Flashes of Pride: Hufford

Carrie George

Susie Hufford, Residence Hall Director of Korb and Leebrick, does whatever she can to make a difference when she recognizes something that needs to change.

As someone who identifies as queer, bisexual and pansexual, Hufford works closely with LGBTQ youth on campus through the LGBTQA Living Learning Community in Korb Hall, and helps them feel comfortable and safe.

“I try to empower all of my students to understand their own position in society and to understand their own selves as well,” Hufford said.

Hufford said she identifies interchangeably between her sexualities, depending on context.

“I’ll say I’m pansexual to people who understand it, but not a lot of people are familiar with the term,” Hufford said.

Though Hufford also identifies as queer, meaning she is attracted to people of any sexual orientation or gender identity, she said she recognizes that many people in the LGBTQ community feel uncomfortable with that term.

“Queer is a term that’s very popular in some circles and then in other circles people might be honestly offended by it,” Hufford said. “It’s also a slur that has been re-appropriated.”

In the past, “queer” has been used as a derogatory term aimed at people in the LGBTQ community. Some members of the community have now reclaimed that term and use it as an identity.

Hufford attended Mount Holyoke College, a small, women’s liberal arts college in Massachusetts, for her bachelor’s degree. The LGBTQ population there reclaimed the term “queer,” as a radical political statement, Hufford said.

Hufford uses queer as an umbrella for her other identities.

“For me, it’s important to acknowledge that I am also bisexual and pansexual,” Hufford said. “I want to be a very out, honestly bisexual or pansexual person, because I’m not ashamed.”

Hufford works with Lauren Vachon, the coordinator of the LGBTQA Living Learning Community, to plan events and interact with residents.

“I think it’s really important to actually be there for students, to hear what they’re going through,” Hufford said.

Though Hufford has always felt accepted and supported on Kent’s campus, she said she works with many students who have encountered “instances of bias.”

“Part of my job as a staff member is to document issues of bias (and) to help whoever is struggling with them,” Hufford said.

As a Residence Hall director, Hufford must document and report any struggles or problems her residents bring to her.

“We really want to know what’s going on on our campus and what we can do to help,” Hufford said. “I’ll always be talking to my supervisor about next plans (and) what we can do to address this situation.”

In addition to working with LGBTQ youth on campus, Hufford works with the faculty and staff LGBTQ group, Spectrum.

Hufford said the group runs events, works with student groups and advocates for the LGBTQ community.

“I’m more of the type of person where I really want to be a change agent,” Hufford said. “If things aren’t where we should be, I’m more focused on changing them.”

Carrie George is the is the administration and diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected]