Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.11.01
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. The Daily Gamecock (University of South Carolina) - Class comes together to explore genre
2. The Battalion Online (Texas A&M) - Hate crime prevention act passes in Congress
3. The Battalion Online (Texas A&M) - Aggie Allies offer nonjudgmental listening ear and open door
4. The Battalion Online (Texas A&M) - Queer Studies at A&M benefits members
5. The Battalion Online (Texas A&M) - Students understand sexuality in spiritual context
6. The Bucknellian - Gay? fine by me.
7. The Southern Illinoisan (Southern Illinois University) - Instructor discusses gay life in rural America
8. MLive.com - Calvin College agrees to further study ban on homosexual advocacy
9. The Ticker (Baruch College, CUNY) - Debate about gay studies comes to Baruch
10. The Daily Orange (Syracuse) - Gay veteran fights 'Don't Ask' policy
11. Daily Eastern News (Eastern Illinois University) - LGBT 'history fair' hopes to raise cultural awareness
12. Daily Press - Spotlight still on transgendered William and Mary homecoming queen
13. Emory Wheel - Students Celebrate Their True Colors
14. Daily Eastern News (Eastern Illinois University) - Mini-museum brings LGBT awareness
15. Emory Wheel - Our Opinion: Drag Show Underscores Progress on LGBTQ Issues
16. The Flat Hat (College of William and Mary) - Queering the way for future queens
17. Ball State Daily News - Lighting the way: Campus organization grows, celebrates 35 years of offering support to the GLBTQ community
18. KSAL - Transgender Speaker to Appear at KSU Salina
19. The Montclarion (Montclair State University) - Anti-LGBT Actions Strike Campus Again
20. Royal Purple News (University of Wisconsin - Whitewater) - Webinar to focus on hate crimes
21. The Daily Targum (Rutgers University) - Senate passes report despite controversy: U. tables federal policy, banning men who have sex with men from donating blood, as nondiscriminatory
22. Emory Wheel - Voicing Transgender Issues at Emory
23. University of Chicago Law School - Panel Discussion on Gay Marriage with Professors Mary Ann Case, Martha Nussbaum, David Strauss and Lecturer James Madigan
24. MLive.com - Screenwriter who won Oscar for 'Milk' may speak to Hope College students about filmmaking, but not gay rights
25. The Dallas Morning News - University of North Texas students to vote on gay homecoming couples
26. The Washington Post - GU rally decries anti-gay violence
27. Penn Current - Advocating equal rights for all
28. Harvard Gazette - Facing your preferences: For gay and straight men, gauging facial attraction appears to operate similarly
29. The Crimson White (University of Alabama) - University examining domestic partner benefits
30. The Dartmouth - Prof. credits govt. with improving gay rights
1. The Daily Gamecock, October 21, 2009
1400 Greene St., Columbia, SC 29208
Class comes together to explore genre: Gay, Lesbian literature course trades lectures for student-led discussions
By Chloe Gould
Far from the boundaries of mainstream — classic texts, lecture halls, close readings and essays — lies an English class that takes a twist on the norm, to explore the largely overlooked genre of gay and lesbian literature.
Gay and Lesbian Literature, taught by Ed Madden, offers students a look into the history of alternative identities, as well as modern-day culture, through study of a wide range of novels, films and plays.
“I really start in the late 19th century with the invention of what we think of as a modern gay identity,” said Madden. “The early texts we’ve read are very much texts about what it means to be gay or lesbian ... trying to define it, trying to define what coming out is and really reflecting the historical moment they are a part of.”
The small, discussion-based class, which meets in Gambrell on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m., goes far beyond the early, defining texts. A carefully picked syllabus, which includes everything from pulp-fiction to graphic novels, explores British, American and even Irish texts, while bringing in a mix of male and female literature.
“The books that we read and the movies that we see are incredible. They are well written, or they’re not well written for a reason,” said fourth-year English student Amy Scott. “Since so much of the class is dedicated towards identity and definition, and finding the discourse to talk about yourself, a lot of the books are really personal.”
This personal edge, which stems from works such as “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall, the first lesbian novel depicting the struggle of English woman Stephen Gordon and her “sexual inversion,” allows for the conversation that shapes the atmosphere and very being of the class.
“The people that are straight, they’re being immersed in this culture they don’t know about, and gay people are being immersed in their culture and their identity. It breeds discussion,” said second-year English student Shannon Minick. “Sometimes we just get off on these tangents and talk as a family. It’s like we’re at dinner, without the food.”
Each class, planned to the minute by Madden, succeeds in combining the structured material with more free-form conversation.
“I think it’s a brilliant way to run the class, because a lot of the people in the class do have real life experiences with some of the stuff we’re reading about, or something that relates to something that we’re reading about,” said Scott.
Madden, who taught the class for the first time in the spring of 2007 and is now returning to teach second semester of the course, does realize the diversity of his students and all the different experiences and insights they have to offer.
He embraces the student discussion, as it brings the students closer and more in-depth with their analysis of the material.
“The classroom should be a safe space, not a comfortable place. We are going to be dealing with issues and topics that are uncomfortable, and I think we learn more when we’re uncomfortable. But, since the classroom is a safe space, what we say in the classroom stays in the classroom,” said Madden. “I want people to feel free to engage in the issues at whatever level they want to engage in them.”
The students, who are all so knowledgeable about the topic at hand, and able to carry their own conversation throughout the class, pride themselves on keeping up with the assigned readings to further develop their in-class discussion.
“This class, it can be intimidating. There are a lot of well-spoken, well-read people, who have this incredible rhetoric and this really intense vocabulary,” said Minick. “Everybody wants to keep up with each other, but it’s not competition. We all just want to engage in educated discussion, so we’re all prepared.”
To build on this knowledge and fuel up for each week’s discussion, the class extends beyond the set schedule, with trips to local performances, all surrounding the gay and lesbian community. Whether it is more of a class outing, or an individual extra credit opportunity, the students have had the chance to attend “Humpday” at the Nickelodeon Theatre, “Most Fabulous Story Every Told” at Trustus Theatre and “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later” at Longstreet Theatre.
“You can’t just do a course on gay and lesbian literature and not acknowledge the outside context that play a role in how we’re reading those texts,” said Madden.
The class gives students a chance to learn about something that may reach far out of their realm.
“All hatred, all prejudice, stems from ignorance. It all stems from you are scared of them, because you don’t know what’s going on, or you don’t understand, you misunderstand and think you know,” said Scott. “Taking this class is the perfect opportunity to delve into something that you have never learned about.”
2. The Battalion, October 26, 2009
The Grove (Building 8901), 1111 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-1111
Hate crime prevention act passes in Congress
By Tiffany Neal
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that expanded the civil rights-era hate crime law, making it a federal crime to physically assault an individual based on their sexual orientation.
The bill is named after Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Shepard. Matthew was a homosexual Wyoming student who died after being kidnapped and brutally beaten in 1998. Byrd was a black man from Jasper, Texas who was dragged to death that same year.
"The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is significant on many levels, but at the base of everything, this act finally extends the basic human right of safety from hate-based acts of violence to a segment of the population that is often subjected to bias on the individual and community level," said Lowell Kane, GLBT Resource Center Program coordinator.
After years of being defeated in Congress, the hate crimes bill was attached to a $680 billion defense authorization bill to assure passage. The bill now needs the signature of President Obama - who has already pledged his signature - to become a law.
In recent months, the Obama administration has come under fire by gay and civil rights activists alike for what they consider is the president dragging his heels when it comes to fulfilling the promises he made while on the campaign trail.
"The passing of the bill doesn't say much about Obama's commitment to gay rights, but it does say that he is listening to what people are concerned about, and at the end of the day, right is right and it is not right to murder anyone under any circumstance," said Autumn Gardner, a senior kinesiology major.
