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Office at CMU supports LGBTQ community, Bruce Jenner interview tonight

"For a lot of people, this is their first time even hearing about what transitioning is or that people feel this way," Justin Toliver, Office of LGBTQ Services student assistant, said. "So, I think we play a big role in educating people that their story is not the only story and that people live all different types of lives in many ways, shapes, and forms."


With the national Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, one northern Michigan university has an office thatâ??s been supporting people who identify as transgender.


The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Services office at Central Michigan University supports and advocates for this particular community.




"Always be authentic to who you are and your identity," Shannon Jolliff-Dettore, Office of LGBTQ Services director, said. "Be proud of who you are because itâ??s a beautiful thing."


Thatâ??s the message the LGBTQ office hopes to get across, serving students, faculty, and even community members. Jolliff-Dettore says she sees around 6,000 people every year, whether they identify as LGBTQ or not.




"Iâ??m passionate about it, one because it impacts my personal life," Jolliff-Dettore said. "So, I identify as a lesbian. Iâ??m married to a woman. We have two daughters. So, all of this impacts and plays a role in my life. But, Iâ??m also passionate because I was a college student and I know what itâ??s like to walk into a classroom and not know if youâ??re safe or not to talk about your identity."


A part of that is supporting those who identify as transgender, which is what the talks surrounding the Jenner interview have been focused on.


"Someone that identifies as transgender is saying that their biological sex that they were born with doesnâ??t match their gender," Jolliff-Dettore said. "So, we recognize that sex and gender are two different things. So, I think that thatâ??s a real personal journey."


"For a lot of people, this is their first time even hearing about what transitioning is or that people feel this way," Justin Toliver, Office of LGBTQ Services student assistant, said. "So, I think we play a big role in educating people that their story is not the only story and that people live all different types of lives in many ways, shapes, and forms. I donâ??t identify as transgender. So, I donâ??t plan on ever transitioning. But, on my personal journey, me just coming out, I was really struggling with that. So, this office, and Shannon really helped me on my journey here. I got the opportunity to work here, help other people on their journeys, and educate CMU students on what it means to be LGBTQ."


There are students anticipating what Bruce Jenner has to say in his interview on ABC Friday night.


"Iâ??m looking forward to it," Emily Perry, Office of LGBTQ intern, said. "Itâ??s no one elseâ??s business and Bruce doesnâ??t even have to be doing this. So, itâ??s a big deal for him to be coming to Diane to tell whatever heâ??s going to tell."


"I donâ??t know what heâ??ll be talking about but my hope is that he feels support through that process because itâ??s a challenging process being in such the public eye," Jolliff-Dettore said.


That Bruce Jenner interview is airing on ABC Friday night at 9PM.


Another way the LGBTQ office is advocating for transgender people is by pushing for gender-neutral restrooms on campus. They also host a trans week each November.


You can find more information on CMUâ??s LGBTQ office and the events they host here.

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