Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.10.18
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to email@example.com
1. Inside Higher Ed - 'We Are Students for Equality'
2. Yale Daily News - Yalies march for LGBT in D.C.
3. UNLV Rebel Yell - Celebrating LGBT history month
4. AnnArbor.com - Supporters rally at the Diag for National Coming Out Week
5. Daily Trojan - GLBTA panel calls for better Greek relations
6. Red and Black - Panel addresses questions surrounding LGBT community
7. The Chronicle - Changing Genders, Changing Policies
8. Inside Higher Ed - New Civil Rights Movement
9. Spartan Daily - Student group marches for gay rights
10. Fox 59 - Students push for gay fraternity at Indiana University
11. The Washington Times - Notre Dame feels political heat again
12. The Star-Ledger - Princeton University to allow undergraduate men, women to share apartment-style dorm rooms
13. BG Views - Fighting LGBT discrimination
14. The Marshall Parthenon - Lambda Society goes to DC for equality
15. The Daily UW - We’re all in this together
16. The GW Hatchet - Students rally for gay rights
17. The University of Idaho Argonaut - UI celebrates LGBT history month
18. Daily Eastern News (Eastern Illinois U) - LGBT center under consideration
19. The Daily Advertiser - Students raise awareness of gay rights
20. Public News Service - First Arizona LGBT Archive Launches in Tucson
21. The Crimson White - Our View: UA should back gay rights
22. News Channel 5 - Students At Local University Reigniting Push For Equal Rights
23. The Kentucky Kernel - The hate crime that changed the way we think: Non-profit brings story of Shepard to campus
24. The Daily Athenaeum - Economic argument against gay marriage holds no water
1. Inside Higher Ed, October 12, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
'We Are Students for Equality'
By Jennifer Epstein
WASHINGTON -- Thousands of students from hundreds of colleges converged here Saturday and Sunday for the National Equality March, the first national protest for gay rights in more than a decade.
Students from as far away as the University of Southern California and as close as George Washington University put down their books, rescheduled midterm exams and skipped team practices to bring student voices to the calls for same-sex marriage and an end to the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
On Sunday afternoon, tens of thousands of people marched from the White House to the Capitol to hear speeches from organizers and activists (and a few celebrities, including pop star Lady Gaga). Nicole-Murray Ramirez, a longtime activist and march co-chair, told the crowd that “a sleeping giant has woken among us – GLBT youth and students. Stop telling our youth that they are our future, for they are our here and now. Indeed, the torch of activism and, yes, leadership has been passed on to a new generation … you are charged with fulfilling the dream and fighting for equality.”
Richard Aviles, a freshman at St. Olaf College, spoke on behalf of student organizers, encouraging young people to be comfortable with who they are. “You have a brother at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota,” he said. Students from the State University of New York at Binghamton and Western Kentucky University also spoke.
Before the march, hundreds of students gathered Sunday morning at the Ellipse, just south of the White House, to walk over to McPherson Square, where the official procession began. “Be sure to wear your school shirts and colors!” one note to participants said, and many did. Students decked out in the University of Michigan’s blue and maize said that more than 60 had traveled together from Ann Arbor. More than 200 came from Georgetown University. A handful drove down from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.
“We’re part of a movement that’s been going on for a long time but that most students haven’t had a chance to be part of,” said David Valk, national student outreach coordinator for the march. “They’re experiencing that feeling of getting in the streets and protesting … all of these kids here are going to go back home, back to their colleges and take action.”
He added: “We are the new generation, the next generation.”
In the months leading up to the march, Valk, who graduated earlier this year from the University of California at Los Angeles, collected signatures and statements of support from student leaders at dozens of institutions ranging from Westminster College of Salt Lake City, Utah, to Yale University. In “Call to Action,” the leaders asked “students, no matter their sexual orientation, to organize buses, planes and trains, so we may express our unity and unwavering commitment to freedom and equality.”
Bellarmine University students Matt Livers, a junior, and Ari Ballaban, a senior, drove nine hours Sunday morning from Louisville, Ky., because, Livers said, they wanted to “support the cause.” He added that though their institution is “a small, private, Catholic university, the community is very inclusive of LGBT people, for whatever reason.”
Brandon Gaca, a sophomore at Indiana University at Bloomington, said his campus is a haven in the midst of “a state and a community that’s pretty conservative.” He said there are many student groups to serve LGBT students and their allies.
Gaca was at the protest Sunday with several students he met through the Tumblr blogging platform, including Andrew Wojtek, a senior at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. Wojtek said he is “the only openly gay student” among the institution’s 1600 undergraduates; he networks with people at other colleges to meet other gay students.
Because he is the only openly gay student there, Wojtek said, there is no campus LGBT organization and the allies group is “pretty lame, only like five people; I’m not in it myself because it’s so small.” Even so, he added, “it’s not hard for me to be gay on campus.”
Rallying for the Troops
A text message went out to students just before 1 p.m. on Saturday: “ATTN!! FLASH PROTESTS IN DC!! MEET @ WASHINGTON MONUMENT … 3PM. END DONT ASK DONT TELL!”
By 4 p.m., a few hundred students from Ohio University, American University and Texas Women’s University, among other institutions, had gathered at the foot of the monument. After speeches and chants, organizers passed around rolls of gray duct tape and asked students to cover their mouths. “We are silent because they are silent,” Valk told the crowd, invoking the members of the U.S. armed forces who are discharged or choose not to reenlist because of the military’s ban on openly gay service members. "We are students for equality."
Silent or clapping, the group blocked traffic as it walked slowly down 15th Street and turned left on Pennsylvania Avenue. At the White House, the procession stopped, students removed the tape from their mouths and screamed. Valk and other leaders of the procession addressed their chants to President Obama, calling for him to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and take other actions in support of gay Americans.
The group then continued on to George Washington University’s Kogan Plaza, where a series of speakers addressed the students.
One was Todd Belok, a sophomore at GW, who was kicked out of Navy ROTC there last year after two fellow midshipmen told their commander “they saw me kissing someone – my boyfriend.”
Belok's story has encouraged his peers to be vocal in protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" over the last few months. Michael Komo, a junior who is president of the university's LGBT group Allied in Pride, had planned to hold a protest for GW students this weekend before realizing "the great chance we had to get folks from out of town to be a part of what we're doing."
Many GW students, he added, were hosting students visiting for the march. "It's a way for us to contribute," he said, but he also urged students to go back to their own colleges to call for gay rights. “Thanks for making it strong at our school. Now go make it strong at your school.”
Organizing on Campus
Whether it’s easy or difficult to be gay on their own campuses, many students look to social or political LGBT groups for a sense of community.
A few dozen campus leaders – or students hoping to establish groups and become leaders – headed to a church in a residential area of Washington on Saturday afternoon for “How to Organize on Campus: Tips for Effective Organizing on College Campuses,” a workshop where successful leaders spoke about their efforts and a few students sought help in building their own organizations.
One panelist was Brendan Davis, who graduated from Emerson College last spring and now works for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Davis said he struggled to organize LGBT events on campus because the campus was so open. “You’d think it’d be really easy but it wasn’t. People thought there was no need for us, so we really had to work hard to come up with activities we could get people to go to.”
Indiana State University students Colin Hammar and Jordan Toy created Advocates for Equality, a group for gay students and allies, at their Terra Haute campus last year. They work without administration support or a budget and organize “events that cost no money,” Hammar said, sometimes taking cash from their own wallets to pay for food at meetings.
Sylvain Bruni, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talked about his experience working with a bigger budget and administration support. “We go to as many offices and departments as we can, apply for grants, to be able to do our events,” he said. A few years ago, MIT’s annual drag ball cost $15,000. More recently, though, the campus’ LGBT groups spent $50,000 and brought in comedian Margaret Cho.
Ten students from Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., traveled to Washington for the march. They went to Saturday’s event in search of help building a campus group, even as one of their leaders is “still closeted to some people on campus,” he said, and “the university is really not supportive of us.”
2. Yale Daily News, October 12, 2009
202 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Yalies march for LGBT in D.C.
By Baobao Zhang
WASHINGTON — Yale student activists added a splash of Bulldog blue to the rainbow-colored crowd at the National Equality March on Sunday.
About 25 Yale students travelled to the nation’s capital to participate in the march, which drew tens of thousands of members of the LGBT community and their supporters here. Most of the students traveled to the event with more than 70 Connecticut activists on a bus chartered by the Connecticut chapter of Equality Across America.
The march was part of a national effort to raise awareness about discrimination against gays. Participants carried signs and shouted chants advocating for same-sex marriage, abolition of the U.S. military “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and protection of LGBT individuals in schools and the workplace. The march came the day after President Barack Obama’s address at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Saturday night, during which the president renewed his promise to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military but did not offer any specific timetable.