Texas has a hate crime statue that increases the penalties for crimes motivated by a victim's sexual preference. The new bill will not change the way state and local officials investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
The bill broadens the range of actions that can get the federal government involved if the Justice Department certifies that a state is unwilling or unable to follow through on an alleged hate crime.
"When a person has to hide who they are, fear being exposed or found about, or pretend to be something they are not, they expend a tremendous amount of energy that should be directed towards so many other things," Kane said. "The importance of living and working in an environment that is safe is paramount to achieving success in a academic, professional and personal development."
The bill also provides federal grants to state officials to prosecute hate crimes and funds hate crime prevention programs for juveniles. Additionally, the bill penalizes attacks against U.S. service members on account of their service.
"Discriminating against someone for their orientation is the same as discriminating against them for their race or religious beliefs," said senior philosophy major Courtney Walsh. "There's no reason why that shouldn't fall under the category of being a violation of someone's civil rights."
The Democrats in Congress, at the request of the Republicans, strengthened free speech protections in the bill to assure that conservative religious leaders or any other person can't be prosecuted on the basis of his or her speech, beliefs or association.
"I view people not having civil rights as not being able to vote or not being able to work at a place like in the African American and Women's Rights movement when they had to fight in order to get these privileges," Gardner said. "But not being able to get married, which is defined as an union between a man and a woman, is not something I view as infringing on civil rights."
Attorney General Eric Holder said the new bill is in the same vein as previous civil rights-era hate crime legislation. The law would be used only to prosecute violent acts based on bias.
After the Senate approved the bill by a 68-29 vote, Holder said that its passage was a first step in helping protect Americans from bias-motivated violence that not only victimizes individuals but also entire communities.
"The passage of The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is an example of how the civil rights movements that trace the origins back to the late 19th century and early 20th centuries continues today as people work towards equity through education and by telling our stories," Kane said.
3. The Battalion, October 14, 2009
The Grove (Building 8901), 1111 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-1111
Aggie Allies offer nonjudgmental listening ear and open door: Students, faculty and staff provide equality support
By Melissa Appel
With the goal of uniting the Aggie family, Aggie Allies provide an open door and a listening ear to students who wish to speak about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender issues.
"Allies is a safe-zone program," said Brad Dressler, chairman of Aggie Allies Executive Committee. "We're dedicated to providing visible support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of Texas A&M and beyond."
Allies can be recognized by the "Aggie Ally" placard outside of their office or dorm room. Students can also search for an Ally by visiting the Aggie Allies Web site at allies.tamu.edu.
"The majority of feedback we get from the GLBT community is that seeing the Aggie Allies placards all over campus and knowing that a support network exists helps to put their minds at ease," Dressler said. "Students often tell us that they feel comforted knowing that when they see an Aggie Ally placard, they can let their guard down and not have to worry about prejudice or being judged by that individual. The placard signifies that person is an Aggie Ally and will be supportive."
"I wanted to know how I could be a better advisor and a better resource for my students," said Rebecca Taylor, an advisor in Student Activities and member of the Aggie Allies Executive Committee.
"I became an Ally because I believe that there needs to be visible support for the GLBT community on this campus," Associate Director of Student Life Studies Darby Roberts said. She serves on the Aggie Allies Executive Committee. "When I started, which was shortly after it began, it was particularly important to provide that support because there wasn't really that effort across campus."
By becoming an Aggie Ally, individuals are not signing up to be activists or counselors. Instead, the primary focus of an Ally is simply to show acceptance to those with whom they speak.
"You are committing to be someone who is willing to provide a safe space," Taylor said. "We ask that our Allies are role models about being open and accepting and someone who challenges homophobia when appropriate."
Aggie Allies is an organization started in 1993 through the Department of Student Life and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Resource Center. The group consists of faculty, staff and students who have volunteered time and services to support Aggies in the GLBT community.
Aggie Allies has 768 members, which represent a mix of faculty, staff and students. More than half of the Allies identify themselves as heterosexual.
People interested in becoming Allies are first asked to attend an Advance, the three-hour workshop covers topics such as terminology, situations members of the GLBT community encounter, coming out and discrimination.
"The idea is that you're advancing your knowledge about the GLBT community," Dressler said. "I've yet to know anyone who has gone through it that hasn't learned quite a few things."
Allies express a variety of personal reasons for becoming a member, all with the goal of serving others.
With almost 800 members, Aggie Allies are a strong network of individuals with little turnover beyond graduation and job changes. Nonetheless, Allies are always looking for more individuals to get involved.
"We're really doing a big push on outreach," Taylor said. "We're trying to assess our strongest population of Allies and where we can do more outreach-whether in certain departments or places on campus."
In all of their actions, the primary purpose of uniting Aggies remains the goal of all Allies.
"We're basically saying if you need someone to talk to, we're here," Dressler said. "Aggie Allies is about being nonjudgmental and supportive."
In recognition of the actions of Allies and in an effort to increase community awareness, the GLBT Resource Center and Aggie Allies are hosting Ally Appreciation Days this week. Thursday there will be a GLBT Aggies Resource Fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Koldus Plaza. Sixteen GLBT-friendly organizations will be showing the variety of resources and support available in the A&M and Bryan-College Station community. Organizations include churches, on-campus organizations and the Brazos Valley Community Health Center, which will be offering free, confidential HIV testing.
Allies will gather for the Allies Across Campus Meet and Greet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. Everyone is invited to attend the event, where Allies will provide a presentation, recognize a few specific Allies, and discuss future plans and events. Light refreshments will be provided.
4. The Battalion, October 12, 2009
The Grove (Building 8901), 1111 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-1111
Queer Studies at A&M benefits members
By Katy Ralston
The Queer Studies working group, a branch of the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities, meet once a month to provide an outlet for faculty and students to voice opinions and examine perspectives.
The Glasscock Center working groups are topically oriented discussion forums for faculty members and graduate students interested in the same topic to interact with others.
The Queer Studies working group focuses on the meaning of sexual identities, performances, discourses, practices and representations throughout history and in everyday life.
As a group, they meet in different places on campus to discuss and peer-review works in progress by group members related to queer theory. The group collectively studies books and films dealing with queer studies and also engages in active dialogue rejecting and destabilizing ideas about sexuality, gender and race.
"I have had a chance to have my work by the people in the Queer Studies group and critiqued, which is a great help to my own scholarship," said member Christopher Carmona, an English graduate student. "It has certainly added to my theoretical education and helped me to be able to think more critically about all aspects of my work and society."
English graduate student Rebecca South said one reason she became involved in the group is it is good to be in a community of scholars who work in a similar field.
"The real benefit for me of being in the group is being able to discuss readings, films or lectures with other people who work in the same field that I do," South said. "It is helpful to be able to circulate ideas about the field itself and about individual topics within Queer Studies in order to get a broad range of perspectives."
The Queer Studies working group was created seven years ago by two professors looking for an outlet to share research. Confronted with a lack of formalization, they started the working group to bring scholars interested in the subject together.
Since then, the group has grown significantly, said the group's co-facilitator Rebecca Schloss.
"The people and the interest were there - It only became clear just how many people were using Queer Studies when the group was formalized," Schloss said.
Advantages of the community are the interdisciplinary aspect - allowing exchanges of different perspectives, ideas and opportunities for academic feedback, said co-facilitator and English department associate editor Krista May.
"If you are working in isolation that can be really difficult," May said. "The idea is that they are interdisciplinary to draw people from different fields."
Disciplines represented in the Queer Studies group include sociology, history, film studies, women's studies and English.
The working group has helped Schloss, she said in her academic career. Schloss published a book this summer about the final 50 years of slavery in Martinique.
