Imagine coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or two-spirit to your family and/or friends — only to find that the people who have been there for you all along no longer support you emotionally or financially.
It’s a harsh reality, among many others that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and other students have to deal with. While June is national Pride Month, Michigan State University wants the LGBTQIA+ community to know there are resources available year round to help them cope with what can be an emotionally charged and stressful time.
One of those resources is the Unconditional Love Fund, or ULF, through the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, or GSCC, at MSU. The fund helps students who are facing financial hardships associated with their sexual and/or gender identity.
On Saturday, the GSCC, Women’s Student Services and other campus organizations will hold a 5K run/walk/stroll at the MSU Rock to help raise money to support the ULF.
“MSU is proud to support student success through a culture that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “The Unconditional Love fund is utilized by many LGBTQIA+ students who may be facing personal and financial difficulties.”
Student success is one of the foundations of MSU’s 2030 Strategic Plan — Empowering Excellence, Advancing Equity and Expanding Impact. The ULF supports student success by providing some financial assistance for LGBTQIA+ students. The ULF can mean the difference between whether a student pays rent, buys groceries or goes to a doctor’s appointment — all things that allow students to learn and thrive in an inclusive and equitable academic environment.
“The Unconditional Love Fund has a direct impact on the lives of our LGBTQIA+ students,” said Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett. “It provides support and acknowledges the broad and unique challenges faced by many members of our community. This past year, we started offering gender-inclusive housing options and conducted an all-gender restroom design study at the university.”
The ULF relies exclusively on donor generosity, most of which comes from individual gifts. The GSCC has been able to fulfill all qualifying requests for funds from students, but in order to keep serving LGBTQIA+ students on campus, ongoing contributions to the fund are necessary.
“Many LGBTQIA+ Spartans face unique financial hardships due to homophobia, transphobia and intersecting oppressions. By accessing the Unconditional Love Fund, students can receive the support they need in a safe environment that is respectful and affirming of their identities,” said GSCC Coordinator Morgan Doherty.