Marchers of all age groups, ranging from high school students to the elderly, flooded down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the South Lawn of the Capitol, where the event culminated in a rally featuring gay activist icons such as Cleve Jones, an AIDS activist and protege of Harvey Milk, and Lt. Daniel Choi, a discharged National Guardsman. Many of the Yale students in attendance, including Amalia Horon-Skilton ’13, cited Jones, an AIDS and LGBT activist who visited Yale Law School on Oct. 6, as a source of inspiration.
The Yalies left New Haven at 4:30 a.m. on a bus chartered by the Connecticut chapter of Equality Across America, a group created to rally supporters to attend the march.
Despite sleep deprivation and the seven-hour bus ride, students arrived in Washington eager to make signs for and participate in the march.
Of the six Yale students interviewed, all said they were upset at openly-gay Democratic Congressman Barney Frank’s comments Saturday in which he described the march as a “waste of time at best.”
Alison Adams ’09, who now works at a non-profit environmental organization in Washington, D.C., said she thinks the march will put pressure on members of Congress to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
“I think Barney Frank’s comment is ridiculous,” Adams said. “There’s going to be a lot of press coverage about the march, and the politicians afterwards will have to respond to this.”
Lexi Gainsmith ’13 said she came to the event to speak out as a lesbian and that she is looking for “equality in everything.”
“I don’t think it’s just a one time deal,” Gainsmith said. “We should all rally and also send letters to our senators and congressmen.”
Other universities also had contingents at the march. Students from Princeton University carried a large orange banner to show their support. The Pride Alliance of Amherst College sent 20 students to the event.
The Yale students dressed in relatively subdued casual clothing compared with students from other colleges, who decked themselves in rainbow stripes. But when it came time to chant, the Yalies were just as fervent, shouting cheers such as, “Hey Obama, can’t you see? We demand equality.”
During the rally following the march, several speakers addressed Obama’s seeming lack of commitment to the LGBT cause. David Mixner, the chief organizer of the National Equality March, criticized the president for not signing a stop-loss order to halt the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy temporarily.
“The president asked us to help him, and help him, we did,” Mixner said. “But we voted for him not to be led by Congress, but for him to lead Congress.”
Choi, a U.S. Army combat veteran who was discharged from the National Guard after he disclosed his sexual orientation on The Rachel Maddow Show this March, gave a personal testimony about how difficult it is for LGBT people to serve in the military.
“Love is worth fighting for,” Choi said. “We love our country even when it rejects our love.”
The rally also featured a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., which sang classics like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Over the Rainbow.” The chorus’s concluding rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” drew warm applause from the audience, which filled the South Lawn of the Capitol and spilled over into the surrounding sidewalks.
The march appeared to draw little criticism from tourists or the residents of Washingtonian, D.C., as onlookers who lined the sidewalk along the march route cheered on while waving rainbow flags.
While the March itself took place on Sunday, the Web site for Equality Across America advertised events beginning Friday afternoon and stretching to Monday.
3. UNLV Rebel Yell, October 12, 2009
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, Box 2011, Las Vegas, NV 89154
Celebrating LGBT history month
By Pashtana Usufzy
Students and university groups kicked off their celebrations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history month last week, hosting events and inviting students of all sexes and preferences to join them.
“I have a lot of friends who are lesbian, gay transgender, queer and just listening to them explaining the difficulties [in] expressing themselves and being open with their idenities,” said UNLV student and human rights activist Howard Watts, explaining why the rights of LGBTQ youths are important to him.
Watts and his friends gathered last week to write chalk messages on the sidewalks of campus encouraging LGBTQ members of campus to “come out.”
Notes like “You are loved,” a portion of a Dr. Seuss poem, and a list of states where same-sex couples can obtain marriage certificates decorated the cement floor.
The idea came from a similar activity at Drew University in New Jersey, which has taken place for the past five years.
Despite being organized on short notice, the group’s messages like “celebrate peace, celebrate love” struck a chord with Watts’ friends.
“We were going to do a more organized thing and work with Spectrum more on doing the chalk messages,” Watts said, “but it all just kind of came together last minute.”
Spectrum, the university group dedicated to supporting LGBTQ community on campus, has made efforts to make people more aware of its presence.
“We should be united and supportive of each other because we’re all in the same boat,” said Kim Lowe, a transgender member of Spectrum.
Lowe, who said he came out to his family two years ago and told them he was transgender just five or six months ago, has received nothing but support from his family.
“I knew when the right time [came], my mom would be there for me, my family would be there for me,” he said, adding that he understands that many LGBTQ people have not had this experience.
“Uniting and being a voice is important,” Lowe said.
He added that yesterday, which was National Coming Out Day, should be only one part of the story of gay and transgender rights activism.
“It’s beyond National Coming Out Day,” Lowe said. “Hopefully this can be all year long.”
He said he hopes the events held during October and the messages spread by organizations like Spectrum encourage students like his to “be honest with the people around you.”
“In a world where people are expected to be perfect, it’s okay to be yourself,” Lowe said, “no matter what other people say.”
Watts said he hopes people, especially those who are not affected first hand by the fight for LGBTQ rights. Come forward in support of what he said he believes is a human rights matter.
“The fact [is] that all of us are human beings and I think we’re all entitled to a certain level of decency and respect,” Watts said, “and I think it’s really sad that an entire group of people is often not given that respect and not treated decently.”
Watts said the event and the month of October should be used to “[let] LGBTQ youth know who their friends are.”
LGBT History Month began in the United States in 1994, four years after the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases.
October was chosen because it incorporated National Coming Out Day and commemorated the first of many LGBTQ protesters’ marches on Washington in 1979.
4. AnnArbor.com, October 12, 2009
301 E. Liberty St., Suite 700, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
http://www.annarbor.com/news/national-coming-out-week-rally/ (Click link for video.)
Supporters rally at the Diag for National Coming Out Week
Students and community members showed their support today for the gay community during the National Coming Out Week rally at the University of Michigan's Diag on main campus. The rally commemorates the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which one-half million people attended Oct. 11, 1987. The event was sponsored by the University of Michigan Spectrum Center and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Commission of Michigan Student Assembly.
5. Daily Trojan, October 13, 2009
USC Student Union 421, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0895
GLBTA panel calls for better Greek relations
By Ana Cosma
The gay and Greek communities at USC need to build a working relationship to address the existing tension and lack of communication, a panel of gay students and alumni concluded Monday at the Gay & Greek Speak Out.
More than 45 students showed up to listen to alumni and current USC fraternity members share what it is like to be gay and in the Greek system. The panel event was run by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Assembly — without the involvement of any Greek councils.
“Right now it’s an unspoken issue, but we need to open these channels of communication, and hopefully the Greek community will be more receptive to LGBT individuals,” said Genevieve Flores, executive director of the GLBTA. “The Greek community needs to make it okay for individuals who are LGBT need to come out.”
Although Flores said the event touched on some of the difficulties facing lesbian and bisexual women in sororities, the main focus of the panel was to discuss the difficulty of being a gay male in the Greek system.
Panelist Stephen Anderson, a USC alumnus and a member of Delta Chi fraternity, said although fraternities were seeing more openly gay members, he had still witnessed homophobic behavior in his time at USC.
“I heard the term ‘faggot’ tossed around all the time,” Anderson said. “It’s a tough environment … I’ve found that there is a lot of misunderstanding on both sides.”
Vincent Vigil, director of the LGBT Resource Center, said both the LGBT and the Greek communities need to focus on facilitating a safe environment where LGBT students feel comfortable, without the fear of homophobic remarks or behavior.
“I don’t know if all people who are Greek understand the difficulties of being gay and Greek … So on both sides, there needs to be learning and understanding about these issues,” Vigil said.
As the politics of gay rights become increasingly visible — President Barack Obama recently brought the issue back to the national conversation by promising to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” laws as well as the Defense of Marriage Act — Flores said GLBTA is moving forward with the overall goals of promoting relevant LBGT issues and increasing acceptance of LGBT students on USC’s campus, through events like the panel.
The discussion included a focus on the panelists’ experiences with attending fraternity and sorority events with same-sex partners, and the discrimination they faced during the rush period.
Steven Philp, a senior majoring in creative writing and international relations who was a panelist at the event, said gay members of the Greek community still felt a stigma because the topic is considered somewhat taboo.
“The biggest challenge in the Greek community is that it has a heterosexist structure,” said Philp, who described himself as an openly gay member of Beta Theta Phi. “I never brought a guy to my own invite, as I was very discouraged, and you definitely feel a little isolated.”
A number of students who attended the event said they were disappointed that Panhellenic and IFC did not contribute to the event and hoped to hear more discussion about being a lesbian or bisexual girl in a sorority in the future.
“It’s not talked about … It’s probably harder to be a lesbian in a sorority than it is to be gay in a fraternity,” said Mary Walsh, a current Panhellenic sorority member. “The Greek system is very big on heteronormativity.”
