Liv/Ollie Martin

Liv/Ollie Martin

Finding a Safe Haven

A Spanish education major, Martin identifies as genderfluid. Some days she feels more feminine (Liv), and other days he feels more masculine (Ollie), and how she feels has an impact on everything in her day.

Growing up in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, Martin sometimes felt unsafe or unwelcomed. You can imagine Liv/Ollie’s sense of relief when she came to IUP and saw the huge pride flag that hangs in front of IUP’s Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement. The flag is a symbol of support and unity for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and its colors reflect society’s diversity and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.

“Having a specific safe space on campus for LGBTQIA+ students, being allowed to display pride flags in the Oak Grove for Coming Out Week, and other small demonstrations of support go beyond what I would expect”

“Seeing the progressive pride flag flying is a far cry from the homophobia I experienced in my hometown,” Martin says, “so I love knowing that there is a space where I can be authentically myself without any persecution.”

That’s part of the reason she knows IUP was the right choice for her. It’s not just the diverse populations that enrich the campus; it’s also the campus itself, which Martin has found to be a safe haven.

 “Having a specific safe space on campus for LGBTQIA+ students, being allowed to display pride flags in the Oak Grove for Coming Out Week, and other small demonstrations of support go beyond what I would expect,” Liv/Ollie says. “I know that I am not simply accepted at IUP, but welcomed when I walk around on campus.”

2021 President's Report Cover

President's Report 2021

Read more stories from the 2021 annual report from Michael Driscoll, president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.