LGBTQIAP+ Support

Door signed by members of the WPI community in support of the LGBQT+ community.

WPI is committed to providing support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Agender and Pansexual populations. The “+” is used to respectfully and sensitively recognize all populations in the community.

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, the student group the Alliance, the Division of Talent & Inclusion and the Division of Student Affairs aim to provide informative events and support for LGBTQIAP+ community members.

LGBTQIAP+ Programming at WPI:

  • The Alliance: Pride Prom
  • LGBTQIAP+ History Month
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • The Alliance: National Coming Out Day
  • The Alliance: Drag Show
  • Lavender Commencement
  • Pride Month

LGBTQIAP+ Resources and Support

There are many resources available to assist and support you as a student on this campus. Not sure where to turn? Here are some suggestions.

Campus Life

The Alliance, oSTEM Affiliate Chapter

The Alliance is a student organization at WPI whose mission to provide a voice and body for students of WPI of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The organization offers social and educational programming and a support networks for students.

Gender Inclusive Restrooms

There are numerous gender-inclusive restrooms available on campus. A full listing of the locations can be found on WPI’s Interactive Map.

Gender Inclusive Housing & Housing Application

Residential Services offers a variety of undergraduate housing opportunities that support students with a variety of gender expressions. For more information on housing options and directions on how to update your preferred name in StarRez, WPI’s housing selection and roster database, click here. While your legal name & sex will appear in your housing application, you do have the ability to create your own username for the online housing application search function.

Mental Health and Wellness Support

The Student Development and Counseling Center affirms and supports students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Staff strive to provide a safe, intentional space where LGBTQ+, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students can have their wellness needs met. The SDCC is located on Einhorn Rd and can be reached at 1-508-831-5540 or sdcc@wpi.edu.

Gordon Library: Collections and Library Guides

The Gordon Library has a variety of Collections and Library Guides about and for the LGBTQIAP+ community:

SDCC Group Counseling: LGBTQIAP+ and More

From the SDCC Website: 

Participating in a therapeutic group can be a helpful resource for students to use both as a stand-alone tool for support, or as an adjunct to individual therapy. Not only will you have the ear of a trained therapist and counselor, but you’ll have an opportunity to connect with peers and form new relationships, provide and receive support to/from others, and discover that you are not alone.

Students interested in group therapy should complete this form. A group counselor will be in touch with more information.

Available groups may include:

  • Art Therapy Group: Art therapy is one of the expressive therapies, and focuses on engagement with the creative process as a means for navigating emotions, processing, and healing. No art experience is required, and materials will be provided.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Provides students with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships.
  • General Support Group: Join a group of peers for support and processing. Open to all.
  • Grief Workshops: For students navigating a death loss of an important person(s) in their life and seeking a supportive environment to connect with others.
  • Guided Meditation: Students are welcome to come by the library or the SDCC to drop-in for 15-20 minutes of Meditation.  Students with all levels of experience meditating are welcome!
  • Healing Circle: The Healing Circle Group is a 5-week group meant to facilitate connection, exploration of our own healing needs, strengthen our self-compassion, and move towards a sense of wholeness.
  • Institutions & Meaning: Open to students who have or whose loved ones have experienced institutions such as foster care, adoption, residential treatment, correctional facilities, or inpatient care. A place for students to explore the meaning of diverse experiences with institutions.
  • LGBTQIA+ Group: Open to students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or questioning, among other identities. This group provides an opportunity to discuss issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation as well as any other life issues or stressors.
  • Mindful Self-Compassion: Join your peers to learn and practice skills for relating to yourself with kindness and care rather than judgment and criticism.
  • Mosaic: Men of Color Support Network: Affinity group open to any men of color students. This is a non-clinical discussion group.
  • Neurodiverse Group: A semi-structured support group for anyone who identifies as neurodiverse.
  • OCD Group: Open to any student who experiences OCD, hoarding, or specific phobias.  The group is structured as an informational, skill-building, and discussion group on navigating college and life with these challenges.
  • Recognition, Insight, Openness (RIO): A three-session workshop that gives us more insight into how we think and feel as well as tools that teach us how to live meaningful lives despite unwanted internal experiences. RIO also incorporates mindfulness skills and connections to our values.
  • Student-Athlete Group: Student-Athletes are invited to join peers from other teams. Topics include time management, self-care, stress, teamwork and identity as a student-athlete. This is a 4- week group. Ideally, student-athletes will commit to all 4 weeks.
  • Substance Use Education & Prevention: Weekly group providing education on substance use risk factors that may lead to high-risk behaviors contributing to drug addiction. We will also explore navigating recovery and prevention efforts. Open to any students seeking information and understanding about substance addiction.
  • Survivors Group: Open to all students who have experienced sexual, dating, or domestic violence)
  • The Body Project: A group-based intervention that provides a forum for women to confront unrealistic beauty ideals and engages them in the development of healthy body image through various experiential exercises.  4 week group.