The event was prompted by an incident last semester, when Isaac Ahn, a senior majoring in English and communication, wrote a letter to the Daily Trojan accusing the Greek system of homophobia and discrimination, according to Flores.
That letter gave GLBTA the idea of holding a panel discussion to explore some of the subtler aspects of Greek life, especially for gay or lesbian members.
Philp said although IFC and the Panhellenic Council seemed open to interacting with the LGBT community, there is a need for equality education for individual chapters.
IFC President Nick Hamada, who attended the event, said IFC encouraged all fraternity members to participate.
“We are an open community, so there is overlap between our communities,” Hamada said. “They are trying to increase dialogue between the communities to bring up these important issues.”
Hamada said IFC plans to work on improving communications about these issues with individual chapters, as well as looking at aspects of the rush process.
The panel discussion, which was followed by a question and answer session with attendees, ended with a sense of general consensus that the communities have to make an effort to work together.
“Our goal is just to educate ourselves, as the different communities don’t know that much about each other,” Flores said. “We wanted to provide a window into both worlds.”
6. Red and Black, October 13, 2009
540 Baxter Street, Athens GA, 30605
Panel addresses questions surrounding LGBT community
By Julia Carpenter
The University Lambda Alliance is holding a student discussion, "Q & A with Queers," today addressing questions from University students about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"We'll take whatever questions anyone asks us," said Ashton May, a third-year English major from Marietta and executive director of the Lambda Alliance. "There's always a lot of questions."
At Tuesday's panel discussion, the Alliance also hopes to debunk myths common to LGBT issues.
"People always have a lot of questions about what it's like to come out, but I think transgender issues are coming to the surface right now," May said. "A lot of people are comfortable with LGBT students already, so I think these issues of gender will be talked about more."
The Lambda Alliance is offering "Q & A with Queers" through the Speakers Bureau, its primary education program. Five students run a typical Speakers Bureau panel discussion, answering any questions about LGBT issues University students may have.
Campus residence halls, University professors, and members of the Athens community have requested Speakers Bureau presentations from the Alliance - and often work with the Lambda Speakers - to tailor the discussion's agenda to meet specific educational goals.
May said the Lambda Alliance Speakers Bureau recently sponsored an educational program on Human Sexuality for students, and the organization hopes to arrange similar events throughout the semester.
The Lambda Alliance accepts any potential new members from faculty, staff and the student population interested in promoting good will toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Alliance members participate annually in events on the local, state and national level.
The Lambda Alliance "Q & A with Queers" session will be in room 148 of the Miller Learning Center from 7 to 9 p.m. today.
7. The Chronicle, October 11, 2009
1255 Twenty-Third Street, N.W., Seventh Floor, Washington, D.C. 20037
Changing Genders, Changing Policies
By Greta W. Schnetzler and GayLynn Kirn Conant
A significant number of students and faculty and staff members who openly identify themselves as transgender are appearing on college and university campuses.
In fact, nearly 300 colleges and universities have policies that recognize the rights of transgender people to be free from discrimination and harassment. Case law under federal nondiscrimination statutes has also recognized some degree of protection for expression of gender identity, as have some states, counties, and municipalities.
As medical understanding of gender variations has increased, and as treatment and support for people who wish to change gender has become more widely available, it seems natural that the visibility of transgender people on campuses should also increase. But that may depend on the extent to which individual colleges have created a welcoming environment where transgender individuals feel that they belong and know that resources are available to them when difficulties arise.
Perhaps the first step in sending a signal that individuals will be welcomed and respected on your campus, regardless of their gender expression or gender identity, is to explicitly prohibit discrimination against and harassment of students and faculty and staff members for any reason. Posting such policies on the college Web site will help assure transgender people that your administration is committed to equal treatment for all.
Here are additional areas that colleges can address to make their campuses more welcoming to transgender people:
Diversity training. Incorporating concepts of gender diversity and respect for gender identity into more-general diversity and nondiscrimination training is crucial. As with other institutional values, respect for gender identity and diversity begins at the top. Administrators, faculty members, and campus health-care providers should all be familiar with the rights and needs of this community.
Paperwork. One of the first contacts an individual has with a college or university is filling out forms for admission and matriculation. Administrators should consider whether is it really necessary to request information regarding gender on applications and other standard forms. When possible, omitting such questions or offering "gender neutral" options may help people whose gender expression or identity does not neatly fit into the standard choices of "male" or "female" to feel more comfortable in applying.
Names and name changes. Name changes or the use of preferred names that are different from legal names is another area to be aware of and sensitive to. Wherever state and federal laws allow, transgender individuals should be permitted to use or change their names to their preferred names on college documents, including identification cards, even if they have not yet obtained court orders for changes in their legal names. College forms should provide a space for individuals to give their preferred names and pronouns. When a person is making a name change, it is important that relevant campus offices be made aware of the campus policy on name use and changes.
Health insurance. While it may not always be feasible, colleges should explore providing health insurance that includes at least some coverage for the specific health needs of people who wish to change gender. Such coverage is becoming more available, as are medically and culturally competent treatment options for transgender people.
Handling gender transitions. The most difficult cases related to transgender discrimination seem to arise when a student or employee who has already been on the campus for some time announces an intention to change gender. For the transitioning employee or student, that is usually one step in what is already a long process of self-acceptance and understanding. The transitioning employee or student may feel vulnerable and apprehensive about the reactions to such an announcement, while co-workers or fellow students may be confused or even hostile to the anticipated change.
Transitions poorly handled can certainly set the stage for a disruptive or hostile atmosphere. A trained facilitator can emphasize the institutional expectations of respect and equal treatment while creating a safe place for colleagues or fellow students to ask questions, express fears, and receive accurate information.
Restrooms. The point at which a transitioning person changes which restroom he or she uses may give rise to complaints from co-workers or fellow students who are not comfortable with the situation. Some administrators, assuming that the transitioning person has no right to make that change until after gender-reassignment surgery, may demand to see medical proof of a person's right to change which facility he or she uses. But many transgender individuals shift fully into their adopted genders long before undergoing surgery, or they may decide to forgo some or all surgery related to the transition. The first principle should be respecting the right of transitioning people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify, regardless of surgery status.
Single-occupant restrooms for anyone who feels uncomfortable or would like to have more privacy can defuse such situations. When facilities are remodeled, colleges can look for opportunities to adapt existing restrooms to single occupancy or add whatever is needed.
Housing. A related issue is providing safe and comfortable housing for transgender students while remaining sensitive to and respectful of all students. An important part of the process is ensuring that a transgender student has the ability to disclose his or her gender identity to the housing office as early as possible, to facilitate planning and an appropriate housing assignment. In addition to the traditional "male" and "female" gender choices, many housing applications now allow students to describe their gender identity and housing preferences in a narrative format.
Several colleges have addressed the need for housing that goes beyond the traditional dorm designations of male, female, and co-ed. Some colleges handle transgender-housing needs case by case. Others have created theme halls and houses for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. More recently some institutions have designated gender-neutral halls or suites with students of different genders sharing the same room, suite, or apartment, or have adopted a gender-neutral housing policy that, in addition to better serving transgender students, offers more choices to students who want to live with friends of the opposite sex. Establishing policies and procedures to handle housing issues and/or disputes is critical, as is providing training to housing-staff members.
Resources. Many colleges already have affinity groups or centers that advocate for and serve as a resource to transgender as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual students. While their interests do not always align perfectly, such groups can be a good campus resource, not only for transgender students but also for administrators and managers who have questions or concerns, or who wish to provide training or information to groups of co-workers or fellow students in the broader campus community. Several colleges' lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender centers make use of "out lists" or similar Web-based spaces where people voluntarily identify themselves and signal their willingness to be contacted by others who are considering coming to the institution as a student or faculty or staff member.
Finally, there is a wealth of information and resources on Web sites, including those hosted by the Transgender Law Center (http://transgenderlawcenter.org), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (http://www.nclrights.org), the Human Rights Campaign (http://www.hrc.org), and the Transgender Law and Policy Institute (http://transgenderlaw.org). Some of those organizations provide education and training to employers and other organizations. And a list of transgender education and support resources specific to colleges is available at http://www.trans-academics.org/trans_studies.
Establishing supportive policies and resources for the transgender community is important, not only with respect to antidiscrimination and harassment principles but also to ensure that your institution recruits the best and the brightest students and faculty and staff members, regardless of their gender identity.
Greta W. Schnetzler is deputy campus counsel at the University of California at San Francisco. GayLynn Kirn Conant is a partner in the law firm Lombardi, Loper & Conant, in Oakland, Calif.
8. Inside Higher Ed, October 14, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
New Civil Rights Movement
By Scott McLemee
In the weeks leading up to the National Equality March -- held in Washington this past Sunday -- I found myself in the awkward position, for a straight person, of defending same-sex marriage rights to gay people who hated the whole idea with a passion.