The book explores how debates about race and sexuality shaped cultural and political life in the colony and the ways historical actors where grappling with what they thought it meant to French, white, men or women during this period of volatile change.
"I have found queer studies to be incredibly helpful for me to think about the different ways people in the past could realign all of the things they thought they were supposed to do or be in their lives," Schloss said.
May teaches a first-year seminar, Contemporary Queer Culture, through the GLBT Resource Center challenging understandings of ideas such as sex and gender, masculinity and femininity and homosexuality and heterosexuality, through daily life experience and the world's perception.
May has found many parallels between the course and the Queer Studies working group discussions. She said she has seen many "aha" moments of students exposed to Queer Theory for the first time and discovering the different perspectives.
"That is the exciting part, seeing people getting this the very first time," May said. "That's when I realize how important queer studies is."
The group aims to benefit more than just the members.
"There are a lot of different ways that we try to engage with the academic community and also the broader community," Schloss said.
The group provides outside speakers on campus for community-wide lectures, and co-sponsors a number of other forums including film screenings and performance artists that deal with queer studies.
In the past two years the group has seen increased undergraduate turnout at sponsored events, May said.
"It is nice to see interest and desire to know more, and I think it shows growing interest and awareness in the student population to intellectual interests in general," May said.
5. The Battalion, October 7, 2009
The Grove (Building 8901), 1111 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-1111
Students understand sexuality in spiritual context.
By Jill Beathard
Justin Freebourn, 22, is a member of United Campus Ministry, a college outreach of Friends Congregational Church in College Station. He participates in Bible studies at Friends and in Family Promise, a program that hosts homeless families in homes around town. He is a senior aerospace engineering major hoping to graduate in December 2010, and he is gay.
Freebourn came out to his roommate and later his mom the second semester of his sophomore year. He had been dealing with depression for some time.
"I was unsure how to live as a gay man, but certain that living a lie was worse than any alternative. I knew that the religious tradition I had grown up with rejected that part of who I was, and was in a quandary because I could not so easily reject my faith."
Freebourn discovered Friends Congregational, a United Church of Christ congregation, on the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender, or GLBT, Resource Center. The church teaches an accepting and inclusive attitude toward members of the GLBT community. Freebourn said he was surprised to hear of such a church and wary of what the teachings might be.
"I knew I didn't accept much of the doctrine of churches I'd gone to growing up, but at least it was something I knew and could understand," he said. "I went to Friends nonetheless, and found it to be a welcoming and accepting place, at a time when I [needed] both welcome and acceptance."
As campus minister for United Campus Ministry, the Rev. Kyle Walker teaches that in a spiritual sense, any type of sexuality is a gift and should be used in the context of a committed, lifelong relationship.
Walker said that some religions teach that GLBT people should conform sexuality to an accepted norm, but that trying to do so is damaging for people emotionally, mentally and spiritually according to the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association.
"Spiritually, I believe and teach that God created gay people and God does not create junk. To me, it is that simple," Walker said.
Some respond to Walker's interpretation by citing scriptural passages that they think conflict with his teaching.
"The scriptures cited are usually from scriptures that have nothing to do with a sexuality that is part of a lifelong committed relationship. The Bible speaks, in these passages, against any sexuality, gay or straight that is used to cheapen or control other people. This can include rape, incest, pornography or sexual infidelity."
Friends' stance on sexuality is only one of the reasons Freebourn attends the church. Freebourn said growing up he was uneasy at churches that rejected scientific understanding and intelligent discussion for literal biblical interpretation.
Friends, United Campus Ministry and other venues have become outlets for Freebourn to discuss ideas about faith, giving him a new perspective to study the Bible.
"To me, faith is about living into the character and passion of God, particularly as known through Jesus. The Bible is about the character of God as experienced by its authors, and requires historical context, reflection and insight to appreciate the complexities it contains," he said.
Sophomore political science major Katherine Harrell leads the Youth Sunday School and Youth Group at Friends. Harrell said that Friends is not only accepting of GLBT people but of people of all walks of life.
"We are a tossed salad of individuals," she said. "We see each other as a community of faith wanting to explore further and answer some of life's toughest questions. We are all on a journey together trying to figure things out."
Freebourn has taken his parents to Friends and Cathedral of Hope, also a United Church of Christ location.
"I've found that, for both my mom and my more conservative friends, exposure to a more inclusive theology has helped them move from implicit hatred to tolerance or even from tolerance to acceptance."
Freebourn said GLBT students should not be jaded by the negative practices of other religious people.
"Never let anyone tell you that God loves you any less because you are different, and there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more than God already does," he said. "You have to love yourself before you can fulfill Jesus' command to love other people."
6. The Bucknellian, October 23, 2009
701 Moore Avenue, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Gay? fine by me.
By Amanda Roy
Students at The University are often said to be politically apathetic and unaware of important national issues. The annual creation of a list of supporters for National Coming Out Day in October, along with the distribution of free “gay? fine by me” t-shirts at the Office of LGBT Awareness, is a step in the right direction for removing this bad reputation.
The list is undoubtedly a powerful tool for making people of all sexual orientations feel more welcome on campus. It also shows that there are people aware of and in support of the issues potentially faced by people in the process of coming out.
Being able to see that a friend, roommate, professor or advisor is on the list and is accepting can make all the difference in this difficult step. When combined with the t-shirt, this creates a tolerant environment towards sexual diversity in which students can speak out about their orientation.
Almost every day on campus, you can find someone wearing one of the colorful t-shirts. You may not know the person by name or by face, but the fact that you can turn somewhere on this campus and see that there really are people standing up for this cause is amazing. They’re effectively a daily reminder that there are always people on this campus that support LGBT efforts for equality and tolerance.
Simply putting a face with a cause and being able to support something as contested as gay rights is important. This is especially true in Pennsylvania, a state where it is still legal to fire someone with cause based on his or her sexual orientation. College campuses are supposed to be places where we challenge set ideas, suggest changes and see those changes happen for the better.
Will t-shirts and lists necessarily change the way Pennsylvania and those around us view gay rights? No. Can they change this University and our bad reputation for apathy? Certainly. Is it important and valuable that we let those who need us know we support them and show the world we’re willing to put our face to a cause? Absolutely.
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7. The Southern Illinoisan, October 24, 2009
710 North Illinois Ave., P.O. Box 2108, Carbondale, IL 62902
Instructor discusses gay life in rural America
By Codell Rodriguez
CARBONDALE - Margaret Cooper fit in fairly well in rural Kentucky until she found out she was a lesbian.
Her parents owned a car dealership and she was seen as a good kid by the community until, as a teenager, she came to realize who she was. When that happened, the assistant principal of her school pressured her to quit despite the fact that she was an honor student, and her local preacher tried to expel the demons from her.
"Here I am, 17 years old and ostracized by the whole town," Cooper said.
Cooper, a doctoral student and instructor in the Department of Sociology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, shared her experiences Friday at the SIUC Student Center and the experiences of others in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community who live in rural areas.
The speech was part of the annual Lavender Lattes discussion for GLBT History Month at SIUC.
Virginia Dicken, coordinator of the GLBT Resource Center at SIUC said she was pleased that Cooper could share her research with others because she knows that "GLBT people in rural areas feel isolated." She said people in this area are fortunate to at least have a university in the region.
Cooper said she has documented stories of harassment and violence and students who suffer from depression because of ostracism at school. Stories included a lesbian couple that was stopped in their car while harassers pointed rifles at their faces while they preached to them; people claiming to be pulled out of bars and beaten; and general fear of being in public because of retaliation from hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Cooper said she lived in Nashville, Tenn. for about 20 years after leaving Kentucky and admitted that being in a friendly environment made her somewhat unaware that things had not changed in her hometown. However, after going back and talking with others in rural areas, she knows that tolerance isn't necessarily progressing nationwide.
