On Sept. 16, Scout Schultz was fatally shot by police on the Georgia Tech campus. Scout identified as bisexual, non-binary and intersex (and preferred using they/them pronouns), and they were very involved in the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, pride.gatech.edu, including serving as the organization’s president. Their death is a tragic loss to their family and friends, to the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance as well as the greater Georgia Tech community. We extend our deepest condolences to Scout’s family.

One of the objectives of the President’s LGBTQ Commission is to ensure that the university appropriately addresses issues of equity, safety and welfare for LGBTQ faculty, staff, students and guests. As such, several of our members have connected with the Clemson University Police Department’s chief, Jami Brothers, to discuss the policies and procedures in place to prevent such a tragedy from occurring on our campus. Chief Brothers assured us, “any mental health training has de-escalation components to it,” and CUPD has recently undergone de-escalation trainings by the Criminal Justice Academy and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They have also participated in sensitivity training this past year focusing on queer and trans students and have an upcoming training on identifying suicidal behavior. Chief Brothers is working to bring CUPD into more conversations on diversity and inclusion.

While mental health impacts all of us, the added fears of coming out and being discriminated against faced by those in the queer and trans communities multiplies our chances of experiencing a mental health condition. If having to tackle the daily prejudice against our identity wasn’t enough, societal stigma around mental health conditions compounds that stress, again feeling as though we must keep ourselves hidden away in the closet. It’s important that we remember we will always be coming out and that we need each other so that we can engage one another in learning and bringing awareness to the issues that deeply affect our community, whether we’re queer, trans or allies.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about LGBTQA issues at Clemson, please contact us on our Facebook page @culgbtqcommission or email us at lgbtqcu@g.clemson.edu.

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