Half the pleasure of being gay, explained my irritated interlocutors, is running wild. Maybe more than half.
Now in fact I do not doubt this. As a teenager circa 1980, I went through a countercultural initiation that involved listening to Patti Smith’s version of “Gloria” (treating it as a song about lesbian cruising) while reading William S. Burroughs, whose experimental fiction tended to include sadomasochistic orgies between young male street hustlers and extraterrestrials. A somewhat less literary(if not necessarily less exotic) exposure to to gay folkways has gone with living in Dupont Circle in Washington for a couple of decades. My own life is almost comically straight and narrow and monogamously domesticated. But that hardly precludes the ability to acknowledge and affirm other possible arrangements.
Besides, marriage isn't for everybody, and there are statistics to prove it.
Anyway, my argument with the fierce anti-matrimonialists boiled down to a fairly simple point: The right to marry is not an obligation to marry. I doubt this persuaded anyone. The assumption seemed to be that I was practicing cultural genocide through heteronormativity. I sure hope not. Committing cultural genocide would be bad.
In any case, something like 150,000 people turned out on Sunday to march past the White House on their way to the Capitol. The demand of the protest was simple: full equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBT) in all matters covered by civil law.
It was a spirited crowd. But on consideration, it might have been more than that.
Early this summer, I devoted a column to gathering the thoughts of various scholars on what developments they expected might emerge within LGBT studies over the next decade. At that point, planning for the march was at its most grass-rootsy. Now, a few months later, I suspect that a new wave of research and reflection will be necessary to deal with something not previously anticipated, let alone theorized. For we seem to be witnessing the emergence of a civil rights movement in which the struggle for recognition and equality goes beyond “identity politics” (in which each subset of an oppressed group insisted on the incommensurable specificity of its own experience and struggle).
Something new is coming forward. It is not purely a matter of sexual identity, let alone of political activism. I think it involves something much deeper, drawing on bonds of solidarity that extend across divisions in sexual orientation. Forty years after Stonewall, a generation or two has grown used to the idea of feeling mutual respect, affection, and everyday concern with people who belong to a different erotic cohort (if that is how to put it).
Beyond a certain point, such ties cease to be merely personal. They create a new sense of justice. You feel protective. If my friends who were married in one state cannot see one another in the hospital when in another state, then their anger is my anger. An injury to one is an injury to all. This does not mean that homophobia disappears from society. Far from it. But it means there is a counterforce.
A less sanguine view comes across in Sarah Schulman's Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, a recent title from the New Press. The author is a novelist and playwright who is professor of English at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. It is a short and angry book. Unlike many another volume of social criticism by an academic, it does not mediate or diffuse that anger through carefully rehearsed stagings of the author’s theoretical affiliations. She just gets right down to it.
The fact that gay figures (real or fictional) are now often routinely shown in the media is not, she points out, “progressive” as such: “They often portray the gay person as pathological, lesser than, a side-kick in the Tonto role, or there to provide an emotional catharsis or to make the straight protagonist or viewer a ‘better’ person. What current cultural representations rarely present are complex human beings with authority and sexuality, who are affected by homophobia in addition to their other human experiences, human beings who are protagonists. That type of depth and primacy would force audiences to universalize gay people, which is part of the equality process. It would also force an acknowledgment of heterosexual cruelty as a constant and daily part of American life.”
One of the most devastating and persistent forms of such cruelty, in Schulman’s assessment, is the experience of shunning or forthright attack by family members – reinforced by the silence of other relatives who may not be actively homophobic, but whose passivity makes them complicit. The effect is what she calls “homophobic trauma,” which tends to go unidentified and unnamed.
"For the most part,” she writes, “victimized gay people are expected to grin and bear it. They are expected to be made better and stronger by the cruelty they face instead of being diminished and destabilized.”
Over the weekend (not long before heading off to march, actually) I exchanged e-mails with the author, and asked if there some influence on her thinking that might not be evident from reading her book The answer came as a surprise: Edward Said’s Orientalism, where Schulman found “the acknowledgment that there are unnamed structures which heavily determine the behavior and experience of perpetrators and recipients, but which are considered to be neutral or natural or simply not happening.”
That connection did not jump out at me while reading Ties That Bind, and I may have to think about it for a while longer before it seems clear. But Schulman pressed the point. “Once you identify the structure, name it, and come to an understanding of how it works, what it does to people and what it relies on,” she continued, “then entirely new worlds of recognition are possible.”
In her book, Schulman offers a strategy for dealing with homophobic trauma: Homophobia should be identified as a sickness, with families court-ordered into treatment programs. This is more like Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by way of Madness and Civilization. The cure sounds as bad as the disease -- and in any case ineffectual, unless the next step is electroshock for knuckleheads.
It left me thinking of a comment by Bayard Rustin, an African-American activist who helped organize the March on Washington in 1963. He also happened to be gay. If memory serves, he was drawing a connection between his sense of the history of each movement's struggles when he wrote about the limitations of what you can expect from the state.
The law, he said, defines permissible action but not the content of anyone’s heart. A court can never oblige you to love your neighbors. But it has the right to place you in custody if you burn their house down.
Full equality for LGBT people is not a matter of eventually forcing bigots into group therapy for good. Besides, who want to wait that long? The cure for homophobic trauma can be found in the slogan that caught on after Stonewall: “Dare to snuggle, dare to win!” In other words, just traumatize 'em right back.
9. Spartan Daily, October 15, 2009
One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95112-01493
Student group marches for gay rights
By Dominique Dumadaug
Sunday was National Coming Out Day, and this week is National Coming Out Week at SJSU.
This year, National Coming Out Day featured the "National Equality March" where thousands of people marched in Washington D.C. for gay rights, while members of Queers Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice decided they would have their own march around campus.
A group of seven students marched around with chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia's got to go" and songs about help from gay rights supporters could be heard from the sign-holding students.
"I consider myself a straight ally of the queer community," said Mitchell Colbert, a senior political science major.
The group started its march at the Student Union Center, around to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, made a brief stop at the Ceasar Chavez Memorial Arch, made its way to the Campus Village quad and ended with the group hanging its signs at a fence near the LGBT Resource Center at Building BB.
Two signs read "Allies. Come out, come out where ever you are" and "Are you straight? Do you like the queer community? You might be an ally!"
During the parade around campus, Colbert wore a sign around his neck that read "Ally."
"I feel real passionately about the issue of gay marriage," he said. "Even as a heterosexual person, I can opt to marry. But instead, I have opted to abstain from marriage until we see legalized gay marriage."
A few people from the nearby gay marriage advocate group "Equality California" said they heard about the march on campus and wanted to join the rally.
"We heard about a half an hour ago about this rally, so we wanted to come and introduce ourselves to the students," said Chris Riley, Silicon Valley field manager for Equality California. "We're committed to winning marriage back and going back to the ballot box in 2012. So we're doing the work that we need to be doing right now. We're actually canvassing, going door-to-door in neighborhoods where we lost. We also work on college campuses."
Colleen Malloy, a junior justice studies major, said she felt that even though the parading group was small, it made a big impression on students.
"I'm bisexual, and I think it's important for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community to make their presence known so people don't think there aren't any of us," she said. "I was looking all through the beginning of the semester, for the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) here, but I couldn't find it."
The LGBT Resource Center held a reception awarding four students with the Wiggsy Sivertsen Scholarship and celebrating the first publishing of the "outlist," a list of outed students, faculty-members and allies at SJSU.
The Wiggsy Sivertsen Scholarship is in honor of SJSU personal counselor and gay-rights activist Wiggsy Sivertsen. For the eighth year, $250 and $500 scholarships were awarded to students (gays or allies) who demonstrate a commitment to make SJSU a more open environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
10. Fox 59, October 15, 2009
6910 Network Place, Indianapolis, IN 46278
http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-gay-fraternity-indiana-university-101509,0,525711.story (Click link for video.)
Students push for gay fraternity at Indiana University
By Heather MacWilliams
Indiana University could soon be home to a gay fraternity.
For the next two weeks, Joshua Thomas and four others will be speaking to students around campus trying to drum up support for IU's first gay, bi-sexual and transgender fraternity.
"There are some people that hide themselves while they're there and I don't fee that should be necessary," said Thomas.
Sick and tired of seeing too many of his friends trade their identity for entrance into the Greek community - hit a nerve -- with more people than he even imagined.
"There are a lot of people who hide their sexual identity and it's terrible that they have to do that," said Phillip Roberts, who is now helping to promote the fraternity.
That's when they discovered Sigma Phi Beta and immediately took action to start a chapter at IU.
"We're hoping everybody will be accepting and have their minds open to this idea. We're not trying to do anything to hurt any other groups, we're just trying to give people another social outlet," said Thomas.
