crazyscience324b21: I passed by this office a few times this past school year. What exactly is the purpose of this organization?
Brittany here! And your name is Brittani too, how cool is that :P
Well, to put it simply, we are the only LGBTQ* resource center on campus. We have free condoms, books, films, CDs, and community resources for interested students. We also provide a safe space on campus for anyone to feel welcome. We also provide information on community resources!
We host/co-host events, table at other organizations’ events, participate in rallies, and work to promote a more accepting and safe campus for all students.
We accept volunteers from the community and student body, so if you’re interested shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’d be happy to get you all set up!
And of course, if you have any other questions or want to know more, don’t hesitate to ask!
Anonymous: It would be really cool if we could have actors/actresses that portray different sexualities. I'm personally a fan of Orphan Black and Tatiana Maslany who plays many characters including a lesbian and transexual.
We’ve been throwing the ball around a lot about who we could get to come speak. We had Laverne Cox come speak, by way of the SAB, and it was absolutely wonderful! We’re trying to see what we can work out, but definitely keep your ears on for announcements (like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter!)
'Love' literally wins in Kentucky! A federal judge, appointed by a Republican president, has struck down the state's marriage ban in 'Love v. Beshear.' A stay has been issued. Click “like” and share to celebrate this step forward: http://bit.ly/1pTrx1w
Anonymous: Can you explain what the Cass model is? I've heard a lot about it but I'm not quite sure that I understand it...
B here! I’ll try my best to explain the Cass Identity Model in laymen’s terms.
The Cass Identity Model was introduced by Vivienne Cass in 1979. It was one of the first models regarding sexual identity that didn’t treat gay people as diseased, but instead as normal people in a heteronormative, heterosexist, and homophobic culture. One of the issues that comes with this model’s original phrasing is the seeming disregard of the coming out process of those who do not identify as strictly gay or lesbian (ace,bi,pansexual,demisexual,omnisexual,etc)
It is made up of 6 steps: Identity Confusion, Comparison, Tolerance, Acceptance, Pride, and Synthesis. We’ll go over each step, yeah?
Identity Confusion: this is the step where people generally actively notice they are having feelings for/towards someone that no longer would allow them to identify as “straight.” In most cases, there is a sense of turmoil and confusion when considering the question “could I be gay?” Responses can often be self-denial and avoiding lgbtq* information, or self-alienation to “deal with the situation.” People in this stage often find support and peace in the recognition that sexuality and sexual behavior occurs along a spectrum, and will need to feel allowed to be uncertain when it comes to understanding sexual identity.
Identity Comparison: this is the step when people will begin to accept the possibility of identifying as something other than heterosexual. They’ll also begin to examine the wider implications of this change and start to think “maybe this does apply to me.” There is often some compartmentalization of their sexuality- accepting lgbtq* behavior while maintaining a heterosexual identity, often telling themselves “it’s just this one person that makes me feel this way” or “it’s only temporary”. It is important during this time that research is done on sexuality and lgbtq* resources, as self-alienation can shift into full-blown isolation.
Identity Tolerance: this is when a person would often begin to come to terms with the fact that they might not be straight. “I’m not the only one struggling with this” brings comfort as they start to seek out other lgbtq* individuals. There can be experimentation of several different stereotypes within their identifying community. It is important to help anyone in this step of identifying positive lgbtq* community connections and resources and to provide support as there may also be some expression of grief in past beliefs influenced by internalized homophobia and heterosexism from the culture they were raised in.
Identity Acceptance: this is the stage when one accepts themselves and their changing sexual identity as something positive. Contact and involvement with the lgbtq* community will increase. Contact with the heterosexual community may start to diminish some in this stage. They may often start to blend in to the lgbtq* culture/community. The first, key disclosures come during this step, and there needs to be support for those who are comfortable enough to disclose.
Identity Pride: this stage, where the majority of coming out occurs, is the most out-loud stage of dealing with sexual identity. Individuals might divide the world into lgbtq* and straight, fully embracing lgbtq* culture, and immersing themselves in lgbtq* friends, businesses, and social connections. This is also where a lot of backlash regarding identity can come. Many people will disclose to family or friends who they had trusted, and be reacted to negatively (put down, told there is something wrong with them, kicked out, among many examples) There is an increased need for support as people begin to more actively disclose, as anger can often accompany negative disclosures.
Identity Synthesis: this is the stage when an individual would weave their sexual identity with the other aspects of their identity as a whole. People will no longer identify as strictly lgbtq*, but rather that being lgbtq* is one of the many parts of who they are (just as much as being a sister or a musician or a fan of a sports team is to them) Cass states that there is a decrease of intensity of anger towards heterosexism and homophobia. As the LGBTQ* has increased its visibility since this model, the opposite seems to be the case.
It’s a lot like the stages of dealing with grief and loss. There’s steps, and you move through them. There are several things to keep in mind, though, when considering this model.
Many situations/environments do not make it possible for someone to move through a certain step.
There is no timeline for how long this process can take place or how early or late in one’s life it can begin. There is no rush for someone to understand their sexual identity, so long as they have the support system that they need.
Just because you do not complete each step in this order, or don’t complete some steps at all, does not make you any less successful or well-adjusted to your identity as someone who completes every step with every defined motion in the exact order.
Much like Samuel Barber’s (who just so happens to be gay) Adagio for Strings (which if you haven’t listened to, I highly suggest it; he wrote it as the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11, it’s easily his most famous work and one of the most famous string quartet movements of all time.) , it is important to remember that you can return to any of the steps throughout your life, even after reaching the last step. Knowing that sexuality is fluid, it must be remembered that being lesbian now may not mean being lesbian forever. Your sexuality can only be identified by yourself, no one else.
I hope this helped! The Cass Identity Model helped me out a ton when I was going through the coming out process. I’ve learned that, though I personally was nearly 100% consistent with the stages, there has been a huge explosion in the synthesis phase with a desire to retaliate against all things heteronormative, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, racist, and anything negative towards minority groups. But I also think a lot of that stems from constant exposure to these situations. So I may not be entirely textbook, but I think generally Cass would have loved me as a case study for her model.
well it’s officially summer time! We’re busy planning for events for next semester, so get ready for a fun fall here in Lexington! Though it is summer, we are very happy to answer any questions you all have or start any conversations you might be interested in!