LGBT RESOURCE CENTER HOME
LGBT Mentor ProgramIn association with the UCI Counseling Center.
Introduction | Programs Offered | Mentors | How to become a Mentee
The hallmark of the LGBT Mentoring Program is a trusting, confidential relationship between a mentee and her or his LGBT mentor. This relationship involves informal, one-on-one conversations between mentee and mentor. Mentors offer LGBT students the tools needed to live full, happy, productive lives, unshackled by the weight of internalized oppression.
For more information visit the LGBT Mentor Program page at the Counseling Center site.
Coordinator and Advisor
Carolyn O'Keefe, Psy.D., UC Irvine Counseling Center.
Contact Carolyn O'Keefe or The Mentor E-mail or call 949.824.6457
The LGBT "coming out process" (internal acknowledgement and disclosure to others about one's sexual orientation or gender identity) can be emotionally challenging, confusing, lonely, and frightening. The LGBT Mentoring Program provides knowledgeable, empathic LGBT Mentors who can ease this process. Mentors are LGBT individuals who have successfully worked through their own coming out process and are in a position to help others. Mentors serve as "buddies" to mentees, providing guidance, support, and resource information.
Mentors help mentees challenge internalized negative messages and misinformation proliferated about LGBT people by peers, family, social institutions, and the mass media. Internalizing negative and inaccurate messages takes a psychological toll. Mentors help by replacing myths and stereotypes with accurate information. Through this program, LGBT students are encouraged to develop positive LGBT identities.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Mentoring Program supports LGBT students in their personal journey towards becoming healthy, self-accepting LGBT individuals. Mentors aspire to help LGBT students feel comfortable in their own skins" as LGBT people and to make "coming out" an empowering, positive experience.
Mentors and mentees meet and talk. Mentees may ask their mentor questions; discuss a topic of interest, or just check-in with their mentor.
Mentors provide support for mentees as they connect with the LGBT community. For example, realizing how difficult it can be to walk into an LGBT meeting or rap group for the first time, mentors attend such meetings with their mentees until the mentee feels comfortable attending on her or his own.
Mentors and mentees may go on "fieldtrips" designed to help you get acquainted with your community. Examples of the types of places mentors and mentees have explored include the following: LGBT centers; LGBT cultural events; meetings, clubs, or groups of interest; Pride Parades; film festivals, LGBT bookstores, LGBT-friendly restaurants, potlucks, LGBT speakers, and etc. Sometimes a group of mentors and mentees go on outings together and other times mentor/mentee pairs explore on their own.
Workshops are attended by mentees along with their mentors. These interactive programs are co-led by the Coordinator and a mentor or psychology intern. Sometimes panelists are brought in to cover specific topics (i.e. parents or religious leaders). The workshops are very popular with mentees. Topics may include:
* Coming out
* Relationship skills
* Multiple identities (e.g., intersection of sexual orientation and ethnic/racial identity, gender, religious/spiritual)
* Religious conflicts and finding welcoming congregations
Brown Bag Discussions
These moderated lunch-time discussions cover topics of interest to mentees. Mentees may attend as many or as few of them as they wish on a drop-in basis.
Who are the Mentors?
Mentors are UC Irvine students, faculty or staff members who have successfully worked through their own LGBT coming out process. It is this personal understanding that makes mentors particularly well suited to help others.
Mentors receive 30 hours of initial training; thereafter, they receive on-going supervision from the Program Coordinator.
Mentors provide guidance on the following issues:
* Confusion about sexual orientation or gender identity
* Acceptance of self as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
* Coming out to friends and family
* Integration of multiple identities (e.g., LGBT and ethnic/racial identities)
* Professional and academic concerns as related to being LGBT
* Finding positive campus and community resources
- how to meet potential dates
- finding eligible partners
- how to ask someone for a date
- 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.)
Information for potential Mentors
Application to become a Mentor
Mentor Reference Formm
Who are the Mentees?
Regularly enrolled UC Irvine students who would like help with LGBT concerns.
FAQ about LGBT Mentoring
Application to become a Mentee