But some already in fraternities worry it could create a divide within the Greek system.
"I really hope it doesn't segregate in any means anybody by just limiting yourself to being a strictly gay or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) fraternity," said Josh Thomas, who is openly gay. Thomas adds that there are many other homosexuals who are active members of the existing fraternities and have no problems.
"A lot of the fraternities here on campus, although they're not advertised as straight fraternities, there are people like myself in other organizations."
But there are always exceptions.
"I wish I really could do it but I don't think I would be comfortable with it," Roberts confesses.
Sigma Phi Beta hopes to change all of that by showing what true brotherhood is all about.
"We're not going to discriminate against anybody," Thomas promises.
The group is meeting with the Interfraternity Council of IU in the next two weeks to begin negotiations.
Once the group becomes a colony it can petition the national chapter for a campus charter.
Sigma Phi Beta currently only exists at Arizona State University where it was founded in 2003.
This isn't the first time a gay fraternity has tried to establish a chapter at IU.
Back in 2003, a group of students tried to bring Delta Lambda Phi to campus but it didn't receive enough support from the Greek Community.
11. The Washington Times, October 16, 2009
3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Notre Dame feels political heat again
By Julia Duin
A surprise decision by the University of Notre Dame to send five students to last weekend's gay rights march in the District has produced fury among alumni still smarting from the Catholic institution's invitation to President Obama in May.
Five students belonging to the school's Progressive Student Alliance were given an undetermined amount from the university's student activities fund - from fees assessed to students - to drive to Washington, bunk with friends and participate in the National Equality March last Sunday. Thousands of participants marched from the White House to the Capitol to support gay rights.
Since the news broke Tuesday in the Observer, the student newspaper, comments and postings about the school's sponsorship of the trip have ricocheted on Catholic blogs and some gay outlets.
William Dempsey, a retired Arlington lawyer from the school's Class of 1952 who heads Project Sycamore, an alumni organization with a 10,000-name mailing list, said Notre Dame alumni are "tearing their hair out" over the news.
"We've had a torrent of e-mails from alumni that are suffused with dismay, astonishment and sadness," he said. Notre Dame has "been the icon of American Catholic education for generations. This is like a parent turning on a child unexpectedly." He has asked the university for an explanation but so far the response has been "unsatisfactory," he said.
Dennis Brown, spokesman for the university, did not answer questions from The Washington Times about why one of the nation's pre-eminent Catholic institutions approved the trip, although he did e-mail a brief statement saying the PSA sponsored the journey. And in a short phone conversation, he said the PSA only needed approval from a faculty adviser to spend money on the trip.
PSA President Jackie Emmanuel told the Observer that the school funding was "a wonderful surprise."
"They haven't always been supportive of us in the past," sophomore Joanna Whitfield told the publication. "But we're thrilled."
The Roman Catholic Church has taken one of the strictest stands against homosexual acts of any Christian denomination, calling such acts sinful and homosexual desires "disordered." The church's stance has been reiterated repeatedly under the present Pope Benedict XVI, during whose reign the Vatican has prohibited any priesthood candidate who has "present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or supports the so-called 'gay culture' " to enroll in seminary.
Last year, the PSA presented a petition with about 3,000 signatures of students, faculty and staff to the office of the school president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, asking the school to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination clause.
12. The Star-Ledger, October 15, 2009
1 Star Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ 07102
Princeton University to allow undergraduate men, women to share apartment-style dorm rooms
By Star-Ledger Staff
PRINCETON -- Princeton University will allow male and female undergraduates to share apartment-style dorm rooms under a mixed-gender housing program, administrators announced Wednesday.
The university’s pilot program for the 2010-11 academic year will allow administrators to measure the demand for the option, which has become popular on campuses nationwide over the last decade.
"The pilot will allow upper-class students to explore a full range of housing options in a collegial atmosphere, whether they decide to live on or off campus. The choices also reflect the same options that our students will face as young adults when they graduate," wrote Janet Dickerson, Princeton’s vice president for student life, in an e-mail.
Under the program, juniors and seniors can apply for housing in the university’s Spelman Halls, a cluster of eight dormitories on the southern edge of campus. Each of the 52 four-person suites in Spelman contains a common room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and four single-occupancy bedrooms.
The university’s Undergraduate Life Committee, a student government group that includes administrators as well as students, started discussing the policy last year.
Princeton senior Arthur Levy, the committee chairman, said offering undergraduates mixed-gender housing made practical sense for the university, which last year started a similar program for on-campus graduate students.
"It gives students the opportunity to live and be treated like adults. In the real world, it’s commonly understood that men and women can live together in a way that’s mature," he said.
Emily Rutherford, who is active in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered activisim on campus, had advocated for a policy last winter in a progressive campus magazine.
These students, she said, especially transgendered students, may feel uncomfortable living with same-sex roommates.
"Right now, students can approach the director of student life and have their needs accommodated, but that involves ‘coming out’ and being stigmatized as someone with special needs," Rutherford said. "Making gender a nonissue in rooming removes that stigma for all LGBT students."
On Tuesday, Princeton’s Council of Masters, which helps oversee Princeton’s residential system, approved the Student Life Committee’s plan.
Princeton’s Anscombe Society, which seeks to promote traditional values on campus, criticized the university’s approval process.
"It is a shame that this important policy shift was dropped on the student body without any opportunity for campuswide debate of the important matters at stake," Anscombe President Brandon McGinley wrote in an e-mail.
But Undergraduate Student Government President Connor Diemand-Yauman said that the proposal’s success represented a significant victory for undergraduates.
"For some students, the issue of gender neutral housing can make or break their college experience," he wrote in an e-mail. "We should continuously be evaluating policy to ensure that all students feel comfortable and safe within Princeton, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation."
Princeton’s decision puts the school in the company of a number of institutions that offer mixed-gender rooming options.
Liberal arts schools like Wesleyan College and Oberlin College were among the first institutions to establish mixed-gender policies in the early 2000s. Since then, several other schools — including Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and now all Ivy League universities except Yale — offer some mixed-gender housing.
In New Jersey, Montclair State University has allowed male and female students to live together in the school’s The Village at Little Falls apartment complex for the last five years.
13. BG Views, October 14, 2009
204 West Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403
Fighting LGBT discrimination
By Morgan Addington-Hodge
The effects of discrimination in the community were a main focus during yesterday’s Brown Bag Lunch event.
Jane Rosser was the main speaker at the event and was invited to speak about her involvement in the recent passing of two pieces of anti-discrimination legislation. The first, about discrimination within Fair Housing, passed unanimously. The second, about discrimination within employment, public accommodations and pubic education, passed 6 to 1. Rosser spoke about the legislation but the focus quickly changed to discrimination in general when the discussion moved into a more open forum.
Just because the University has a history and tradition of acceptance doesn’t mean that discrimination doesn’t happen, a faculty member of the University who wished to remain anonymous said. She said she believes there are definitely instances of discrimination on campus and in the community in general. Other faculty members present mentioned that specifically because it isn’t welcoming most of the University staff and faculty don’t live in the community.
Chris Frey, one of only two men at the Brown Bag Lunch, is an openly gay professor in the College of Education and Human Development. Frey said he came to the event because he wants to be involved in his community. He tells his students about his sexual orientation at the beginning of each semester. Frey said that telling his students seems to actually help them.
“I want them to know that it’s part of who I am and it informs how I look at the world.” Frey said.
Frey said he wants his students to realize that at some point in their professional futures they will almost certainly come in contact with students and coworkers who are part of the LGBT community. Frey also said he feels that coming out to his students at the beginning of each semester helps to make his LGBT students feel more comfortable in his class. Frey has never experienced discrimination due to his sexuality but said he doesn’t feel entirely safe from it.
“I would never hold hands, especially not walking down Main Street on a weekend night,” Frey said.
Rosser mentioned that the legislation, while working for a broader group, was mainly focused on rights for members of the LGBT community. Rosser is a lesbian and was surprised and upset by some of the opposition for the legislation.
“I was very disappointed that I had friends and neighbors who didn’t feel I should have the same rights as them,” Rosser said.
Rosser said one argument of the opposition for the legislature was that discrimination didn’t happen in the city. Rosser said she was surprised people were so ignorant, and the expressions of others at the event reinforced Rosser’s surprise.
“BG is a welcoming community and many of us have been able to experience town that way,” Rosser said, “but it’s not consistent for everyone.”
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of the main speaker at the event. She is Jane Rosser, not Jane Rossery.
14. The Marshall Parthenon, October 11, 2009
One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755
Lambda Society goes to DC for equality
By Emily Ayres
Members of Marshall University’s Lambda Society participated in the National Equality March in Washington D.C. on Sunday. Todd Parks, president of the society, said it was the first national march the society has taken part in.
The point of the march was to push the federal government to pass laws for full civil rights equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.