Lived Name

Legal Name or Gender Change

If you have legally changed your name and/or gender and wish to have this reflected in your official student record, complete the Legal Name or Gender Change Form available on the Registrar’s web site.

Lived and Preferred Name

You may edit your gender identity with WPI or list your lived or preferred name in applications at WPI. This includes the campus directory, your email display name, your WPI ID card, and Workday profile and class roster listings. 

How to change your name in Workday*:

  • Login to Workday.
  • Click on the Personal Information icon and then click either Change Legal Name or Preferred Name, as applicable. 
  • Important: Remember to click Submit when finished!

If you would like to edit your username or WPI ID Card, please confidentially contact Emily Perlow, Assistant Dean of Students, eperlow@wpi.edu, located in the Dean of Students Office in the Rubin Campus Center.

Otherwise, your legal name and gender will continue to be used in systems that require it, for example: financial records, government reporting, official University records, medical records. This change can currently be made by completing the Legal Name or Gender Change form.


*Please note: if guardians are given access to your Workday account, they are able to see any changes. You are not required to provide access to your Workday account. 

Academic & Career

Canvas

You can update your name in Canvas on your own. This can be done by following these steps.

You can add your pronouns in Canvas on your own.  Add your pronouns by following these steps.

The Job Search & Handshake

The Career Development Center offers a wide variety of tips and support for LGBTQIAP+ students when it comes to the job search. Download the LGBTQIAP+ Student Resources tipsheet (PDF) for information on identifying LGBTQIAP+ friendly employers, coming out at work, and more.

If you wish to share your lived name and gender identity in Handshake, you can edit this in your student profile. 

Campus Pride has created a resource for LGBTQIAP+ folks looking for jobs, mentorship, career centers and so much more on their Career Connect website

Merit

WPI’s Public Relations team uses the Merit platform to share student news through hometown press releases. If you would like to use your preferred name, please contact media@wpi.edu.

Scholarship Opportunities

Best Colleges has curated a scholarship guide for the LGBTQIAP+ community. Take a look at the available opportunities here.

School Sponsored Travel: Preparing to Go Off Campus

Supporting Diversity Off Campus

Global Experience Office recognizes that different aspects of your identity may impact your experience abroad. We encourage all travelers to reflect on the different aspects of their identity when preparing for travel abroad.


Considerations

How you identify in the United States may not be how you choose to identify abroad and may not be how you are identified by your destination country. We encourage all travelers to research your destination country’s history, culture, laws, and demographics.

''When you go abroad, it's inevitable to find yourself in a conversation with someone whose opinions vary greatly from yours.'' Read this helpful article from Diversity Abroad on how to engage in challenging conversations while abroad.

