Sunday, August 16, 2009

QNOC Digest 2009.07.19

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.07.19

Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to

1. The Denver Channel - Air Force Academy Gets Gay Board Member
2. Indian Express - Gay-lesbian course at UoP sets an example for other universities
3. Pink News - US student 'forced' into ex-gay therapy

1. The Denver Channel, July 15, 2009
123 Speer Boulevard, Denver, CO 80203-3417
Air Force Academy Gets Gay Board Member
By Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force Academy has a gay member on its Board of Visitors.

Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis was named to the board Wednesday. Polis became the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a non-incumbent last year.

House leaders also reappointed Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, whose district includes the academy in Colorado Springs.

The Board of Visitors gives semiannual reports on the military academy to Congress and the Pentagon.

Polis opposes the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military. But a Polis aide says Polis considers the Air Force appointment an honor and doesn't plan to use it to try to change policy.

2. Indian Express, July 16, 2009
The Indian Express Online Media (Pvt) Ltd, 9&10, Bhadur Shah Zafar Marg, Express Building, ITO, New Delhi -110002, India
Gay-lesbian course at UoP sets an example for other universities
By Sunanda Mehta

When the University of Pune (UoP) started a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) course in 2007, it was the second university in the country, after University of Hyderabad, to do so. Then, the UoP initially even had to put a disclaimer saying that one doesn’t have to be gay to take the course.

Today even as two of its students take up LGBT topics for MPhil research, other universities are mulling over the possibility of getting the Department of English, that conducts the LGBT course, to hold a workshop on it for their teachers, reflecting a significant change in the academia’s mindset.

“The other day, two professors from outside Pune — PC Kar from the University of Baroda and CJ Jahagirdhar from Kolhapur University — visited us and were of the opinion that we should conduct workshop for college-level lecturers on the LGBT course on their campuses. It shows a welcome change in the attitude of the academic fraternity,” said Raj Rao, professor of English at the UoP, whose persistence resulted in the LGBT course seeing the light of the day.

Rao is now hopeful that the scrapping of Section 377 will help further in extending the course, which has been taken up only by the Jawaharlal Nehru University after Hyderabad and Pune, to other universities in the country.

“It’s strange how the academic fraternity that has always been quick to accept all kinds of literature — Marxist, feminist, Dalit — had a huge reservation when it came to queer literature. For years, the Board of Studies refused to let us start the course saying that ‘Indian students do not need it’. Finally we clubbed it with Dalit literature and started it under the genre of Alternative Literature,” Rao says.

Despite the resistance, 20 students enrolled for the one-semester course in the first year and 15 opted for it in the second year. This year, the course has taken further strides with two students doing their MPhil based on the course topics.

“I took up the topic because it was challenging and different,” says Kailas Kalapahad from Ahmednagar who is basing his thesis on Yaraana, a collection of short stories on homosexuality. Kalapahad admits that initially he had to explain his choice of topic to his peers and family.

Richa Singh from Meerut, the other student to take up MPhil based on LGBT topics, says that the opposition she faced ranged from disdain to vehement protests from her peers, who even said that they feared for her safety. “Probably they even suspect our sexuality but don’t say so,” grins the 25-year-old who has been selected for a 10-month scholarship by Tubinger University in Germany and would be researching her thesis there.

While both the students say that there is no dearth of study material, they admit that thesis on LGBT studies are almost non-existent. “Everyone seems to want to take up safer topics for research,” says Singh.

Rao, however, feels that LGBT issues have the maximum potential for research. “All other topics have been done to death. These are new and full of possibilities.”

3. Pink News, July 16, 2009
Pheonix Yard, 65 Kings Cross Road, London WC1X 9LW
US student 'forced' into ex-gay therapy
By Jessica Geen

A gay pre-med student from Arkansas has been "forced" into therapy to cure him of homosexuality.

According to his friends, Bryce Faulkner, 23, was preparing to come out to deeply religious family when his mother discovered emails to his boyfriend, who lives in Wisconsin.

He was then given an ultimatum of being kicked out on the street or going into ex-gay therapy, a controversial "cure" for homosexuality through prayer.

Gay rights activists say it does not work and can be emotionally devastating.

Friends say the college student was left with no choice, as his parents took away his phone, his car and his money.

Speaking to, his boyfriend Travis Swanson, 24, said he was "very worried".

Swanson said: "Bryce was taken to this place on June 15th. The last time I spoke with him was on that day around 4:30am.

"He called me and was crying uncontrollably saying, 'You should have heard the mean and hateful things they said about me. They made me read out loud passages from the Bible'.

"One of the last things he said to me before falling asleep was, 'Promise me you will be strong for me and for us'."

Swanson believes Faulkner may be at an Exodus International ministry in Florida.

He said a friend of the family had heard Faulkner would be in Mississippi for three weeks and then in Florida for 14 months.

Exodus International has six ministries and 16 churches in Florida. Swanson believes Faulkner may be at one in Pensacola.

The church movement promises "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ".

Peterson Toscano, who has campaigned against so-called homosexuality 'cures' after spending 17 years in ex-gay therapy, told "Like in the UK, so much of the ex-gay treatment in the US these days, especially for young people, happens under the radar through Christian counsellors, church youth programs and summer camps.

"Parents can wield tremendous pressure on college-aged children, threatening to withhold funding or even to disown their own children unless they submit to the 'de-gaying' process.

"Through the over 1,000 ex-gay survivors in the US and UK I have met through and in my travels, I have seen firsthand the devastating emotional, psychological and spiritual damage these 'treatments' and theories inflict on people, often derailing their personal and professional development for years.

"The fruits of these so-called treatments are depression, confusion, isolation, and a damaged sense of self. When parents insist that their child receive these unsound and unregulated procedures, they not only harm their relationship with their own child, but also open up their son or daughter to the potential of personal harm."

To support the campaign to find Bryce Faulkner, visit

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