Sex education is something that is often overlooked in systems of education and often seen as a taboo field. Fionn Frawley, a rising sophomore, is here to challenge that. They’re a queer and trans student with a major in psychology and a minor in gender studies. While they came in with the intent to directly pursue sex education as a major, Lawrence did not have that option. As an alternative, they decided to instead divide the requirements of sex education’s background into two.
Frawley had his work cut out for him, graduating during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and entering a new environment right after were no walk in the park. However, Frawley was not deterred. From all the college he looked into, he only found one in the Midwest that spoke to him: Lawrence University. He highlights, “This was the only school in the Midwest that I was looking at, and I really did not want to stay in the Midwest. But every other school just didn’t live up to Lawrence.” He explains that he felt this way as finding a strong queer community was important to him, and he found that Lawrence’s queer community was one he was drawn to.
This choice of committing to Lawrence for the community upon the other opportunities the campus has to offer has supported him greatly this year. He explains the strong connections he’s made with his friends and the people around him who have helped him navigate his purpose during this school year. He points out, “It’s certainly hard to find motivation on a day-to-day basis, but I’d say the most motivating thing for me are my friends. They are all very determined people when it comes to academics. I’m lucky that they don’t let me fall behind, and they hold me to my shit.” He explains that this is particularly important to him as he struggles with depression and having a group of people around him to keep him going every day has been helpful. Frawley has also been crucial to his friends as his confidence and openness about his queer and trans identity, as he highlights, has helped many of his friends explore their gender identities and sexualities in a safe supportive environment. His choice to commit to Lawrence has helped to further create a safe space on campus, as igniting these spaces even in small group settings helps shift the environment even further towards inclusivity and support.
While Frawley has already supported so many queer and trans folk around him and in his circles, he strives to do more. He states that while he didn’t have much of the ability to be a part of them this year, he is excited to become more a part of queer and trans groups and organizations here on campus next year. This is helpful for his journey after Lawrence as he aims to work in the sex education field so he can help queer and trans folk in many communities to both have a role model in the exploration of identity and someone to support them through their journey. Despite knowing what impact he wants to have — to support queer/trans folk through sex education –– he is still figuring out how he will achieve and reach these goals post-college. He knows that, however, he is still someone who is growing and changing into becoming the best version and most in tune with himself that he can be every day, and navigating this will allow him to become one step closer to figuring out what he wants to do next.
Frawley is someone who will be making a change in the lives of many queer and trans folk as he already has in his first year here at Lawrence. He finds deep purpose in the exploration of himself and his identity and both providing and receiving support from the people around him. He is someone who actively creates spaces of safety and exploration, and will continue to do so for many more people in the future. Frawley is already a role model to look up to.