Please consult the following resource as you consider and prepare for your experience off campus:


LGBTQIA+ travelers: You can enhance the safety and comfort of your travel experience by considering how the laws, culture, and social norms of your destination may affect your experience. Don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

  • RESEARCH the LGBTQIA+ climate of your host country. Explore different resources such as newspapers, LGBTQIA+friendly travel guides, and e-magazines to gain a better understanding of what the social perception is of members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Review the U.S. Department of State's country information pages for current and up to date information specific to LGBTQIA+ travelers (under Local Laws & Special Circumstances) and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details, as well as crowdsourced information such Equaldex
  • TALK with other LGBTQIA+ and allied people about their experiences in specific countries or regions.
  • UNDERSTAND the context, customs, laws and attitudes in your host country.  Similar expressions or behaviors may have vastly different meanings in different places.  In some locations open expressions of your sexual orientation might be criticized. Keep in mind that once outside the United States you are no longer protected by U.S. laws.  If same-sex acts are illegal in your host country and you are caught engaging in them, or presumed to have engaged in them, you could be arrested and imprisoned in that country.

It is important to reflect on the culturally based ideas and definitions of sexual identity and consider carefully how your identity as a LGBTQIA+ person may affect your relationships with host country nationals, your cultural adjustment, and your overall off campus experience.


Questions for LGBTQIA+ Travelers to Consider

 

About You:

  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and gender identity with my advisors, peers, friends, and others?
  • How important is it to me to find other LGBTQIA+ travelers and friends while abroad? How will I make connections with LGBTQIA+ students, colleagues, local residents, or community organizations? What are my expectations about seeking and finding community?
  • Will I need access to any medications, supplies, or services due to my transgender status? Are they available in my host country? If not, will I need any additional documentation to travel with my medication or supplies?
  • What are my safety needs and perceptions, and how can they best be met? Is the program able to make accommodations for students who request single rooms, private baths, or specific roommates?
  • What resources are available in my host country for LGBTQIA+ people?

 

About the Culture of Your Host Country:

  • What are the cultural attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity in my host country?
  • What are considered typical male and female social behaviors, customary gender relations, and social patterns in the host country?
  • What may make the coming out process different in the host country compared to the U.S.?
  • What are the norms and behavioral expectations within LGBTQIA+ communities in my host country?
  • What is the social perception of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in my host country? How are LGBTQIA+ people socially defined? What roles do transgender people play in the host culture?

 

About Your Host Country's Laws:

  • Are there "public indecency/decency" laws? Or any laws that criminalize same-sex sexual relationships, or ways men and women socially interact?
  • What is the age of consent? Does it differ for heterosexual versus same-sex couples?
  • Does the law require having "proper documentation" at all times?
  • What is the general police attitude toward the local LGBTQIA+ community?
  • Is the law applied the same in rural areas as in urban areas?

 

About Perceptions of People from the U.S and LGBTQIA+ People:

  • What's the attitude of local residents toward people from the U.S., people of other nationalities, "tourists," and LGBTQIA+ "tourists"?
  • What's the general police attitude towards the same as above?
  • What's the general police attitude toward LGBTQIA+ people who are visiting the country?

 

Tips to keep in mind

  • If you experience difficulties, don’t be afraid to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They are available 24/7 at every embassy who provide emergency assistance to Americans. They won’t pass judgment on you and will protect your privacy.
  • Be alert and try to avoid potentially unsafe environments. Look out for yourself and your friends, especially late at night.
  • Use discretion. As an American, you may already stand out. Outside gay neighborhoods or resorts, public displays of affection may draw even more attention.
  • Be wary of entrapment campaigns, where law enforcement officers pose as a potential partner to lure LGBTQIA+ people into outing themselves. Entrapment campaigns typically occur via social media, chat rooms, and dating apps, where law enforcement agents create fake accounts to gather information on LGBTQIA+ people in countries with anti-homosexuality laws. 

 

Housing: WPI houses off-campus program participants in a variety of accommodations. Most students live in self-catered apartments, some are in residence halls, and others are in houses. Be sure that you research housing options will make you comfortable. You can find more details on eProjects and contact Global Experience Office via phone (508-831-4804) or email (global@wpi.edu) to review questions or set up an appointment to discuss your options.    

