Past and current students at Hope who have identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community have struggled to find a group on campus due to the fact that official student organizations cannot openly advertise themselves as LGBTQ+ due to certain “rules and policies”. GLOBE hopes to change this by allowing LGBTQ+ students to express themselves through spoken word, poetry, dance, and other forms of artistic expression, forming close-knit relationships along the way with students that they can relate to.
GLOBE is the unofficial organization for LGBTQ+ students here at Hope College; it is a space where many students can feel safe and out of harm’s way on a campus that many views as anti-LGBTQ+. Because of the fact that they are not recognized as an official student group by the College, funding has been one of the main issues that the organization has faced throughout the years. Despite this, GLOBE has continuously offered support and a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. DeVante Cosby, a senior who identifies as queer, claims that he originally believed that Hope would have been more accepting of his sexuality, emphasizing that this has not been the case. Cosby was accepted after applying with a personal statement that clearly stated that he was a gay-identifying student – but his experience has been less-than-stellar.
Cosby claims that he has experienced homophobia and heteronormativity countless times at Hope, but luckily, he was able to find GLOBE during his freshman year, having participated in the organization ever since. The College has tried to implement groups to discuss these issues of sexuality and acceptance on campus, but many LGBTQ+ students do not feel comfortable in these spaces. GRACES (which stands for Growing Respect, Authentic Community & Education on Sexuality), for example, has been a dialogue group created by the College. Several students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community here at Hope, but wish to remain anonymous, have expressed that they see this group as more of a threat than a realistic opportunity to create a more inclusive campus.
These students did not quite share why this was the case, only that this is the reality. For now, GLOBE is the only option for LGBTQ+ students that seek to join a student group of like-minded individuals, but there are people at work to change this. There is a multitude of students on campus that hope that GLOBE will one day become an officially recognized student organization and not just a hush-hush group of students. Many GLOBE members, however, are hopeful that Hope will eventually move the traditional needle and become more fully invested in creating a more inclusive campus for LGBTQ+ students.
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