Every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or intersex person has a different coming out experience and chooses a different time to share their identity with friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers. Some GLBTQ individuals may choose to come out during their law school career at Washington and Lee. Therefore, it is important that those of you who are thinking about coming out in law school be aware of the resources available online and at the University itself to help you through this experience. OUTLaw wishes to make sure all of you can feel safe and happy coming out at Washington and Lee.
Resources at W&L:
Washington and Lee University provides counseling services for all of its students, including law students, and this may be one place to start discussions about coming out. The University Counseling staff has experience counseling GLBTQ youth about coming out and other issues, and counseling sessions are completely anonymous. Individual and peer counseling are available, and both are completely anonymous. You can learn more about University Counseling, including how to contact their staff, at http://studentaffairs.wlu.edu/Universitycounseling/index.htm.
A gay Peer Counseling program aimed at providing special peer support for gay/bi/questioning students who may not feel comfortable talking with straight peers about their sexuality. Look for posters around campus.
A weekly peer support group for gay, bi, trans, or questioning undergraduate and law students intended to help provide support and to help students build friendships and a sense of community. Contacts: Kirk Luder, M.D., x8592, firstname.lastname@example.org or Beth Curry, LPC, x4888, email@example.com.
W&L GLBTQ Equality Initiative
If you would feel more comfortable seeking help from sources outside of the law school, then you might consider talking to members and officers of the undergraduate W&L GLBTQ Equality Initiative (GEI). The GEI has guided and comforted many students at the University on their coming out journey, and it is a very welcoming organization for law students as well. The GEI respects the privacy and anonymity of students who are not out and those who simply have questions about their sexuality. You can contact the GEI via their Facebook page.
GLBTQ Resource Center
The Center works to diminish the prejudice that limits the educational experience and safety of GLBTQ community members and others within the university. The Center provides an open, diverse, and safe environment in which all members of the W&L community may explore sexual and gender identity issues and serves as a focal point for campus GLBTQ resources, services, and programs. For additional information, you may wish to visit the GLBTQ website.
OUTLaw members and officers are always willing to help you through the coming out process in any way possible. You can contact any of our officers, including the Executive Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org), the Executive Vice Chair (email@example.com), the Publicity Chairs (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com), the Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Administrative Chair (email@example.com). You can speak with us in person at any time as well as communicate by e-mail or any other contact method listed on the Officers and Contacts section of this website. Any communications you have with us about coming out and other related issues will be kept completely confidential, and we will not share information about you with anyone, even other members or officers of OUTLaw, without your explicit permission.
Online Resources Outside of W&L:
Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
PFLAG is an organization of parents, friends, and families of GLBTQ people who provide support for the GLBTQ community and for those who are considering coming out. PFLAG is a fantastic resource with a lot of information and helpful, practical advice. PFLAG also has many local affiliates who can help you come out in the Lexington region or in your hometown. The PFLAG website is http://www.pflag.org/.
Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is a national organization devoted to achieving equal rights for LGBT individuals. HRC has a helpful section of their website devoted to coming out. You can follow the link to it from their homepage at http://www.hrc.org/.