By: Avery Corkins
Sitting at a Griffon Edge event, anxious students were prompted to act out different scenarios on certain subjects.
One of the scenarios involved roommates with two different sexual orientations. After the scene, a discussion was sparked between incoming students. This made an impact on one student in particular.
Missouri Western alum, Robert Vardiman, is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and had such a great experience here at Missouri Western. Vardiman classifies as homosexual or gay and feels comfortable with the pronouns he/him/his.
“Even when I hadn’t come out yet, I always went by he/him/his,” Vardiman said. “It was never really a thing I thought about until I got to college and met other individuals that didn’t want to go by their so called given pronouns.”
It has become more relevant on campus to recognize the proper pronouns when speaking to anyone in the Pride community.
Vardiman felt very confident in coming to a new school and feeling as if he could be his true self.
“I got pretty fearless after my junior year of high school because I came out when I was a sophomore in high school,” Vardiman said. “After a year or two of understanding how I wanted to be and the way I wanted to grow, it became pretty secondhand that I just be who I am and put whatever I needed to forth to show that.”
When Vardiman was a student at Missouri Western, he attended a few GSA meetings and through that he would get emails that kept him up to date on events going on within the community.
“I would definitely say there are lots and lots of resources,” Vardiman said.
He never felt as if he was held back from anything on campus. Given the GSA resources he was very involved with many organizations at Missouri Western. Vardiman was a Griffon Edge leader and also on the griffon edge executive board. He felt like he was never held back from anything. Vardiman also auditioned for the Mystics dance team here on campus and he was an assistant coach for the color guard.
“I would definitely say our campus has grown in LGBTQIA knowledge and respect and I definitely think they are on the right track to continue growing,” Vardiman said.
Missouri Western has a broad range of opportunities for all students who are looking to open doors in their lives.