With thanks to ASU Study Abroad and MSU Office of International Health and Safety for content and layout. 

 

Resources

Disclaimer: Global Experience Office provides the following links for informational purposes only. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in the linked websites and do not specifically endorse any organization, information, or products associated with those websites. We encourage travelers to consult multiple sources to make informed decisions.​

Worcester Community

AIDS Project Worcester, Inc.

AIDS Project Worcester, Inc. (APW) is the primary and most comprehensive AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in Central Massachusetts. It is the second largest ASO in New England, providing services to persons living with HIV/AIDS since 1987. Over the decades, APW has adapted and expanded to meet emerging public health issues in Central Massachusetts, which is reflected in the multiple services we offer today to both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.

If you are thinking about harming yourself — get immediate support. Connect to a crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the U.S. It is 100% confidential, and 100% free.

Looking for more? Click here.

Worcester PFLAG

PFLAG of Greater Worcester is a local chapter of the national organization PFLAG - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Worcester Pride

Worcester Pride recognizes, promotes, educates and unifies the Central Massachusetts LGBTQ+ community, allies and supporters.

MassEquality 

MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

Safe Homes

Safe Homes is a program supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) young people, and their straight allies, between the ages of 14 and 23. The group is led by youth peer leaders, professional staff, and volunteers who offer support, resources, and opportunities for socialization in a safe and nurturing environment.

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

The Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center is the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader in Worcester, providing care to LGBTQ+ youth and adults, including providing gender affirming hormone therapy and trans health care.

Supporters of Worcester Area GLBTQ+ Youth

Supporters of Worcester Area GLBTQ+ Youth (SWAGLY) is a social support club for LGBTQIA+ youth and allies who are 18 years old and under. Since 1984 SWAGLY Programs have been a part of the lives of countless LGBTQ+ youth in the greater Worcester area.

Fenway Health

The mission of Fenway Health is to enhance the wellbeing of the LGBTQIA+ community and all people in our neighborhoods and beyond through access to the highest quality health care, education, research and advocacy. They provide high quality, comprehensive health care, research, education and advocacy. Fenway Health is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood offers affordable health care and LGBTQ services including HIV and STD testing and Gender Affiriming Hormone Therapy. 

  • 877-686-5772 (option 3)
Pathways for Change

Pathways for Change is a rape crisis center with 24 hour crisis intervention, support groups, counseling, and advocacy for survivors

  • 24-Hour Hotline: 800-870-5905
  • ASL Video Phone: 508-502-7681
Bedrock Recovery Center (BRC)

Bedrock Recovery Center (BRC) is a remodeled healthcare facility located in Canton, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide emotional and physical stabilization in early recovery, promote a trauma-informed environment of clinical and peer support, and coordinate aftercare resources for ongoing treatment and recovery.

  • 888-484-6590  (24-hours/day)

They also provide: "LGBTQ: A Guide From Addiction To Recovery".

This guide can help LGBTQ+ individuals and their loved ones learn more about substance use in the LGBTQ community—and how to find the right treatment program for you.

Within this guide, you’ll find:

  • causes of drug and alcohol abuse in the LGBTQ community
  • barriers to care for LGBTQ individuals
  • how to find an inclusive/LGBTQ treatment facility
  • substance use trends in the LGBTQ community
  • recovery resources for LGBTQ individuals
  • a list of LGBTQ support hotlines

Content warning: This guide contains information that may be triggering for LGBTQ+ readers who are struggling with mental health or substance misuse.

Pride Prom, 2021

Pride Prom, 2021

Pride Prom, 2021

Pride Prom, 2021

Lavender Commencement, 2022

Lavender Commencement, 2022

Lavender Commencement, 2022

Lavender Commencement, 2022

Lavender Commencement, 2019

Lavender Commencement, 2019

Lavender Commencement Celebration, 2019

Lavender Commencement Celebration, 2019

Lavender Commencement, 2019