Cleve Jones, who is an out-spoken gay rights leader and has done work for AIDS services, organized the march, Parks said.
“He wants gay and straight people to come together,” Parks said. “We want to fight for our rights but better our neighborhoods and get along with each other every day.”
Robert Cooper, freshman biomedical major from Arlington, W.Va., participated in the march. He said the atmosphere was happy, go-lucky and joyous. The crowd included children and adults, who must have numbered in the hundreds of thousands, Cooper said.
When he arrived at McPherson Square, the march’s posted beginning, people were handing out rainbow beads, dog tags and signs, he said.
“It was a blanket of welcome,” Cooper said.
Ashlee-Amber Lewis, freshman ecology and evolutionary biology major from Elkins, W.Va., also participated in the march.
“It was amazing,” she said. “During the march, it was such a sense of unity and family. It was good seeing people out and about and holding hands with their family.”
The marchers walked past the White House and stopped on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building where a rally started that included speakers and a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus, Cooper said.
The marchers were seeking to get rid of civil rights barriers such as employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military and gay marriage, Parks said.
The day before the march President Barack Obama told about 3,000 members of the LGBT community that he was going to ban the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Associated Press.
The marchers wanted to encourage Obama to keep those promises.
“They definitely know we were here,” Cooper said. “We were big and loud.”
The crowd took up a block and a half of the National Mall in front of the capitol building, Cooper said.
Cooper said he left the march feeling content. He said he wouldn’t hesitate to do something like that again.
“Without a doubt, in a second,” he said.
Emily Ayres can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. The Daily UW, October 12, 2009
We’re all in this together
By Celina Kareiva
A small crowd of UW students gathered outside Schmitz Hall yesterday en route to Volunteer Park and, eventually, the courthouse. They carried signs that read: “We’re Here 4 Queer” and “Straight But Not Narrow.” Their cheeks were painted with peace signs, and their backpacks plastered with “Vote Yes on Referendum 71” stickers.
Local members of the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender) community displayed their support for Washington D.C.’s National Equality March by organizing a similar demonstration in Seattle that began in Volunteer Park and culminated at the federal courthouse. Supporters gathered through the afternoon, and by the time they took to the streets at 3:30 p.m., a crowd of at least 100 had gathered. Bystanders cheered from the sidewalk and joined in the chanting: “LGBT equality.”
Although this is the first National Equality March, the project has been in the works for several months. OUTprotest began planning the event in early July and recently partnered with UW students sophomore Mario Lemafa and senior Ethan Boyles. Most UW participants heard about the event through friends or a chain of Facebook posts. The march is a historical tribute to Oct. 11, 1987, when a similar demonstration brought about National Coming Out Day.
“It’s significant because it’s a distinct symbol of how the LGBT community spans not just Seattle, but the nation as a whole,” said UW sophomore Mimi Donnelly. “It shows the strength of the community.”
The hope is that yesterday’s march will be the beginning of a much more active LGBT community on campus. Students like Lemafa and Boyle want to create a student base to mirror the efforts of organizations such as the Gay-Straight Alliance.
The Seattle Equality March was particularly significant for its grassroots start. It began as an acknowledgement of the LGBT community and grew to a student campaign in support of Referendum 71, a gay-rights ballot measure that will appear in this November’s elections.
Referendum 71 seeks to protect basic rights for domestic partners registered in the state of Washington. Though the referendum most directly affects gay and lesbian couples, it could also impact some heterosexual couples over the age of 62 that seek to register as partners.
“The Seattle Equality March is a message to show that we must be visual and present in the community, showing support for equal protections under the law. For all college students who have the hope of their relationship being recognized, approval of Referendum 71 is absolutely vital,” said Carmen Rivera, a junior at Seattle University who spoke at Sunday’s demonstration.
Lemafa and his fellow participants emphasized the importance of the youth vote in establishing rights for the LGBT community. Lemafa argues that a diverse campus like the UW should feel obligated to get involved.
“As an institution of academic and community progress, UW takes pride in the campus’ diversity and promotes equality,” Lemafa said. “Approving Ref. 71 retains Washington’s laws that protect gay couples’ rights. Everybody knows at least one person that is gay. If the UW campus supports equality, then Ref. 71 must be approved.”
Boyles realizes that there is a long road ahead, and yesterday’s march was just the entry point.
“I don’t identify as an LGBT person, I identify as straight,” Boyles said. “[But] once you can oppress one community, other members can become endangered as well.”
Reach reporter Celina Kareiva at email@example.com.
16. The GW Hatchet, October 12, 2009
2140 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Students rally for gay rights
By Kira Brekke and Andrea Vittorio
Cloudy skies gave way to a sea of rainbow-colored protests as thousands of determined gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight marchers took over D.C. streets this weekend, rallying for equal rights and calling for an end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that bars openly gay people from serving in the military.
The event, which spanned two days, covered much of downtown D.C., and included an equality rally in Kogan Plaza and a massive march that spanned from 15th Street to the Capitol.
The march shut down many streets Sunday when thousands paraded from McPherson Square to the Capitol for the official National Equality March. GW students from Allied in Pride, the College Democrats, and the Jewish Student Association marched with other local university organizations, including Georgetown's GU Pride.
"The crowd is absolutely beautiful," said freshman Ariel Kersky, a member of the College Democrats who said she marched in support of her gay friends at home and at the University.
Overtaking the lawn of the Capitol, demonstrators assembled for the rally and the Gay Men's Choir of Washington D.C. sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Representatives from the executive board of the National Equality March also spoke from a stage, thanking the crowds.
On Saturday, hundreds of activists gathered for a flash protest - a quick-forming, spontaneous demonstration - calling for the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Rainbow flags and umbrellas, glittered signs and "NO H8" temporary tattoos - a reference to the California measure Proposition 8 that outlawed gay marriage in the state - decorated the ever-growing crowd that utilized text messages and social media to coordinate marches and rallies.
"It's an issue that's personal for me," said sophomore Dan Hennessey, a member of Allied in Pride, who said he had previously considered joining the Air Force. "We need to apply more pressure on our politicians to repeal the policy. It's the easiest thing that could be accomplished by (President) Obama."
The policy was first implemented in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. It has since been upheld and has resulted in the dismissal of over 13,000 service members, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. On Saturday, Obama said in a speech that he would repeal the policy.
"It's unfair and disadvantageous that gays and lesbians aren't allowed to serve in the military. Anyone who wants to serve in our military should be able to. It's like an act of terrorism," said Elizabeth Pax, a student-participant from Dallas.
Protesters made it to Kogan Plaza as well Saturday, chanting "silence no more" with increasing tempo as they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue on the way to a rally.
"I'm here to recruit you," Michael Komo, president of Allied in Pride, said at the rally. "I know you're angry. I'm angry. We here at GW are affected too."
Todd Belok, a sophomore at GW student who was dismissed from GW's Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in December of 2008 for being gay, brought the whole march together, coordinating efforts from on-campus organizations and national student groups.
The Kogan Plaza flash protest, which was originally for GW students only, garnered support from Students for the National Equality March, which was represented by Dave Valk, a recent graduate of the University of Califonia-Los Angeles.
"It only took a few clicks and look at what we were able to achieve," Valk said. "We shut down the streets of our nation's capital."
17. University of Idaho Argonaut, October 12, 2009
709 S Deakin St # 301, Moscow, ID 83844
UI celebrates LGBT history month
By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Hundreds of students, staffers, faculty members and community members participated in National Coming Out Day in observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered history month at the Idaho Commons
The event was in conjunction with the University of Idaho’s fourth annual Ally Fest. Rebecca Rod, coordinator of the UI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning and Allied Office, said the festival has grown every year.
“This event is to show more strands of LGBT history and to increase awareness,” Rod said. “It’s been growing over the last four years. I have had a growing number of student groups helping us … close to 20 groups (this year) whereas we have had about 10 in the past.”
These student groups range from the Brotherhood Empowerment Against Rape to “Reslife” and even some multi-cultural organizations. Administration participates as well — Provost Doug Baker, Mark Edwards, the UI diversity director, and Carmen Suarez, the director of the human rights, access and inclusion office helped with the event.
“When people start to know who we are, we become more known as the person next to us,” Rod said. “It is important for people to know. We’re sort of an invisible population and this (event) creates a safe environment. This creates an atmosphere of safety for the lone gay student that there is support.”
That support is even more important when a person remains in the closet.
“Only a couple of my really close friends know that I’m gay,” said a third-year student who requested anonymity. “And I’m OK with that for now. There are just too many things I don’t want to risk by coming out at this point in my life. I definitely do want to tell my parents and everyone, and it sucks having to, I guess, ‘edit’ my life this way. I do go to gay pride events, and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, but this is the way I like it to be right now.”
