days, are beginning to question your sexual orientation, or are a friend to those who are, there is support for you in the Wellesley community.
Providing a comfortable, supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex students and their allies is indicative of Wellesley’s serious commitment to nurturing our community’s diversity. After the film screenings, lectures, and social events, the main result of this goal becomes clear: Regardless of your interests, your background, or your sexual orientation, you will find your niche at Wellesley.