In the 2018 fall semester at CNU, the LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman will roll out new services for LGBTQIA students. Our organization is called “LGBT Campus Support Services” (go to the bottom of this post for information about our 2018 Fall Meet & Greet Event)
In the past, our services were centered around weekly group meetings, in which students shared their experiences, received support from one another, discussed topics of interest, and built a community on campus that supported and affirmed LGBTQIA individuals.
This year we will be adding a 24/7 “warm line”, which students can use to reach someone to talk one-on-one, anonymously and confidentially. If a student prefers talking to someone face-to-face, arrangements can be made to meet the student in a public environment on or off campus. The warm line can be accessed by calling 865-724-7544.
We are adding the warm line so that students who are struggling with orientation/gender identity issues can begin to process their feelings and ask questions. The goal is to reduce students’ anxiety, fear, depression, and any other problems that students might experience as they address orientation/gender identity issues.
So many times a person already knows that they attracted to someone of the same gender. They already know that their physical gender does not jive with their true gender. But making the decision to “come out” can be difficult and frightening. There are so man “what ifs?”. “What if my friends find out?” “What if my family finds out?” “What happens to me at CNU if I come out?” “Does God support His LGBTQIA children?” “How can I know for sure that it’s OK to be myself?”
There are so many questions that people have as they address their orientation. Our warmline is available to you 24/7. All you have to do is call 865-724-7544. We’ll go from there and work with you at your pace.
If you are already “out” as a member of the LGBTQIA community, you can find support and make friends at our “LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman” Facebook page. Just look us up on Facebook. The Facebook page is a closed group so that member’s identities and comments are kept within the group. You can ask to become a member by answering a couple of questions.
We also have an online Facebook page for students. If you would like to join our online Facebook page for CNU students, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll make arrangements for you to be added. You can also send a message to me (Tom Cogburn) on Facebook asking to join the student group.
In addition to the warm line, we hope to be able to re-establish our weekly group meetings. As soon as we are able to find a meeting space that it close to campus, I’ll post the day and time on which the meetings will take place.
I know what it’s like to be a closeted gay man on Carson-Newman’s campus. The pressure to fit in–to be like everybody else can be staggering. The fear of being found out is ever present. These feelings can eat away at you. The energy it takes to remain in the closet can impact your ability to study and participate in school activities. Much of the time you feel alone and confused.
Reach out to us by calling 865-724-7544. I might not have all of the answers that you’re looking for. But sometimes just talking about your fears and concerns–getting them off your chest and out in the open with one other person can really help to take the load off. You might not be ready to kick down the closet door. And that’s fine. We work with you at your pace.
Know that you are important. Know that you are loved. Know that you matter. Know that you are appreciated. Know that you are strong, even when you might not feel very strong.
With God’s help, we can get through anything.
You’re Invited to the 2018 LGBT Campus Support Services Meet & Greet!!
–Saturday, September 15, 2 pm-4 pm
–St. Barnabas Episcopal-Luther Church (807 E. Ellis St. Jefferson City)
–Tons of food and fellowship
–Lots of giveaways to take home