Out of all the events included in UI’s celebration of LGBT history month, such as dessert socials, film viewings and open discussions, Rod says that the observance of National Coming Out Day is perhaps the most important.
“Celebrating and observing are two terms you can use to describe it,” Rod said. “It (coming out) is joyful for some, painful to others … It’s such a deliberate decision, and the most important part of our process (as a GLBT person).”
National Coming Out Day was founded by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary on October 11, 1988 in remembrance of the first gay march in Washington D.C. in 1987.
National Coming Out Day is a time to promote awareness of GLBT rights and many chose this day to personally accept one’s homosexuality and disclose it to parents, friends, co-workers and even themselves.
“I don’t expect folks to come out at the event,” Rod said, “but I want to send the message to people that it is a climate where they can and are encouraged to do that because there are a lot of supporters out there.”
18. Daily Eastern News (Eastern Illinois U), October 13, 2009
1811 Buzzard Hall
LGBT center under consideration
By Erica Whelan
Ideas for construction of a resource center for Eastern's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community were discussed at Monday's Student Government-sponsored forum.
Though the prospect of an LGBT resource center is supported by members of Pride, as well as Student Government, the endeavor is expected to encounter some setbacks.
"There seems to be three things that are holding us up - space, funding and jurisdiction," said Mark Olendzki, student vice president for student affairs. "Money is key. If the center is to have full-time staff, we have to pay them."
Olendzki reported that the university's space is at a premium and it would be very difficult to find accommodations for the center. He also expressed concern over who would be responsible for managing the center, and led a PowerPoint presentation that explored the successful tactics employed at other state institutions.
The presentation drew from services offered at Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Olendzki said volunteers will be imperative in future projects that will help in distinguishing Eastern as an LGBT-friendly school.
Among these, plans for distributing a survey throughout the school are pending, and debate as to who will manage the center, should it foster sufficient support, will be addressed in the near future.
The Student Government has deemed these concerns as important, considering past instances of discrimination committed on campus.
Kirstin Bowns, a junior special education major, has been targeted with discriminatory remarks aimed at her sexuality on school grounds.
"My freshman year, I had very short hair, and people called me a 'dyke,'" Bowns said. "I've worn baggy pants and been called a 'fag' because I had a purse, and one time I had to carry my friend home from a party because she was punched in the face for being gay."
These, along with other actions taken against Bowns and her LGBT peers, are the motivation behind accommodating a safe zone that Pride hopes will help new students better adjust to Eastern.
Laura Wussow, a physics education major and former Pride social director, indicated unrest as the pressing reason behind constructing a resource center.
"Some students may come from a high school where it wasn't mentioned or fully accepted at home, and it's this huge culture shock," Wussow said.
While Wussow sees room for vast improvement, Eastern has already taken some measures to meet the needs of LGBT students.
Terri Fredrick, co-adviser of Pride, listed the efforts Eastern has made in order to serve LGBT students.
"We have a registered student organization, as well as a doctor now on staff in medical services working with health issues that concern LGBT students," Fredrick said. "This library also offers resource guides. The challenges are still there, but more people are accepting. It's not perfect."
Fredrick said Pride lacks a consistent source of funding to keep certain programs such as "safe zones" in effect, and has difficulty promoting events as their posters are frequently ripped down.
Nevertheless, Olendzki hopes to work closely with Pride to gauge public input and conduct more research.
"I'm very much in support of this," Olendzki said. "I see this as something we can do, and we can do it because we'll do it together."
Erica Whelan can be reached at 581-7942 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
19. The Advertiser, October 13, 2009
P.O. Box 5310, Lafayette, LA 70502
Students raise awareness of gay rights
By Tina Marie Macias
The UL Gay, Lesbian and Straight Society, or GLASS, is usually a quiet student organization, but for the last week, it has been largely visible on campus.
The group came out to the university with film showings, forums and informational sessions most of last week. The events were in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, awareness month. It was the first time a large gay pride event has been held at UL.
"This is really the only university in the state doing an event for gay history month on campus," GLASS adviser Paul Eaton said. Eaton is the orientation director at UL.
The university began a self-evaluation of how welcoming it is to gay students, Eaton said. They found a need for GLASS to be more visible on campus and to hold a large gay pride event.
Eaton called the week "very successful." A couple of the events, including a showing of "The Laramie Project" drew some 200 participants, Eaton said.
A forum, "Coming out with UL student Haley Reeve," held Monday was the last event of the series.
GLASS president Reeve said the group received lots of positive feedback on their events, and she experienced no negative remarks from other students.
"Some would walk by and ignore us, but no one said anything negative," she said.
Reeve spoke about her experience "coming out" as a lesbian at a forum Monday. The computer science graduate student shared how her mother began making anti-gay remarks when she suspected Reeve of being a lesbian.
"It didn't make me any less gay, it just made it harder to come out to her," Reeve said.
A handful of students attended the event and shared their own experiences.
Students said they understand if people are "freaked out" when they first learn their sexual orientation because they spent a lot of time grappling with the realization.
"It took me two years to come out to myself," Reeve said.
GLASS member and nursing freshman Samuel Jones stood up during the forum to show off a bag covered in gay pride buttons. He said he often receives compliments on the buttons and friendly remarks by other students.
"I am so proud of the students that go here," Jones said, "because they don't need to be like that."
The week of events came as thousands of gay-rights supporters marched in Washington last weekend.
Activists marched Sunday from the White House to the Capitol, demanding that President Obama keep his promises to allow gays to serve openly in the military and work to end discrimination against gays.
Two UL students, including the founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Acadiana attended the march.
The two students were Joey Collins, a public relations senior at UL, and advertising senior Ryan Rogers.
"This is an opportunity to show the nation that we are serious about equality and that it is only fair that we get represented," Collins said in a news release. Collins is the founder of PFLAG Acadiana.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
20. Public News Service, October 13, 2009
3980 Broadway Suite 103 Box 139, Boulder, CO 80304
First Arizona LGBT Archive Launches in Tucson
By Doug Ramsey
TUCSON, Ariz. - The life experiences of Arizona's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities will be kept in a new digital archive at the University of Arizona.
Filmmaker and director of the Arizona LGBT Storytelling Project: Community Histories Jamie Lee has been collecting interviews for nearly two years.
"People talk about same-sex marriage and domestic partner benefits... The first pride parade. We have a place in our state's history."
Lee will screen clips of selected histories to launch the archive this afternoon in Tucson. She plans to take the presentation around the state by next spring. There are also plans to loan out digital camcorders so that LGBT residents statewide can contribute to the archive.
One of the archived histories involves Merlin and Lee, who've been together for 40 years. They describe to Jamie Lee how they met and show her pictures of their commitment ceremony.
"It was just so heartwarming. And they want me to come back again at Christmas because they go all out decorating for the holidays. So they want me to come back with the camera and show everybody what they do to celebrate Christmas."
Equality Arizona executive director Barbara McCullough-Jones says the archive project is especially important for the education of future generations.
"It'll really illuminate the kinds of struggles Arizonans have gone through in the past, from anti-gay ballot measures to just personal struggles in the workplace, with their families, with faith and religion. It is really a part of Arizona's history that should be told."
The event is from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. today in the University of Arizona's McClelland Park Building, Room 105. The histories are online at
21. The Crimson White, October 14, 2009
923 University Blvd., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Our View: UA should back gay rights
Sunday was a day of particular significance to gay rights activists in Tuscaloosa and on the national stage.
In Washington, tens of thousands marched in the name of equality. Further south, Spectrum, the LGBTQA group at the University, held “Coming Out on the Mound,” an event designed to support individuals who have come out. Organizers also said the event, the highlight of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month, was to promote dialogue.
We encourage both discussion and recognition of differing sexual orientations, and we encourage the University to adopt a similar perspective when it comes to the latter.
While UA now includes sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policies, the institution has yet to allow benefits for domestic partners. The decision, while permitted under existing law, is patently unfair to members of the gay community. The city of Tuscaloosa, which has a similar policy, also should reverse its sanctioning of discrimination.
We are all permitted to harbor our own views regarding the moral correctness of homosexuality. We do not feel, however, moral views allow us to trample on equality under law, particularly when the law allowing such trampling is of questionable constitutionality.
The words “Equal justice under law” are engraved on the façade of the Supreme Court of the United States. In our judgment, that means laws are written and enforced to guarantee fairness and equality, even when and if we have personal disagreements.
The act permitting the University and the city of Tuscaloosa to deny domestic partners benefits is a flawed, detestable law. The University, though, should rise above the law and make the right choice by offering equal benefits for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
It should have done so long ago.
A three-peat to help others
The annual Beat Auburn Beat Hunger food drive kicked off Tuesday with the Crimson Tide seeking its third consecutive victory over our rivals to the southeast.
Donations at the Capstone will benefit the West Alabama Food Bank, which serves nine counties. The collection has been an annual effort since 1994, and Alabama has won the food fight six times.
