How Campus Pride Gave Me My Life Back
As a student-athlete from a very young age, I was constantly bullied for being different. I was picked on for not looking feminine enough, having a deep voice, and not acting the same way as other girls, among other things. Until I was 21 years old, I was a closeted lesbian, and had extreme difficulty coming to terms with that part of my identity. I got used to brushing it off when I was bullied, and denied that it even bothered me. It wasn’t until I had qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and accepted a scholarship to my dream school for swimming that I really began to feel the weight of that on me. I had reached my highest goals and accomplished things that no one ever expected me to do, but I was unable to excel and make the most of those accomplishments.
Being gay clashed with what I wanted. It posed a threat to my goals, dreams, and relationships. I saw the way that gay athletes and students were treated by some of the people I cared about most in the world, knowing that would be the way they treated me if they knew I was struggling with my identity. Because of this, I battled depression and struggled with school and swimming until I had reached an all-time low. I left my dream school, unable to finish swimming with the team I had wanted to be on since I was just 8 years old. I thought my swimming career and my life as I knew it were over. But I was wrong.
At 21, I came out as an openly gay swimmer after transferring to the University of Arizona. At first I was unsure about how my life was going to change and the negative consequences I might have to face. Soon after, Campus Pride was one of a few organizations that reached out to me. The love, acceptance, and sense of family they shared with me were game changers. After years of feeling hopeless, angry, and frustrated with myself for being different, I began to see that my differences were important.
What I find unique about Campus Pride was the influence they have in so many different areas. Every summer, they have Camp Pride, where LGBTQ students and straight allies from around the U.S. travel to talk about social justice issues and plan to take action on campus. They have tools for assessing campus sports teams and identifying safe places for LGBTQ athletes. They also work to identify LGBTQ friendly colleges and university campuses across the U.S., giving high school students a way to find a campus with safe spaces.
Campus Pride has inspired me in a million and one ways, but mostly they’ve inspired me to do everything in my power to make sure other LGBT athletes don’t feel ashamed of themselves and live with the bad experiences that I had. Campus Pride made me realize that I didn’t deserve the way that I was treated because of my differences, and that I can do good things for others by drawing on my experience.
I can’t stress enough how big of a role Campus Pride has played in my journey. I’m grateful to them for changing the lives of young LGBTQ students who suffer from depression and struggle with bullying the way I did. I give to Campus Pride because I want to give back to an organization that helped give me my life and my self-confidence back. By giving to Campus Pride, we can make sure they’re able to change the lives of LGBTQ youth who might otherwise feel lost.
Campus Pride url: https://www.campuspride.org/
Review from #MyGivingStory
Campus Pride saves lives. Campus Pride is the leading national non-profit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students. I donate my time and dollars to Campus Pride because same-sex marriage did not end the struggle for equity and equality. Prejudice, bigotry and hate continues. Campus Pride believes anti-racism is LGBTQ work. Because of Campus Pride, young leaders are emerging. Former students are emerging now as leaders in roles that impact policy. I give my time and dollars because I see lives changed, paths forged, and missions focused on change. A change for the good of all. A change that normalizes love.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I have been involved with Campus Pride for four years in several different capacities. Every summer I witness students "find themselves" at Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp. It is an awakening and realization that there is truly a place out there where they can find total acceptance and support. The best thing? That support remains AFTER camp. Campus Pride remains in close contact with students, following up on their action plans and discovering the wonderful difference students are making on their campuses. Campus Pride also provides a service to LGBT students by scoring how friendly colleges and universities are via Campus Climate Index. This is important as students leave home and are concerned about safety and feeling welcome. I work with a group of committed individuals that volunteer their time, services and dollars so that Campus Pride can serve LGBT students But the honor is mine.
Campus Pride is an amazing organization that strives to promote and help create safe learning environments for students and faculty alike. I attended Camp Pride, a summer camp for LGBTQ students, faculty and their allies, in Nashville, TN. The camp gave me a whole new perspective on life, teaching me what it means to be a leader inside and outside of the classroom. Camp Pride also taught me the importance of inclusion, respect, and willingness to learn from others. I enjoyed my experience with Campus Pride so much that I decided to give back and become a summer camp Pride Leader. The organization has done an amazing time at showing myself and others that we can make the change we want to see on our college campuses and beyond.
Campus Pride's commitment to informing and serving LGBTQ students and allies has been an inspiration to me since my first involvement with the organization more than a year ago. I have been able to see the true impact that this non profit has through its Campus Climate Index, LGBT-Friendly College Fair program, and its summer leadership camp. By reaching out to students and campuses across the US, Campus Pride is building a strong network of individuals who will be the next leaders of the community, bringing us into a new era of acceptance, recognition, and equality.
My work with Campus Pride, Inc. has truly changed my life. I started volunteering with the Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp in 2010 and had an amazing experience. An experience that opened my eyes to the challenges and opportunities that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and ally (LGBTQIA) students can face while attending a college. The Summer Leadership Camp provides undergraduate (and now administrators and advisors) with the skills, tools, and know-how to create change on their college campuses and within their local communities. This will be my third year volunteering at the Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp and I am still amazed at the great work that is done by this organization and its staff and volunteers. Campus Pride, Inc. has also been an invaluable resource. My college won the bid to host a regional conference for LGBTQIA youth and Campus Pride, Inc. not only sponsored the event but the organization also sent resource and people-power to help us coordinate and create a phenomenal conference for over 500 participants and over 1,000 community members. I will never forget the faces of the students at Camp who felt accepted and validated by this organization. Campus Pride, Inc. allows students to celebrate who they are. Campus Pride, Inc. works for those who have felt invisible all their lives and empowers young people to embrace their differences and to be change-agents who work tirelessly to protect others and create campuses and communities that are safe, inclusive, and have the capacity to care for and serve all students regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The work that Campus Pride, Inc. does is incredible. This organization is truly an inspiration and I am so proud to be included as a volunteer and to be affiliated with a not-for-profit that gives back to others and works to make higher education and the world at large a better place for LGBTQIA youth.
