By: Leah Alsept
University of Findlay student Nathan Bourne says he has put in a lot of work during his time at UF. Not just in the classroom, but in the community as well.
“While I’m happy with what I’ve done at Findlay and the changes that I’ve made at Findlay, if I ever do look back and say, ‘yeah, like that was good,’” Bourne said. “But I really don’t know how frequently I’ll look back.”
Bourne is a fifth year Pharmacy student, LGBTQ activist, and swimmer. He is currently on the LGBTQ Programs Initiative Committee, where he works alongside other LGBTQ community members and allies to raise awareness about LGBTQ issues on campus.
The committee has funded UNITED’s yearly trip to the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC), offers Oiler Ally Training to Residence Life, faculty, and students, hosts SafeZone training for employees, had LGBTQ Ally patches sewn to athletic bags, and has secured a table at the City of Findlay’s annual Pride celebration.
Recently, the committee was able to work with OC3 to put up QR code stickers indicating where gender-neutral bathrooms are on the university’s campus.
“But sometimes I almost feel like me wearing a crop top and makeup to the bar – so people see a man doing that – makes people think a whole lot more than that QR code,” he said, reflecting on the stereotypical behavior of a gay man. “I feel like when people think of like gay people, they think of the flamboyant, like bouncing off the walls.”
So when Bourne goes out and wears a crop top and makeup and talks about sports or changing his oil with guys, he sees them realize that not all gay people are ‘like that’ he says.
Bourne participates in an activity during Ally Training which helps simulate the coming out experience.
“There was probably 50 or 60 people in the room and we did the star activity and that one always chokes me up just because I have a close relationship with it,” Bourne said.
The star activity during Ally Trainings shows participants how it feels to lose relationships between friends, family, and coworkers when someone comes out as LGBTQ.
“So there was not a single RA that was a part of the LGBTQ community,” Bourne said. “Like every single person in there never had to once think in their life what it would be like to be a minority. It was, very powerful for them to like finally think about it.”
He also reaches out to people to talk with them one-on-one about the LGTQ community.
“Right now, my basis is more on a person to person,” Bourne said. “I think the personal approach, especially somewhere like Findlay is just more powerful at this point in time.”
Still, between all of the achievements made and minds changed, Bourne knows there’s still more work to be done; inside and outside the University of Findlay community.
“It is actually insane how much progress that the human race has made within the past century in terms of LGBTQ stuff. But it’s also crazy how far we still have to go to get there.”