Social Justice and Advocacy
Statement On Gender Diversity
We, the members of the Bowling Green State University Counseling Center staff, are committed to providing affirming care for students of all gender identities and expression.
Many social environments (families, friends, institutions) have become increasingly welcoming to those who don’t identify as cisgender, and many gender-diverse individuals have good social supports. However, we also recognize that gender-diverse individuals can experience unique stressors that may present challenges to mental health and wellbeing. Examples include feeling unsafe, worries about not being accepted, feeling unsupported or misunderstood, being misgendered, discrimination, transphobic bullying and violence, and pressure to conform.
We want you to know that whether you’re seeking counseling for gender-related concerns or for something entirely unrelated, we are available as a resource for you. And we are dedicated to helping foster a climate that is safe and affirming for ALL students on campus and within the community.
We provide services that can support you, including:
· Counseling for a variety of concerns, related or not related to gender identity
· Letters of support for gender-affirming medical and legal services
· Referrals for gender-affirming healthcare and other services
The Counseling Center encourages all students, staff, and faculty to foster a more gender-inclusive environment on our campus. Regardless of your own gender identity and expression, here are some things you can do:
· Learn more. Educate yourself about gender diversity.
· Listen. The voices and experiences of gender-diverse individuals matter.
· Use gender-neutral language (i.e. they/them, everyone, folks, y’all, siblings, Mx rather than Mr/Ms) in your classrooms, syllabi, social spaces…
· When you introduce yourself, share your pronouns. This creates space for others to share theirs if they wish.
· Include your pronouns in your email signature.
· Consider placing visual cues of allyship in your physical space.
The BGSU LGBTQ+ Resource Center is another great resource for our gender diverse students. Their website can be found at: https://www.bgsu.edu/equity-diversity-and-inclusion/lgbt-resource-center.html
“I would like them [the public] to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.” -- Andreja Pejic, in an interview with Vogue, 2014
Racism continues to be pervasive in our society and can take many forms. It can be seemingly subtle or quite overt. It is evident in discriminatory behaviors, hate crimes, microaggressions, and systemic oppression. Recent national events have demonstrated examples of how racist acts can disconnect communities, separating groups of people due to stereotypes, prejudices, and privilege. As a campus community, racism impacts us all by threatening our learning environment, personal safety and respect for one another.
We, the members of the Bowling Green State University Counseling Center staff, believe that it is important to recognize the systemic racism and oppression that impacts people of color and our communities. Reaction among those who have witnessed, observed, and/or experienced acts of racism can vary markedly. Responses may include sadness, fear, outrage, a sense of helplessness, disbelief, and a feeling of endangerment; as well as a desire to do something in reaction to these events. You may have questions and concerns about difficult topics, such as racism, systemic discrimination, oppression, white privilege, guns, policing, violence, protests, riots, social justice, mental health and more. We want you to know that we are available as a resource for you, and we are dedicated to helping foster a climate that is safe and affirming for all students on campus and within the community.
The BGSU Counseling Center believes that it is important to name, speak out, and speak up in response to racist acts. As a staff committed to promoting the wellbeing of BGSU’s students, we will continue to evaluate how we can best serves as a safe support for students in their time on campus and beyond. We want to engage in and support continued dialogue about how to facilitate positive change in race relations on both an individual and systemic level. The BGSU Counseling Center is one of several resources that are available to students to discuss their reactions, experiences, and thoughts about race relations in the United States. We encourage you to seek safe people and spaces to identify and process your own reactions. Other resources include:
The Bowling Green State University Counseling Center (BGSU CC) wants to directly acknowledge the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have been murdered by police officers due to a society that has been centered around and benefited from racism. These ongoing and most recent public atrocities are disturbing to all of us and devastating to Black communities. Continued exposure to the trauma of racial violence combined with systems of racism that deny justice and accountability for those events pose a significant risk for Black people and can lead to elevated fear, anger, rage, hypervigilance, fatigue, and hopelessness. We at the BGSU CC express our support of Black mental health and solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are committed to providing a safe, affirming and validating space for those impacted by racial trauma to discuss their experiences.
For those of us who do not experience the everyday reality of on-going racism, it can be difficult to know what to do and what responsibility one should have in addressing it. These reactions should not serve as an excuse or a reason for inaction, but instead foster more intentional engagement with Black communities and service in efforts to change systems that have historically benefited White people. Effective change can only occur when all White people and non-Black people of color accept the ways in which they perpetuate racism and systemic oppression in our culture and commit to specific actions to interrupt these patterns. This will require painful reflection, a redistribution of power and privilege in our society, and a willingness to look at parts of ourselves that are not appealing. Counseling Center staff commit to not letting this stop us from joining in the myriad of efforts intended to bring about real and lasting change in our society. Specifically, we commit to remaining attentive to instances of racism (both at the individual and systemic levels) and engaged with members of Black communities to contribute to their efforts to eliminate racism. We will listen to the narratives of Black people in our country. We will speak out against racism at all levels. We will seek to use our unearned power and privilege to amplify the voices that go unheard because of racism. We will engage in ongoing evaluation to ensure that we remain a supportive resource for those negatively impacted by racism.