Defeating Auburn in a food drive is even more critical than beating them the week of Thanksgiving because of the drive’s implications for others. Members of the Alabama community should rise to the challenge, and we hope Auburn does the same because people across the state are counting on all of us.
Our View is the consensus of The CW’s editorial board.
22. News Channel 5, October 13, 2009
474 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37219
Students At Local University Reigniting Push For Equal Rights
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - MTSU students are fighting to end discrimination aimed at the transgender population. The student government has already taken action, but the entire student body will have the ultimate say.
Discrimination knows no boundaries. At MTSU, some students are learning that the hard way.
"It upsets me because I was like we're at an institution of higher learning. So let's get past our personal biases and let's truly learn about differences in people," said MTSU student Zak Craft.
Craft is the president of Lambda. The student organization represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Earlier this year Craft said transgender students approached him after feeling threatened by a few classmates and instructors.
"We need to sure they feel wanted here," said Craft.
In recent months some of the student government leaders have heard similar stories. Rather than ignoring the issue they've decided to take action.
"It was just uncharted territory, so it was a learning experience that's for sure," said student senate member Samantha Nichols.
The MTSU student senate debated the transgender issue for months. The organization agreed upon an amendment to the student body constitution.
The amendment would ban discrimination against the transgender population. The student body will make the ultimate decision on whether the amendment passes.
"I'm confident. I think it's just the education campaign. I don't think people are really opposed to it. They just don't understand the issue," said student senate member Brandon Thomas.
If the amendment passes, Craft said the transgender community will not be the only group that benefits.
"It'll make them feel more comfortable being there. It'll make them feel hey MTSU wants us," said Craft. "I think it will make a better campus. I think the more we embrace diversity at MTSU the better MTSU will be."
A date has not been set for MTSU students to vote on the transgender amendment. NewsChannel 5 was told the referendum will likely be held in the spring.
A simple majority will not pass the amendment; a two-thirds majority is needed to change the MTSU student constitution.
MTSU Student senators used portions of anti-discrimination legislation from Nashville, Shelby County and the University of Tennessee to write their own amendment.
23. The Kentucky Kernel, October 14, 2009
026 Grehan Journalism Bldg., Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0042
The hate crime that changed the way we think: Non-profit brings story of Shepard to campus
By Megan Hurt
Eleven years ago, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their supporters were not marching on Washington to demand equal rights like they were doing over the weekend.
Instead, 11 years ago, people from the LGBT community were marching for a different cause in Laramie, Wyo. — for Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student who had been beaten and killed for being gay, one of the first LGBT hate crimes to receive national attention in America.
UK students will get the chance to explore and understand what happened to Shepard and the town of Laramie on Friday when the Imperial Court of Kentucky performs the play “The Laramie Project” on campus.
“It’s a story of how one event can touch an entire town, state or nation; how it changed the lives of countless people,” said Wesley Nelson, Emperor 28 of the Imperial Court of Kentucky and director of the Kentucky production of “The Laramie Project.”
“It’s not just about Matthew Shepard,” Nelson said, “that was the catalyst for people to take a look at how they live their lives.”
The Laramie Project’s structure is not like a normal play. Nine actors play 60 different characters and most of the story is told through monologues of individual characters.
“It’s a documentary-style stage play,” Nelson said. “It shows a variety of viewpoints. It shows us how everything is not black and white, there are shades of grey.”
The Imperial Court of Kentucky is a charitable organization that has a special outreach for the homophile community, according to it’s Web site. Through fundraising, the court raises money for organizations like Moveable Feast, AIDS Volunteers, Inc. and Lexington Fairness, Nelson said.
All of the money raised from ticket sales for “The Laramie Project” will go toward the Matthew Shepard Foundation and other organizations the court supports.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation is working toward educating people about hate crimes and the LGBT community, including developing programs and even creating storybooks for kindergarten-aged children, Nelson said.
Nelson said the court is performing the play to also involve the UK community and spread the message of “The Laramie Project” to a younger generation.
“It’s such an important story we’ve been trying to share with as many people as possible,” he said. “A lot of our events are in bars or in places where people under 21 can’t attend. We want to reach out to younger students on campus and let them hear the story.”
Although Shepard was killed 11 years ago, when most college students today were in grade school, Nelson believes it’s important to be familiar with the story.
“What happened to Matthew Shepard, things like that still happen today,” he said. “It’s only been this past year any legislation has been passed to stop hate crimes. It’s still a relevant story because we’re still fighting this battle today.”
The Imperial Court of Kentucky has performed the play at Eastern Kentucky University and will perform at Morehead State University and The Bar Complex this Saturday. Nelson hopes by performing “The Laramie Project,” the message of hope will be spread.
“I hope (people) see the message of hope,” Nelson said. “Even though these horrible things can happen, we can learn and grow from them and there is a better future to be had.
“It’s one of those things that will touch everybody, regardless of your background. We want more people to share the message with; we want to celebrate the life of Matthew Shepard.”
The Imperial Court of Kentucky will be performing “The Laramie Project” this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Briggs Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general public.
24. The Daily Athenaeum, October 15, 2009
284 Prospect St, Morgantown, WV, 26505
Economic argument against gay marriage holds no water
By C.G. Shields
It’s fun to watch opponents of gay marriage run out of arguments. It’s like a really good nature documentary when the chase is engaging – even though the outcome is predetermined.
We know the lioness is going to bring down the gazelle, however fast it may run and however long it may fight.
We know who is going to win the gay marriage fight, too. We just don’t know when.
In the meantime, the desperate opposition – gazelles all around, replete with herd mentality – will take anything they can get.
Childish and personal insults are not out of the question, but there has emerged a proclivity to attempt to appeal to logic.
Well, of course no respectable person wants to argue against gay marriage by way of promising death by fire from the hand of the vengeful and jealous Old Testament God.
This has to make sense somehow.
There is the argument that traditional marriage somehow serves as the literal glue of all civilization, though no one can really explain how.
Allowing gays to partake in this mysterious, powerful magic will tear it asunder, though, again, no one can really explain how.
There’s the old piece about how a child must simultaneously and perpetually be in the presence of both a father and a mother if he or she can ever hope to grow into a functional adult, though we don’t adhere to that idea when it comes to any other aspect of family law, especially divorce custody.
There is the sort of anti-Malthusian doomsday argument, in which society dies out because everyone has turned gay and stopped reproducing, which may or may not have originated in an episode of South Park.
All of these have a certain beauty in their absurdity.
But my favorite of all is the argument that gay marriage will be bad for the economy.
As it goes, allowing more people to get married will cause an increase in government and business payouts and thus an increase in taxes and consumer prices, which will ultimately just cost everyone a lot of money.
Richard Posner, a federal judge and economic theorist who can be accused of being no manner of liberal, said in a 2008 blog post: "... the consequences (of gay marriage) would be small simply because the homosexual population is small and many homosexual couples will not bother to marry; many heterosexual couples nowadays do not bother to marry ..."
Excusing Posner’s use of the outdated and rejected term "homosexual" – which clearly identifies the author as someone who doesn’t otherwise take much interest in gay and lesbian issues – the logic is simple.
Today, fewer couples of any gender combination get married, and there just aren’t very many gays and lesbians to begin with. (Posner roundly rejects the popular Kinsey-based hypothesis that gays make up 10 percent of the population, and he is right to do so.)
Federal recognition of same-sex marriage would trigger the payout of various federal benefits to qualified couples, adding overall costs to the payroll but not by much.
Meanwhile, laws governing the finances of married couples would eliminate transaction costs in the event of death or divorce, creating overall savings, though, again, not by much.
Posner suggests that these two effects would serve to cancel each other out, creating neither costs nor savings for the public sector.
A 2009 article in the Christian Science Monitor goes further, by saying marriage "... provides a safety net for spouses, an expansion of marriage results in more people becoming ineligible for state benefits."
A study in Maine found that the state could save $7.3 million annually as a result of this effect.
The same article notes that because same-sex couples are statistically more likely to have two incomes than opposite-sex couples, more of those couples will fall into higher tax brackets when filing jointly.
Translated from economics to English, it sounds like this: Married couples, overall, receive less in benefits and pay more in taxes. Same-sex couples, overall, have higher incomes and fewer children, so they will receive even less in benefits and pay even more in taxes.
In Massachusetts, a study found that same-sex marriage has earned the state an additional $110 million since it began in 2004.
The CSM article quotes M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute and economics professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst: "It’s a lot of couples spending a lot of money."
Well, how about that.
The economic argument against gay marriage is not just weak and unfounded; it in fact represents precisely the opposite of what every bit of evidence suggests will happen.
All we are asking for is the right to receive less money from the government, pay more in taxes and pump more money into local economies.
You know, now that I look at it that way, maybe I don’t want to get married after all.
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