"While things are a lot better in some places, in some places they are not a lot better," Cooper said. "In fact they may be worse."
8. MLive.com, October 27, 2009
The Grand Rapids Press
Calvin College agrees to further study ban on homosexual advocacy
By Dave Murray
GRAND RAPIDS -- Calvin College leaders aren't withdrawing a controversial memo regarding the discussion of homosexuality, but say they will take more time to study how Christian Reformed Church teachings relate to academic freedom.
In a letter issued to the college's faculty Monday, board of trustees chairman Bastian Knoppers said they did not change a policy banning the advocacy of homosexual practices and same-sex marriage.
But trustees said they understand many faculty members thought they did and deeply regret "confusion and distress that has resulted," he said.
Knoppers said discussions over the issue have been "intense, at times uncomfortably so," but also "grounded in good thinking, frank speaking and spirited meetings " and, perhaps, were "overdue."
"While awkwardly begun, the discussions, debates, panels, meetings and writings will, we believe, make the College a better place," he wrote. "Our hope is that we can work together in a collegial and mutually accountable way, moving forward more slowly, with more conversations, drawing on the deep commitment to our common mission that we share."
The memo, which was adopted in May and publicly surfaced in August, said it is unacceptable for Calvin faculty and staff to teach, write or advocate counter to CRC tenets on homosexuality.
The Faculty Senate voted earlier this month to ask the board to withdraw the memo, saying it stifles academic freedoms that encourage open discussion of social issues between students and professors.
Professors still are digesting Knoppers letter but are pleased the issue will continue to be discussed, Faculty Senate Vice Chair Karin Maag said this morning.
"When they came to a lightening-quick conclusion in May, it wasn't good," she said. "So coming to a lightening-quick decision now wouldn't be good, either."
Maag said professors were concerned with the content of the memo but also had worries about the process by which the board arrived at a decision.
She said there's still confusion about the status of the memo. The trustees aren't scheduled to meet again until February.
Knoppers said trustees spent more than eight hours discussing the issues with Faculty Sentate members, the Homosexuality and Community Life Working Group and a group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
But he said the board needs more time to work through the issues concerning the memo that sparked faculty concerns.
The board affirmed a 2008 statement backing the college's commitment to the CRC's tenets on homosexuality: the practice is sinful, but a person's orientation is not.
But it agreed to create a special committee to consult with faculty, administrators and representatives from several committees to revisit the memo and study the college's links to the CRC as they relate to academic freedom.
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9. The Ticker, October 25, 2009
One Bernard Baruch Way, Suite 3-290, New York, NY 10010
Debate about gay studies comes to Baruch
By Sophia Karathanasis
As college tuition prices rise and the competitive job market demands a more specialized workforce, more students are forced to weigh the differences between practical, job-applicable courses like finance or computer science and more liberal, enlightening humanities courses.
This real-world practicality comes into play as more and more colleges debate the long-term value of including gay studies programs in the college curriculum.
The topic surfaced in June when Harvard University announced its endowed professorship in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.
As reported in the Boston Globe, Evelyn Hammonds, Harvard’s newly appointed openly gay dean, regarded the new professorship as an example of “how far we have come as a community. It will advance our knowledge in this discipline and transmit LGBT history to our undergraduates for years to come.”
Hammonds’ statement coincided with recent landmark events affecting the nation’s gay population: the passing of Proposition 8, which restricted same-sex marriage in the state of California, and the LGBT National Equality March, which took place earlier this month in Washington D.C.
Springing from 1970s liberalism, San Francisco State University became one of the first colleges to offer LGBT courses.
Other colleges, like the University of Michigan, the University of California, Berkeley and even roman-catholic Depaul University, diversified their curricula with LGBT studies programs. Closer to home, CUNY cemented itself as a pioneer in the study of the LGBT community in 1991 by establishing the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), a university-based research center that is “generally considered the first in the United States to establish a graduate program dedicated to LGBT studies,” according to Alyssa Nitchun, development director of the program.
This makes students and faculty wonder whether Baruch should be the next college to follow this recent academic trend, given its diverse student population and its proximity to Chelsea, Manhattan’s gay Mecca.
“A gay studies program would bridge the gap of understanding between gay and straight populations,” said Anthropology Professor Shea McManus. “As LGBT individuals become more and more visible in mainstream culture it’s increasingly significant to prepare students to demonstrate greater insight and empathy to this marginalized community.”
The need for more tolerant attitudes toward gays is still a pressing issue. Recently, a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union stated that more than 30 percent of LGBT workers have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace.
For Professor Vilna Bashi Treitler of the Black and Hispanic Studies Department, these chronic issues of discrimination and inequality serve as solid reasons to implement a gay studies curriculum at the college.
“Baruch wants to be known for more than just business; it wants to enlighten students and create scholarship about injustice and inequality, and teach a proper valuation of all human beings,” she said.
Whether Baruch students, who study in a conservative business atmosphere, would respond favorably to LGBT-themed courses is doubted among some students.
Hector Tavarez, President of Baruch’s Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Society believes that a gay studies program at the college will not interest the general student body.
“Students especially in Baruch College are business-minded, meaning that they are only focused on making money and being able to live a good life,” he said. “If any subject is not business oriented, students in general will not be interested. Which is a shame.”
Finance major and junior Jimmy Carr agrees.
“Colleges waste enough money funding useless courses, and adding something like a gay studies program would only make colleges seem less credible and less focused on preparing students for the workforce.”
Gay studies programs have been reevaluated in light of the current economic hardships facing colleges across the nation.
According to the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets, the financial crisis hitting University of California campuses has forced budget prioritization by targeting LGBT studies programs for major cuts.
Still, other Baruch students see value in such courses.
“My business courses are often too concrete and too confining. I feel like courses such as those dealing with gay issues would help me to think outside the box a little bit,” said Michelle Kim, a junior accounting major.
Others find the study of the LGBT community applicable to the workplace.
“Gays and lesbians are a fascinating minority in our society and should be paid close attention to,” said marketing major Natasha Yeschenko. “Especially when learning to market to gays and lesbians as a separate consumer niche, it becomes increasingly important in business.”
10. The Daily Orange, October 26, 2009
744 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
Gay veteran fights 'Don't Ask' policy
By Valerie Crowder
First Lt. Daniel Choi, an openly gay Iraq War veteran, is making an ideological preemptive strike ? against the law.
"In the military, they teach us not to wait for the enemy to shoot," Choi said. "In this case the law, 'don't ask, don't tell,' is the enemy. I have my appeals written up, and I'm going to fight this."
Choi urged approximately 350 students who gathered to hear him speak in Hendricks Chapel Thursday night to remain true to themselves. The lieutenant shared with students his lessons learned at West Point, including his experience of coming out to his parents. He also commented on his challenges disputing "don't ask, don't tell" ? a policy that bans lesbian, gay and bisexual service members from disclosing their sexuality to anyone.
"Before my first day at West Point, I knew about 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Choi said. "But, before we did a single pushup, we learned the honor code - the foundation of what the military believes in."
The West Point Cadet Honor Code says that "a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Choi said by keeping his homosexuality a secret he was breaking that code.
After he announced his sexuality on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" in March, Choi received a letter from the Army National Guard that warned him of his possible discharge. Despite this warning, Choi said he will continue to advocate for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."
"What kind of face can you save with no integrity?" Choi asked. "So, I continued to 'come out.'"
The lecture, sponsored by Syracuse University's LGBT Resource Center and the Division of Student Affairs, was part of Coming Out Month, celebrated every October. The month commemorates National Coming Out Day, when on Oct. 11, 1987, 500,000 people marched on Washington for gay and lesbian rights, said Adrea Jaehnig, director of SU's LGBT Resource Center.
