Why I’m Willing to Give Everything I Have for Action

When I was a perspective at Salem College, I was tricked into believing that this would be a welcoming place for black students. I say tricked because no one told me what I would have to deal with. They lied.

The amount of homophobia, transphobia, and racism that I have experienced since on this campus is unbelievable. A place that claims to be so diverse and inclusive and progressive is none of those things. I feel duped. They didn’t tell me this. They lied.

The only reason I stayed was because I have friends who are helping me survive. I will never tell anyone to come to Salem. I am not proud to graduate from here. I am ready to get out of here. I was told that I could find so much community here, but I’ve only found community with other students suffering just as much, or more than, I am. They lied.

I have been hospitalized twice during my time at Salem. My mental health has progressed to force me into hospitalization because I was too afraid to go to Counseling Services. When I do go, I don’t feel welcomed. I have experienced transphobia and queer-phobia first hand from the Counseling Services, the people who are supposed to be helping. I was told I could be safe here. They lied.

I have developed stress-related disorders since at Salem. I am not the same person that I was my first year. I drink to survive. I drink to feel okay. I am not the same person that I was when I came to Salem. I was so happy to be here. I couldn’t wait to be here. Now, nearly 4 years later, I can’t wait to get out of here. I’m only fighting for the people who are still here. They told me this would be a safe place for me. They lied.

I am a black and trans student at Salem College. I don’t feel welcomed. I don’t feel included. Most times, I don’t even feel loved. I feel tolerated. Most days, I feel tolerated. From when I came to administration this past June, I felt tolerated. Any time I have a concern, I feel tolerated. When I can’t eat any of the food because it will make me sick, I feel tolerated. When my eating disorder takes over and I go for help from Counseling Services, I feel tolerated. When I just try to live on campus, I feel tolerated. They told me that I’d be included. They lied.

They told so many lies. I wish that I had gotten the truth. My heart hurts for my pain, but also because there are so many students who ache as I do. Yet, administration still remains silent. Why? Why are they still silent? This is just so incredibly violent. Since the very beginning, I feel tolerated. If you felt tolerated, would you stay silent?

I have a job. My job is to fight so future generations of Salem siblings don’t have to. What will you do to fight the good fight? Will you sit with us? Will you love us? Will you appreciate and include us?

OR will you tolerate us just like everyone else?