I first got introduced to Campus Pride when I attended Camp Pride, a week long summer leadership camp for LGBTQ and allied college students, in July 2009. I know from my own experience attending Camp Pride that I no longer felt alone. Campus Pride helped shape me as a student leader on campus. It transcended my horizons on my own identity as a disabled, male of color and my power, privilege and oppressions as a gay identified student of color on a predominately white institution. Camp Pride allowed me to meet other students who shared the same issues, challenges, and frustrations as a leader. After camp, I felt empowered, more than ever. The resources and fundamental tools learned at camp provided me with hope and ambition as a leader. I would not be the amazing leader I am today, without such organization as Campus Pride. Because of camp, I went back to my respective campus with a renewed focus on campus organizing and student-run programming. Additionally, I had the opportunity to give back to Campus Pride as a Pride Leader in 2011, and will be returning again in 2012. Campus Pride is by far, one of the best national resources out there. Whereas demonstrated through their summer leadership camp, Campus Climate Index, multiple publications and books, or their effective communication and delivery skills, they continue to reach diverse populations and colleges and universities. Campus Pride is in my opinion, one of the greatest resources I have seen to date, and is a force to be numbered---I am proud to be a Camp Pride Alum 2009.
This year will be the third in which I have been a keynoter at Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp, and the second year in which I've served on its faculty. Normally, I am well paid for my work, but I am so convinced of the value of this experience for college students from across the United States that I donate a week of my life every year, and I have even made financial contributions to keep camp going! The gift of being able to witness the life-changing experiences of each year's Campers -- especially those who come from from schools or communities that do not give them much support -- makes it well worth my time.
I first got involved with Campus Pride when I went to Camp Pride, a summer leadership camp for LGBTQ college students, in July 2010. Camp was a completely transformative experience that made me more confident as a leader and equipped me with the skills and knowledge to make change on my campus. I went back to camp as a Pride Leader in 2011 and will be back again in 2012. I've also helped out with Campus Pride's college fairs and as a summer fellow for the last month. Campus Pride is really a one-of-a-kind organization doing invaluable work with/for LGBTQ students. My experience at camp inspired me to make real change on my campus (culminating in a new LGBTQ Office), and I know of many similar stories from other campers. The work that Campus Pride does with students today is benefiting campuses all across the country and the wider LGBTQ movement as a whole.
As an alumni of Campus Pride's Summer Leadership Program 2011, I am very pleased to say that I fully support the work and dedication of this organization to the LGBTQ community all that it represents. They work hard to provide opportunity, experiences, leadership, engagement, information, and resources to college students, faculty, and the public on a number of levels. The Executive Director Shane Windmeyer is among the most generous and helpful people I've met; the organization's coalitions, partners, and donors are also all wonderful people and organizations to work with. I had a lovely experience with this organization and I encourage anyone interested in resources for college-related LGBTQ information or resources to get in touch with them. They are by far the best resource I've seen to date. Whether demonstrated through their summer Leadership Program, Campus Climate Index, innumerable publications, or their effective communication and delivery abilities, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Campus Pride is an amazing organization! They do so much for LGBT college students. They have so many resources for LGBT students including a college search guide, how to stand up against bullying, and an LGBT camp called Camp Pride, among many other things. I am a Nonprofit Administration minor and hope to work for an LGBT nonprofit one day, and I can safely say that Campus Pride is one of the best LGBT nonprofits around. When I was looking for a university to do my undergraduate work at, I used Campus Pride's school search to find an LGBT friendly school near me. I could see the amenities the school provided to LGBT students to know if it was the right school for me. I was able to pick a school where LGBT students felt safe, where there was an LGBT Resource Center, and much more thanks to Campus Pride's information. I'm getting ready to search for schools for my graduate work, and I know that I will be using Campus Pride's resource once again. I also was a participant in Camp Pride (2011). Camp Pride is a fantastic week-long camp for LGBT college students. I was able to meet so many great people, share resources, and be motivated to make a positive change on my campus. During Camp Pride, the students make an Action Plan to bring back to their campuses on an issue they'd like to see taken up at their school. For some, that was getting an LGBT Resource Center, having an LGBT non-discrimination policy, or getting transgender inclusive housing. For me, my action plan was to implement an LGBT peer mentorship program on my campus. I'm happy to say that with the courage, resources, and knowledge I gained from Camp Pride, the mentorship program at my school will be starting in the fall (2012). At the beginning of Camp Pride, a faculty member told us all that the experience would be life-changing. I was skeptical, but by the end, I knew it was true. I was amazed at how much Camp Pride really has changed my life and will continue to change my life. I am going back to be a Pride Leader at Camp Pride this year so that I can give back, but also continue to grow as an LGBT leader. Camp Pride was one of the best experiences I've ever had, and I've met lifelong friends through it. I would encourage every LGBT student leader to go to camp. Campus Pride is a fantastic organization. I cannot say enough good about the work they do.