Using technology to support the LGBTQ+ community

This Pride Month, Ohio University’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is excited to celebrate the importance of technology for LGBTQ + students and to share resources with the OHIO community that can help create inclusive and positive learning environments.

Pride Month gives everyone the opportunity to think about how to celebrate and support the LGBTQ + community in our everyday lives. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ +) people, technology plays a crucial role and offers opportunities for identity research and confirmation as well as for connecting with other LGBTQ + people.

Find confirmation and master challenges online

Andy Figueroa (they / them / theirs), a recent OHIO graduate, stated that technology not only enables them to connect with people who share their identities, but also their interests. “By finding other queer POCs [people of color] YouTubers whose online presence is just doing what they love can be very affirming. “

While technology offers connectivity and validation opportunities, virtual spaces also harbor potential dangers. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network “LGBT youth experience almost three times as much bullying and harassment on the Internet as young people without LGBT, but also more support from their peers, access to health information and opportunities for civic engagement. ”

As learning and working shifted online as the pandemic progressed, Ohio University’s efforts to create safe spaces have also evolved.

Dr. Jan Huebenthal (he / he / his), Education Manager at Equitas Health Institute and former Deputy Director of the OHIO LGBT Center, shared how clear it was that the pandemic was sending some students back to an unsupportive home environment that Bobcats continued to support called for an increased focus on the use of technology. The Diversity and Inclusion Department was established Online training Provision of resources, key terms and definitions and strategies to help educators promote inclusive and equitable learning environments in new virtual environments.

“It’s not just about your students feeling well supported,” says Hübenthal. “If you want your students to feel empowered in your classroom, the only way to do that is by signaling that your rooms include everyone.” For example, as a faculty member, adding your identified pronoun to yours Email signature is a way to signal to students that you support them.

Use technology to show your pride

Update your pronouns in university systems

In 2015 the university passed the Preferred Pronouns Policy, which enables students to use their preferred form of self-identification in the My OHIO student center. OHIO faculties and staff can update their preferred name and pronoun by following the steps below:

1. Sign in to My personal information.

2. Click on Personal information, located under My personal information.

3. Click on To update in the Basic Details section.

4. Choose Correct or add to the current information press the Next.

5. Update the Preferred first name and click Next. For example, you can put your pronouns in brackets after your name, such as “Nicole (she / she).”

6. Click on Next to navigate through the remaining pages.

7. Click on Submit.

It may take some time for this change to be reflected on various university platforms such as Outlook or Teams.

For more information on how to reproduce your preferred pronoun, see the FAQ page for registrars.

Use Pride themes in Teams, PowerPoint, and other Microsoft apps

Microsoft released different ways to show your support for Pride Monthincluding:

· Apply a Pride Month theme to your Teams mobile app

· Personalized Edge browser colors and designs

· Pre-made PowerPoint templates

· And other suggestions for transforming Office 365 applications

Take part in virtual OHIO Pride Month events

· Create a pledge of active ally through the Promise of Progress Campaign

· Attend an event, many of which are offered virtually, search the full list on the LGBT Center Pride Month event page