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(Graphic/Brandon Dudley)

Hi there. I’m Vesper, and I’m a nonbinary lesbian! I’m entering my fourth — and final — year at UGA, and from one LGBTQ person to another, I’d like to share some insight on navigating college and the world, especially given the circumstances the pandemic has provided us.

I, like many other people and maybe even yourself, had a lot of time for introspection and came out queerer on the “other side.” If you are young, newly out or both, my biggest piece of advice would be to get involved with the local LGBTQ community.

Why? Because of the pandemic, a lot of young and newly out people have only navigated their identity in an online setting. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of harmful discourse resurface and divide the community again.

But this is almost entirely exclusive to online spaces.

In public settings, there’s no “exclusionist” this, or “identity policing” that, or a lot of the upsetting things that occur online. It’s simply not tolerated, and as someone who spent two years hiding from the LGBT Resource Center here because of online discourse, I am begging you to not waste as much time in fear.

I also encourage you to learn more about the history of our community, which again, the LGBTRC is perfect for. There are shelves stuffed with books to read about our livelihoods, all of which are valuable insight to anybody, but especially to the young and newly out.

Of course, this is all under the premise of not only UGA moving back toward in-person classes, but that you can also participate safely. While I believe interacting in public spaces is crucial to forming your queer identity, please use discretion.

If you can’t go out, the LGBTRC has hosted a number of Zoom-based events that I would encourage you to participate in.

And if you’re on campus, stop by and hang out! It’s on the second floor of Memorial Hall, and one of the coziest lounges on campus. You might even see me there!

Vesper H., They/Them/Theirs

Class of 2021

This article was first published in The Red & Black's fall 2021 UGA 101 special publication. 

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