"I think his story brings out the stories of so many other people," Jaehnig said. "Not only are LGBT service members affected, but their spouses have no one to call them if something happens to their partner during war."
Choi also emphasized the negative consequences that "waiting for change" bears on America's youth. A major change that Choi said he wanted to see is a reduction of LGBT homeless youth who are cast out by family members who disapprove of their sexual orientation. More than half of all homeless youth belong to the LGBT community, Choi said.
After Choi's lecture, several audience members lined up at the microphone to share their experiences and ask him questions.
Mustafa Mohammed, a graduate student at SU and a gay Iraqi, told Choi about his experience applying for asylum and his inability to return to Iraq.
"Many Iraqi people do not believe that the U.S. was in Iraq for democracy," Mohammed said. "And a policy like 'don't ask, don't tell' makes it harder for people to believe because it goes against the idea of equality and rule by the people."
Approximately ten students signed up to attend Intergroup Dialogue Program sessions on the second floor of Huntington Beard Crouse Hall after the talk, Jaehnig said. The discussions gave the students a chance to share their personal experiences and their feelings about Choi's message, she said. Professors from the Intergroup Dialogue Program at SU facilitated the two sections.
"Are we afraid of judgment?" Choi asked the audience. "I'm not so worried about the judgment of the people of today. I'm worried about the fifth and fourth graders who don't know what gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender means, but they know they have those feelings."
11. Daily Eastern News, October 26, 2009
1811 Buzzard Hall
LGBT 'history fair' hopes to raise cultural awareness
By Emily Brauer
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community at Eastern have been preparing a mini history museum for today.
With this history museum event, EIU Pride hopes to educate students about the LGBT history and raise awareness of all issues in the community.
"Actually, this is not really a museum; rather, it is just a history fair," said Nick Canaday, the social chair for Pride.
Pride members want to raise cultural awareness by setting up different booths. Each booth will focus on a specific topic.
There will be a "banned books" booth, a "transgender umbrella," a booth about "myths of the femme and the butch" and another booth about Pride's history on Eastern's campus.
"What we are expecting is a lot of personalized projects," said Sean Callihan, action director for Pride.
This is a mini-museum full of information for the public to learn including the meaning of LGBT symbols and flags, stereotypes and misconceptions, and famous LGBT people throughout history. There will also be information about the LGBT community today.
The LGBT museum will be open from 8 to 10 p.m. today in the Effingham room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Emily Brauer can be reached at 581-7942 or DENnewsdesk@gmail.com.
12. Daily Press, October 26, 2009
7505 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23607
Spotlight still on transgendered William and Mary homecoming queen
By Tyra M. Vaughn
WILLIAMSBURG - — Moments after Jessee Vasold was crowned homecoming queen Saturday, the College of William and Mary junior quickly was engulfed by a media frenzy.
The crowning of the university's homecoming queen usually happens without much publicity, but by Monday it had attracted the attention of the Fox News television show O'Reilly Factor and newspapers as far away as Australia — who all wanted to hear about the 20-year-old college student's quest for the title. The attention isn't surprising to Vasold, who was elected the university's first transgender homecoming queen.
Vasold — who considers himself "gender-queer" because he identifies with something other than the traditional male or female gender roles — is only the second transgender homecoming queen in the country. The first was crowed last year at George Mason University, Vasold said.
Vasold — who also prefers the term "ze" instead of he or she and "zir" instead of him or her — said the media attention isn't surprising.
He prepared himself to be in the national spotlight when his friend asked to nominate him for the position earlier this fall. However, Vasold still is hesitant about doing some media interviews, especially on-camera ones.
"I'm still trying to get my head around this," Vasold said. "My friend nominated me to see if I would get on the ballot, and I got elected. It's truly an honor to be recognized by my peers, but I'm still trying to figure out how to handle this attention."
Figuring out how to balance school work and extracurricular commitments alongside interviews has been the most difficult part of being crowned, Vasold said.
"The William and Mary community has been really supportive of me," Vasold said. "I've had students and alumni come up to me and tell me how surprised and happy they are for me to be homecoming queen."
Vasold said people have also e-mailed him and reached out to him on the social-networking site Facebook to lend their support. Vasold's family was in town for the crowning, but were reluctant about him taking the role out of concern for his safety.
Vasold said he isn't too concerned about something happening to him because the only negativity he's received has been through online forums on news Web sites.
"Numerically the positive comments have outweighed the negative ones," Vasold said.
In William and Mary's Sadler Center on Monday, students continued to stop and congratulate Vasold on his win. A member of the university's dining staff stopped Vasold to say she kept the article about his crowning.
"I'm so proud of you," she said while giving him a hug.
Vasold said he thinks his crowning helps bring more awareness to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
"It's allowed the conversation to happen," Vasold said.
Name: Jessee Vasold, 20
Major: Women's studies with an undeclared double major in public policy
Hometown: Southern Virginia
Career goals: To work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth — defined in the dictionary as those who identify with or express a gender identity different from their sex at birth
13. Emory Wheel, October 26, 2009
Emory University, Drawer W, Atlanta, GA 30322
Students Celebrate Their True Colors
By Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Revealing a part of one’s identity comes with vulnerability and apprehension. Many times, it is the one-on-one personal conversations that are crucial in creating a safe space for sharing secrets and truths.
For College junior Pierce Hand, the vulnerability and fear were especially heightened while performing in the Issues Troupe’s theatrical piece centered on diversity issues at Best in Show during Orientation Week. He was about to come out to a class of more than 1,300 freshmen and about 100 orientation leaders — many of whom are his friends — as gay.
“Black, Christian, gay male,” Hand described himself at the end of the performance, to gasps and quiet murmurs among the orientation leaders sitting in front of the stage. “I want to find my own happiness and help others find theirs. I am loved.”
“When the performance was over, it was like a huge burden lifted off,” Hand says. And for an hour after the performance, Hand’s cell phone vibrated non-stop with encouraging and congratulatory text messages from his friends in the audience.
Coming out is a gradual and personal process. And that’s no exception for students coming out in college, who find themselves discovering aspects of their identity, confronting society’s heteronormative — and, occasionally, closed-minded — attitudes.
Each coming-out story is unique. Some are deeply emotional, others are matter-of-fact. Some people experience years of soul-searching, while some have always known they were gay. Most coming-out stories do not end with the dramatic punch that Hand’s does. Some people carefully map out the order in which they plan to tell their friends and family, while others prefer the news to spread by word of mouth. Many students say there is no accurate way to generalize the coming-out process.
A Lifelong Process
Coming out at college comes with the same concerns and fears that arise through the general coming-out process, says Michael Shutt, director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Life. People are concerned with their relationships with friends and family during the coming-out process, and how they might change. Some students may fear their parents not paying college tuition if they come out as gay. In terms of their relationship with professors, students may wonder what the implications of coming out to their instructors are in their pre-professional tracks. And if students come out to their friends in the middle of their college career, they might face retaliation from their friends.
“People say, ‘Gosh, why did you lie to us?’ as if it’s that easy and intentional,” Shutt says.
One of the greatest challenges is internalized homophobia or stereotypes, adds Lucia Vidable, a College senior from Florida who was born and raised in Argentina.
“There’s this huge stereotype about Hispanic people being really religious or not accepting of gay culture or gay people,” Vidable says, adding that she internalized such stereotypes before coming out to her parents. She prepared a mental speech and told her parents that she was a lesbian when she went home for Thanksgiving during her sophomore year of college. But to her surprise, both her immediate and extended family members were accepting of her sexuality. Two years later, Vidable’s parents have met her girlfriend, and even stayed with her girlfriend’s family when Vidable’s parents were in town.
