By Jesse Bade, Staff Writer
Dr. Genevieve Weber, assistant professor of Counseling, Research, Special Education and Rehabilitation and licensed Mental Health Counselor, is a leading activist in raising awareness about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community's mental health.
She was one of ten professionals asked to speak at an expert panel meeting in April about improving life for LGBT students on college campuses and arranging the first government-sponsored LGBT training institute. She was a keynote speaker at that institute and moderated a panel on skills and strategies on mental health services and support for LGBT students. Weber has become a leading expert on creating campuses to welcome the LGBT community.
A focus of her research and presentations has been the impact of homophobia and heterosexism on the lives of LGBT individuals. Weber instructs courses on training counselors to implement group counseling, multicultural counseling, psychopathology, and psychopharmacology and treatment planning to help improve campus life for LGBT people.
Christian Fuscarino, founder of the Pride Network at Hofstra, said of her efforts, "Genevieve has served as a pioneer for LGBTQ progress at Hofstra University and continuously puts the school on a national stage for LGBT-friendliness. Her commitment to LGBTQ students, faculty and administrators has made a great impact at this institution."
Weber advises colleges and universities to use the standard campus climate index for LGBT support services. According to Weber, the advantage of creating centers that serve and celebrate LGBT students is twofold.
"Once these resources are in place, institutions should celebrate their existence and demonstrate to the campus community they are committed to them on various levels (i.e., funding, programming)," Weber said. "This reinforces the acceptance of the community on campus, and strengthens recruitment for prospective LGBT students who are looking for an accepting and nurturing environment in which they can enjoy their four years of college."
Her efforts are further exemplified through her actions in 2010, when Weber testified before Congress with a study released by Campus Pride, a national non-profit organization working to create safer, more LGBT-inclusive colleges and universities. The study showed that the members of this community continue to experience isolation, harassment and safety concerns, as well as countless hurdles they must overcome simply to be who they are. Weber seeks to implement institutions to enable LGBT persons to express themselves without fear.
"Colleges and universities first need to acknowledge that there is a community of LGBT students on their campuses," said Weber, who is also working with the University to develop an LGBT ‘resources center' on campus. "They then need to evaluate the resources they currently have in place and move forward from there."