I was recently admitted to Earlham College as a transfer student with a generous financial and merit aid package. However, my parents have expressed concern that Richmond, Indiana is not a safe place for me. I am out as bisexual and closeted as transgender. I am not the kind of person to advertise it to everyone I meet, but I am still worried about whether I will be welcome in Richmond based on the recently passed law.
My sense is that Earlham is THE place to go for students with a focus on wanting acceptance in college. Yes, I think Richmond leans conservative, but remember that the Indiana politicians who pushed thru this law faced a terrible backlash, not just nationally, but in their own state. Even many self-professed “religious conservatives” were aghast. Most of the midwest is like this – slowly moving forward like the rest of the country, with a small minority pushing back against progress.
I have children at Earlham. At one time the town wasn’t exactly thrilled at having such a liberal school and would show it. That was 30+ years ago. At this point, the school has reached out to the town in many ways and the town has reached back. I wouldn’t expect issues from being bisexual, but as you know transgender unfortunately could be an issue anywhere. I wouldn’t expect more than an obnoxious comment though. Really, I wouldn’t be worried about physical safety. These days I would be no more worried in Richmond than other towns. I am amazed when I go now, where business owners and employees have and show a respect for the school and the students. The Indiana attempted law was quite unfortunate but I think in the end just reinforced the truth that those ideas are just not accepted anymore and they need to move on.