College junior Alec Fox knew he was attracted to guys since about the eighth grade, and came out to his family the summer before his senior year in high school. However, despite attending a liberal high school, he waited to come out until college in order to avoid any awkwardness or problems that may rise between his friends or teachers at his small public high school.
During his senior year, one of the main factors that Fox looked for in potential colleges was the presence of an office for LGBT life. He looked at how much energy and resources the college put into LGBT causes, and considered the LGBT demographic. Fox came out to a non-family member for the first time during his first month at Emory, and from then on, he has never shied away from talking about his sexuality.
“It was definitely liberating to be able to talk about guys. ... It was great to be able to communicate with gay guys and anyone in the gay community. It’s so important for us to have each other; we’re fighting the same fight sometimes,” says Fox, wearing a white T-shirt with a rainbow flag on the front and “Here to stay, yes I’m gay” written on the back. He got it at the gay pride parade in San Francisco this summer.
But the reality is, you never stop coming out. A conversation with a new physician, with coworkers on your first day at a new job, and with virtually any new person who asks about your girlfriend or boyfriend can lead to the topic of sexuality. Even those who had come out in high school find themselves in a completely new environment during college.
Members of the LGBT community face heteronormative and gender-normative attitudes in the society, Shutt says, meaning they are automatically assumed as heterosexuals who identify as males or females. Additionally, coming out to new people at new institutions can have different implications. For instance, when deciding to come out to a new health-care provider of your sexuality, you may wonder whether your doctor is homophobic or not, and whether his views could impact the quality of health care.
Vidable hates coming out. Not because she has anything to hide, but because it’s tedious — straight people don’t have to come out with their sexuality.
“I hate having to do the whole, ‘This is who I am’ [conversations], because nobody has to do that. Straight people don’t have to go to their friends and say, ‘Hey, I’m different than what you thought I was,” Vidable says.
An Identity Issue
Danny Turton, a College senior from Winter Springs, Fla., came out to a handful of his close friends at the end of his sophomore year. He didn’t go about in the “conventional way,” as he puts it — calling people in the order of their importance in your life — and instead, he spoke with his friends individually about his sexuality. It was an empowering experience, he says.
“You’re incrementally living your life on your terms, with the confidence of living honestly,” Turton says, leaning on the arm rest of the brown couch in his living room. “[With] these conversations, I was living my life the way I wanted to live it, knowing that I was becoming closer to the person that I am.”
Then he spent the fall semester of his junior year studying abroad in South Africa, completely open to everyone he met — American, South African and fellow Emory study-abroad students alike. It helped that South Africa already had an established gay community, especially in Cape Town; the Pink Route, which runs through Western Cape, is a collection of tourist lodges that are gay-owned and gay-friendly.
The fact that he was an outsider played a big role as well — as an American in Africa, expectations and conformity weren’t issues. “An American wasn’t expected to be straight any more than they were to speak Afrikaans,” he says.
When Turton came back spring semester of his junior year, he faced the choice of whether revert to his comfort zone at Emory, or to open up with his friends about his sexuality. It was easy to fall back into his normal routines, but it would have been a lie to say that nothing had changed. He came out to his friends at Emory, and even posted a video message on Facebook.
It’s a question of identity: who to be around certain people, whether to take on a different identity around others, and whether to be truly open about all aspects of your life. College senior Olivia Wise, who is the co-president of Emory Pride, knew she was a lesbian in high school. But her school, located in Gwinnett County, was conservative, and Wise didn’t feel safe to be out. In her senior year of high school, she served as the co-president of the gay-straight alliance. Teachers wouldn’t allow the group to post fliers near their classrooms, and students protested outside their meetings, holding signs reading hateful messages like, “F--s go to hell.” She knew she would be judged if she came out; after all, she was already being condemned for being an ally.
“They said that, as someone who supported the gay-straight alliance, I wasn’t being true to God, I wasn’t being true to myself. My best friend told me I was going to hell because of it,” Wise says.
But the high school community’s attitude toward homosexuality helped her grow stronger in realizing her identity. Amidst the physical and verbal violence around her, she learned to stand firm for LGBT students and became a fiercer ally. And, she was becoming more aware of her lesbian identity. Wise came out to her friends when she came to Emory, and to her mom in the middle of her sophomore year of college.
“Intersectionality” is a word that is used often to describe how one’s social and cultural traits combine to form their identity. For example, no one can simply be defined by their sexuality — instead, their gender, race and socioeconomic status must also come into play. And for many students, being comfortable with their LGBT identity also means learning to be comfortable with other aspects of themselves. The white, mid-to-upper middle class portrayal of “gay” in mainstream media and TV shows like “Will & Grace” and “The L Word” is not an accurate representation, Shutt says.
College junior Marina Santiago, who is the other co-president of Emory Pride, is bisexual and biracial; her mother is of Western-European descent and her father is Mexican. And even though she isn’t too close to the Mexican community and doesn’t speak Spanish, she says being bisexual and biracial are related in a way.
“I was without a set culture,” she says, describing how growing up, she felt neither white nor Mexican. And even in the queer community, she says that bisexuals are sometimes not the focus. The sense of being “in-between” — being of mixed heritage and being bisexual — is paralleled in these two aspects of her identity.
Religious identity is often debated in the context of homosexuality. But Hand says he has reconciled religion and sexuality in his life, and found a way for the two to coexist. He has come out to his church community, and his pastor is still welcoming. Hand’s godfather and godmother, the minister and first lady at his church, are open about his sexuality, but neither for nor against it.
“It’s so important to make sure your spiritual leader understands you,” Hand says.
Emory, and Beyond
There are various resources available for students who are going through the coming-out process, including the LGBT Office, the Counseling Center and its Out at Emory group counseling sessions, student organizations and the Safe Space Program, which provides “safe spaces” where LGBT students can speak with members of the Emory community who are trained in and aware of LGBT concerns and issues.
Having an established LGBT community is imperative in fostering a welcoming environment for LGBT students, Shutt says. It’s especially important in creating a community where students can connect with each other and be each other’s helping hand.
Emory’s vocal support for and celebration of diversity are plus points to incoming LGBT students who are looking for a liberal environment where they can be accepted, Wise says.
“Some students coming from up north really see Emory as a bit of a conservative school, but for me, it was a liberal haven,” Wise says, especially after her run-ins with anti-gay students and teachers in high school. “I started feeling safe just because of the community.”
Colorful collages made by members of Emory’s community expressing their identity have been showcased throughout this month in the Dobbs University Center (DUC). Every year, in celebration of LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, students are invited to share their coming-out stories anonymously or with their names attached, and their stories are displayed in the DUC as well.
Emory has a distinct community in Atlanta. Atlanta is an anomaly in itself — a liberal, gay-friendly city in a historically conservative Southern state.
“I think that Emory is a great place to be a gay person,” Fox says. “But even 20 miles outside of Atlanta, I don’t think that’s a place to be gay.”
But some students worry about life after bursting out of the Emory bubble. For students applying to graduate schools or looking for jobs, it’s unclear what exactly life outside of Emory will be like. Coming out in a generally liberal institution with an active LGBT community provides a certain protection for some students.
College senior Joe O’Geen, who is applying to dental schools, says he’s unsure how much of his involvement with Emory Pride he would mention at an interview.
After three years of being involved with Emory Pride, it’s become an important part of his Emory career and he definitely plans to include it in his activities on applications. However, he is aware of the not-so-supportive views out there.
Once when Wise and her girlfriend were at a shopping center in Los Angeles, a man pulled up in a car next to them and yelled out, “You dy--s can’t do it the right way. Let me show you a real man can f--k.” Wise and her girlfriend walked faster to get away from him, but he screeched his tires next to them and continued to yell obscenities and racist comments at Wise’s girlfriend, who is black. Eventually, the two walked into an ice cream store to get away. And that wasn’t the only anti-gay sentiments she has faced outside of Emory, either.
