LGBTQ Mentor FAQ

Who are the Mentors?

LGBTQ faculty, staff, or enrolled graduate students who volunteer their time to help others. Mentors must be affiliated with The University of Chicago.

Why should I become a mentor?

As a mentor you will positively impact an LGBTQ student’s life. With your support and care, a mentee may learn to develop a positive LGBTQ identity. With your help, a mentee may be spared years of needless distress and be able to move into a more full and authentic life. With your wisdom, a mentee may learn new skills to negotiate the challenges life can present to LGBTQ individuals.

What qualities do mentors have?

LGBTQ Mentors are mature, caring, responsible, and altruistic. They are individuals who want to serve as role models to others. Because they have negotiated their own coming out process, mentors know firsthand the challenges inherent in self-acceptance, coming out, and finding positive community resources. It is this personal understanding that makes mentors particularly well suited to help others.

What is the time requirement?

Mentors commit to a minimum of one meeting per month. LGBTQ Student Life may require additional information sessions to help mentors prepare for their role as mentors. Also, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life will encourage mentor/mentee pairs to attend any Office or Mentoring Program special events.

How specifically do mentors serve their mentees?

Mentors function as:

  • Helpers – Mentors listen with compassion and understanding; they answer questions and provide information.
  • Tour guides – Mentors help mentees explore the LGBTQ community together. They visit LGBT establishments such as coffee shops, LGBTQ Centers; they attend LGBTQ events such as comedy nights, educational talks, LGBTQ media awards.  They go to Pride events or festivals, etc.
  • Buddies – Mentors accompany mentees to discussion groups, meetings or LGBTQ activities, so that mentees don’t have to go alone.

Mentors provide guidance on the following issues:

  • Confusion about sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Acceptance of self as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender, or genderqueer
  • Coming out to friends and family
  • Integration of multiple identities (e.g., being LGBTQ and a person of color)
  • Professional and academic concerns as related to being LGBTQ
  • Dating:
    • How to meet potential dates
    • Finding eligible partners
    • How to ask someone for a date
    • Break-ups
  •  Finding positive campus and community resources:
    • Written materials (i.e. books, magazines, directories, etc.)
    •  On-line resources
    • Activities (i.e. meetings, potlucks, sports, rap groups, dinners, dances, plays, movies, etc.)
    • Places (i.e. community centers, coffee shops, dance clubs, bookstores, libraries, etc.)
Created by University of California - Irvine's LGBT Mentoring Program and adapted for use by the University of Chicago's LGBTQ Student Life's LGBTQ Mentoring Program, 2014.