We invite and hope that others will join us in this commitment.
Things you can do:
- Continue to educate yourself on issues of racism and social injustice
- Continue to educate the people around you - this is also emotional labor
- Donate to a bail fund
- Donate medical supplies
- Donate food and water to feed and hydrate community organizers and/or protestors
- Volunteer to supply food and water for community organizers and/or protestors
- Pick-up people from protest hot-zones if they need it
- Support Black-owned businesses within your community
- Offer to watch little kids if their parents are organizers and need to be on the front line
- Donate directly to frontline people and organizations and stay connected with them
- Write articles and blog posts
- Call your representatives and sign petitions calling for justice
- Organize within your workplace and your community for Anti-Racist practices
- LISTEN TO PEOPLE OF COLOR, ESPECIALLY BLACK, INDIGENIOUS, PEOPLE OF COLOR (BIPOC)
Additional Resources for Involvement and/or self-education:
Please visit for additional resources.
Happy Pride Month! This is a time for celebration of our LGBTQ+ identities and the significant contributions the members of our community have made. It is also an opportunity to honor, acknowledge, and educate ourselves about LGBTQ+ history.
LGBTQ+ culture and history are not typically passed down from generation to generation in the same way that may occur in families regarding country of origin, religion, language, food, and other forms of cultural knowledge and values. For this reason, it is important that we celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and our shared history, especially during Pride Month. In a time of political strife and polarized views, we at the Counseling Center hope to build a loving community for all LGBTQ+ identities. We also acknowledge and celebrate the activism work done by transgender women of color whose work paved the way for the gay rights movement. If you’d like to know more about this history, here are a few links you might find helpful:
All of us at the BGSU Counseling Center are committed to providing affirming care. In addition to the Counseling Center, the BGSU LGBTQ+ Resource Center is another great resource for our queer-identified students. Their website can be found at: https://www.bgsu.edu/equity-diversity-and-inclusion/lgbt-resource-center.html
“I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists”
- President Barak Obama
We, the members of the Bowling Green State University Counseling Center staff, are deeply concerned about how the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is adversely impacting many members of our campus community. What we know is that 72% of DACA recipients are in higher education. The national debate over DACA is causing psychological harm, including anxiety, depression and isolation that directly effects the lived experiences of BGSU Dreamers and their families and loved ones. We encourage all students, staff and faculty to examine how they can best help those impacted including providing supportive spaces, helping to provide access to resources and keeping in mind the real consequences of this decision on our learning community.
We value all students because of the richness that diverse perspectives and experiences bring. We want BGSU Dreamers to know that we are available as a resource for you, and we are dedicated to helping foster a climate that is safe and affirming for ALL students on campus and within the community.
Below are a few website resources available:
In an effort to promote unity and an appreciation for diversity on campus and in the surrounding community, we would like to express our empathy and support. The BGSU Counseling Center wants to acknowledge a range of reactions to recent local and national events including excitement, joy, relief, fear, sadness, anger, dread, hopelessness, anxiety, and numbness. You may find yourself within a circle of friends or classmates who do not share the same reactions as you. These interactions may evoke strong emotions and questions and may intensify your reactions. In addition, some of you may have concerns about going home for the break and how to manage these feelings and reactions.
We are here to listen in a nonjudgmental manner. If you are struggling with the personal impact, tone of the discussions, or if you are experiencing negative treatment, threats or more subtle forms of oppression because of your race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, political affiliation, country of origin or other aspect of your identity, please utilize our call-in services if you wish to start engaging in services (M-F 10:00am-4pm, 104 College Park). Also, we always have a counselor available in case of an emergency. These services are available during the break as well (except for holidays).
The BGSU Counseling Center provides a safe space for discussions on identity, empowerment, and intercultural competency. As this may be a highly emotional time, we recommend several strategies to care for yourself and help you remain productive throughout finals week and into next semester:
Acknowledge your feelings: check your emotional state before you engage in conversations. Are you in a space to dialogue?
Focus on tasks or events that are in your control
Connect with friends, family, a community, or safe space to ground and support you
Focus on the present and shifting away from the future focus
Monitor your media use—check your reactions before and after taking in the information; set time limits
Opt out of unproductive conversations. Pay attention to whether the discussion is going to benefit anyone or just increase stress levels
Take care of basic needs such as eating, sleeping, drinking water, playing, and laughing. Incorporate activities that recharge you and relax you every day.
Volunteer for an organization that supports your values and interests on or off campus
Utilize self-care apps such as Breathe2Relax (iPhone, Android); Mindshift (iphone, Android); Stop, Breathe, Think (iPhone, Android); Headspace (iPhone, Android); Virtual Hope Box (iPhone, Android)