“At that moment we weren’t just being harassed because we’re in an interracial relationship, we’re also lesbians, and we’re women,” Wise says. “That was probably the scariest thing that has happened. ... I think my fear is once I get out of the Emory bubble, how to feel safe in the ‘real world.’”
Coming out is a gradual process that is unique to each person. It’s based on an individual’s timeline and based on what phase of life they are in, Fox says, adding that even though Emory may provide a welcoming community, students will decide on their own time whether to come out or not.
Hand’s revelation at Best in Show was the culmination of a long coming-out process. During the summer, he had come out to his family and closest friends, who welcomed him with open arms.
About three months after his public coming-out, Hand says he is happy and dating a guy, although he does not mention a name.
“The puzzle pieces extend throughout my life, but I started putting them together last summer,” Hand says. “I’m so super happy. This past year has been such a struggle, pain, tears, growth, development. I’m comfortable with who I am.”
14. Daily Eastern News, October 27, 2009
1811 Buzzard Hall
Mini-museum brings LGBT awareness
By Emily Brauer
Pride set up a mini-history museum with more than 10 displays of famous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people, information of flags and symbols, and information on upcoming events.
The displays featured famous LGBT singers, actors and authors, such as Jodie Foster, Anne Frank and Patty Bouvier of "The Simpsons."
Hundreds of movies that dealt with homosexuality were listed like "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Under the Tuscan Sun."
LGBT lingo was explained along with symbols and flags. The four different flags include leather, transgender, rainbow and bisexual flag.
The leather pride flag, designed in 1989, represents the gay leather community, and is a black and white striped flag with a single white stripe down the middle and a red heart in the corner. The Greek letter Lambda is used as a universal symbol to identify LGBT people.
The museum also identified many LGBT myths.
"Being gay is just a phase," and "all lesbians are masculine, and all gays are feminine," are just some stereotypes listed on display boards.
With myths comes name-calling. Transgender is an "umbrella term" for transsexual, and genderqueer.
Genderqueer is when a person feels a mix of female and male, and occasionally a third gender too. People who are genderqueer sometimes prefer pronouns like "ze," "hir" or a singular "they."
According to one display, nine out of 10 LGBT students are verbally, sexually or physically harassed. These safety issues were instrumental in creating "The Day of Silence."
Pride explained that taking a vow of silence for a day brings attention to name-calling, and bullying.
The next Day of Silence will be from 12 a.m. to 11:55 p.m. April 16, 2010. Anyone can participate by remaining silence and wearing black.
Pride puts on an informational every year; but this year, they are producing more informationals and displays than before. The group also holds panels where LGBT students sit and answer any questions from the audience.
The annual Diva Drag Show will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Tickets will be $4. This is Pride's only funding for the year.
Pride has 20 to 30 members this year, "which is large compared to previous years," said Justin Sudkamp, a senior English major and Pride member.
Pride meets at 8 p.m. every Monday night in the Effingham Room in the Union.
Emily Brauer can be reached at 581-7942 or at DENnewsdesk@gmail.com.
15. Emory Wheel, October 26, 2009
Emory University, Drawer W, Atlanta, GA 30322
Our Opinion: Drag Show Underscores Progress on LGBTQ Issues
By The Editorial Board
Who says Emory doesn’t have any spirit? Last Friday, a large turn-out of students, staff and faculty members alike challenged this stereotype by coming together to watch and participate in the Emory Drag Extravaganza. The event, which featured a drag show and several performances, turned out to be not only well-attended, but a successful and fun event all around.
The Office of Lesbian, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) Life and Emory Pride organized the event as an opportunity for the Emory community to show support for the LGBT causes. In addition, the event successfully raised more than $1,500 for LGBT leadership opportunities and programs (to compare, last year’s show raised $600). Aside from being an effective fund-raiser, however, the show was also well-organized and entertaining. Nine Emory student groups participated in the fifth annual Drag Show, billed as “transforming today’s leaders;” the enticement of potentially winning a $300 first prize or the $200 second prize may have helped, but was hardly cited by anyone as a significant motivating factor behind their decision to participate.
The drag show was a hit that left the community buzzing for days afterward — administrators you would never expect to don full-out drag attire showed up in cheerleader costumes and dresses, ensuring an evening of nonstop laughter and standing ovations. Even more significant than that detail, however, was the diverse nature of the crowd. Members from all corners of the Emory community came out to support the event — proving that this event, and the issues it calls awareness to, are far from niche interests that can be quickly dismissed.
Combining fund-raising and entertainment turned out to be a wise move for the Emory Drag Extravaganza. It’s great that the Office of LGBT Life and Emory Pride were able to put on an important event that brought awareness to a cause well-deserving of attention while making the event enjoyable and light for the audience, and we also must thank the Emory community for their dedication to standing behind our LGBT community.
Although it may seem like a small deal as the Emory community mobilizes around significant LGBT concerns at the University, this further demonstrates the extent to which Emory can be considered a safe and comfortable environment for these issues to be broached. There’s almost no element more community-building and familiarizing than shared laughter; the across-the-board fun experienced during the Drag Show is yet another indicator that the campus is moving in the right direction. There is still much progress to be made, but at no point in Emory’s history has there been more of a cause for confidence then there is now.
The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s Editorial Board.
16. The Flat Hat, October 27, 2009
Campus Center, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Queering the way for future queens
By Andie Schwanz and Ginny Hutcheson
As officers of the Lambda Alliance — the College of William and Mary’s organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied individuals — we are proud of our fellow students for electing Jessee Vasold ’11 as the Class of 2011 Homecoming queen. This election demonstrates our student body’s dedication to diversity.
Since zir election, many have wondered why Vasold ran for Homecoming queen. Vasold identifies as gender-queer, an identity that is outside the traditional man-woman gender binary. If ze is not a woman, why would someone nominate zir for a position traditionally designated for women? Vasold frequently presents zir gender as feminine; for those who feel uncomfortable using gender-neutral pronouns (ze and zir), ze prefers the feminine pronouns (she and her).
Friends and classmates of Vasold wanted to celebrate zir commitment to our school without relegating zir to a traditionally masculine category, which ze has repeatedly rejected. The president of the Class of 2011 asked students to nominate someone who embodies the most Tribe Pride. Vasold certainly fits that category.
Vasold was nominated because of zir involvement and leadership within many campus organizations. Ze is especially dedicated to making our community safe for all students, especially those of sexual and gender minorities. Ze is the coordinator for the Safe Zone project, the Student Assembly undersecretary for LGBT affairs, a former co-president and active member of the Lambda Alliance, a representative to Interfaith Council and a founding member of Feminists Unite.
There are those who have expressed their concern that the result of this election reflects poorly on the College. Some have wondered what the alumni will think. While, of course, alumni and donors are important, we believe that the current and future students of the College should be our primary concern. Furthermore, this may shock those concerned, but many alumni have expressed great pride at Vasold’s election.
We consider this event a positive reflection of the College. By electing a transgender student as a
Homecoming queen, we show that the College is a truly welcoming and affirming place for all people. This makes the College more appealing to prospective students and more competitive as a liberal arts university. Particularly for some LGBTQ students, the college selection process can be very heavily influenced by perceptions of the atmosphere at each school.
Vasold’s visibility and advocacy on campus provide tangible evidence for such students that the College can be a safe place for them. Moreover, diversity is a primary goal of our university according to our Strategic Plan. The election of a gender-queer student to a traditionally gendered role truly supports this commitment. Further steps are still needed to ensure that the College provides equal opportunities to all.
Vasold’s election has prompted numerous valuable conversations about gender, especially transgender identities. Contrary to what some have indicated in discussions about the topic, Vasold is in no way the only person who identifies as gender-queer or uses gender-neutral pronouns. Zir gender identity, which challenges the notion that there are only two acceptable genders, is rare yet increasingly common within transgender and queer communities.
Additionally, despite what some media outlets have indicated, Vasold is not a transexual woman, nor is ze a gay man. Ze is also not an it, a term which denies zir personhood. For many, the idea of non-binary genders and the use of gender-neutral pronouns can be daunting, but the most important thing is to respect the self-identification of all individuals. When in doubt, it is usually more polite to ask than to make assumptions about a person’s identity.
We hope Vasold’s election opens doors for further discourse regarding all types of gender identities and expressions. If we approach this issue respectfully and with open minds, we can encourage the College community to become a more affirming place for all students. Congratulation to Vasold, Benton Harvey (Class of 2011 Homecoming king), and the rest of the Homecoming Court.
E-mail Andie Schwanz and Ginny Hutcheson at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
17. Ball State Daily News, October 27, 2009
Art and Journalism Building 278, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306
Lighting the way: Campus organization grows, celebrates 35 years of offering support to the GLBTQ community
By Staff Reports
John McVey remembers coming out as a junior while at Ball State University 32 years ago.
The time was both a traumatic and easy time that was somewhat eased by maintaining social relationships with faculty members on campus.
“There was still a divide, but it did make us feel better,” he said.
At the time Gay Activists Union, the GLBTQ organization on campus, had a couple meetings a month and served primarily as a way for members of the GLBTQ community to meet.
“It was a social outlet, a way of finding friends,” McVey said. “It got to be fun to know you were helping some younger kids coming in and to let them know that there was someplace they could go and feel comfortable without the pressures of college in a different way.”
The group still exists today as Spectrum and, with 110 people present at the first general body assembly for the Fall 2009 Semester, is stronger than ever, Damon Clevenger, the group’s president, said.
“That was really impressive,” Clevenger said, “especially seeing the new freshmen coming out and getting involved; and, hopefully, they stay involved for the next four years.”
This year marks the 35th year a GLBTQ organization has existed on Ball State’s campus and, over the years, it has adapted to changing social climates.
Before the name Spectrum was introduced, Ball State’s original GLBTQ group was called the Muncie Gay Pride Coalition, and a few months later, the Gay Activists Union.
GAU was just starting when McVey took the lead of the organization with Susan Daniel and David Truax in 1977.
McVey also recalled participating in protests against gay rights opponent Anita Bryant in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis during this time.
“We were trying to show that we could make a statement without being terribly pushy and proddy about it, just to show the other side that we were, just as we do today, show that we’re equals and need that respect and recognition,” he said.
McVey said such protests helped with the younger students coming in to the organization.
“A lot of them had come from places that said ‘You shouldn’t do this at all.’ It was good to show them that they had something available and that they had a voice,” he said.
After graduating from Ball State, McVey moved to Tracy, Calif., and has spent the last 30 years as a library technician at an elementary school. Every once in a while he takes time to reflect on his GAU experiences, he said.
“It kind of gave a purpose within a purpose at Ball State and was a way for us to expand who each of us were and to show that we could get each other a wider education, and I think it worked for a majority of us,” he said.
Clevenger said one of the consistent jobs GAU and now Spectrum, has done on campus is provide a Speaker Panel Program, which allows various classes at Ball State to have a group of speakers from the current campus GLBTQ organization answer questions about sexuality.
Clevenger said it was another way to uphold the main goal of Ball State’s GLBTQ community: stay visible.
“The more visibility we have, I think the more people will find that we’re just like everybody else — we just love differently,” he said.
During the 1970s and 1980s, GAU began to lose steam and continued to change its name.
There was little university support and problems with membership numbers, though things began to change in the 1990s.
David Speakman and Stephanie Minehart presided over Ball State Lesbian and Gay Student Alliance in 1988 and decided to shut it down for a year to see if there was still a need for the organization.
“People weren’t coming to meetings and it was the height of the AIDS crisis,” Speakman said.
But in 1988, a bunch of bad things happened that led to the organization’s reemergence as a support network, he said.
“We had a lesbian friend of ours who was followed home from a bar and raped by a guy who wanted to prove to her all she needed was a man; there was somebody who committed suicide,” he said.
Speakman also pointed to a lot of anti-gay violence during this time in starting the organization up again earlier than was planned.
“In fact, I was the first openly gay person elected to the Student Senate and I was followed home one night and had the crap beaten out of me by people with beer bottles,”
Speakman said. “I never made a deal out if it because it was that time when people didn’t really talk about it. Nothing was done about it with the cops or anything. We decided that if anyone was going to speak up for us, it was going to be us.”
The Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay Student Association was then created in 1990 as an organized GLBTQ presence reemerged on campus. Instead of concentrating on activism and awareness, LBGSA focused on working as a support system for GLBTQ students. Spectrum secretary Jacinta Yanders said this is an important distinction for GLBTQ groups on campus.
“It gives people a place to go that either just came out or are in the process of coming out,” she said. “We have members who aren’t out at home, but they can be who they are here at Spectrum. People who may be having conflict with their parents ... really need Spectrum to be there to support them.”
Another change made in the 1990s was the creation of support for students. The SAFE On-Campus organization was made up of staff and faculty who were certified to serve as allies to GLBTQ students. Yanders — who is a Spectrum straight ally — said support systems are vital.
“It’s important for any minority group that is trying to get any sort of rights or equality to have assistance from people within the majority because that helps them in whatever they’re trying to do,” she said. “It just helps bridge a gap of sorts between people because people don’t necessarily think of straight people being part of the GLBT community. But I think all of us allies help bridge that gap.”
LBGSA had to wait until 1994 to receive official office space. Soon after, the group had a staff adviser and funding from the Student Activities fund. Former LBGSA president Kerry Poynter said he remembers the group’s first office space as a major milestone.
“I do remember when ... we got that office space. It was a big deal,” Poynter said. “Before that, files of information would be stored at people’s houses and get lost. I think it was the first time the university recognized the student organization was doing really good work. The early ’90s were a different time than it is now, especially when it comes to GLBT issues.”
In 1998, the group’s name was changed a final time and was not specific as to who was involved in the group. The name ‘Spectrum’ allowed the organization to appeal to all kinds of students.
“They decided, ‘What can we come up with represents our community that’s a lot simpler and more inclusive?’ So they came up with Spectrum and I’m glad they did,” Clevenger said.
Yanders said the name Spectrum is a perfect way to showcase the community aspect of the group.
“We call it a family because it really is just a giant family,” she said. “You meet so many different people. You get not just sexuality differences, but diversity of other types within the group.”
Today, Spectrum continues to get larger as the organization currently has about 150 members, Clevenger said. The group hosts numerous events and fundraisers including conferences, current events meetings, drag shows and Homecoming activities.
However, Clevenger said Spectrum’s biggest responsibility is still serving as a support group for students who are struggling.
“If people are not able to feel comfortable being out, I think Spectrum is a good foundation of a starting point for those individuals to come to terms with their identity and start feeling safe and accepted so that maybe they might branch out and talk to their family and friends,” he said. “Without that, I don’t really know that we could be stronger advocates for equality or any issue.”
18. KSAL, October 27, 2009
131 N. Santa Fe, P.O. Box 80, Salina, KS 67402
Transgender Speaker to Appear at KSU Salina: Over 50 students signed a petition supporting him
By Natalie Blair
Ryan Sallans, a transgendered individual whose presentations focus on honoring and respecting who you are, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, in the College Center Conference Room at Kansas State University at Salina.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
Sallans also will speak to classes in K-State at Salina's family studies and human services program Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Sallans' visit to K-State at Salina is being funded in part by the college's Student Governing Association, which recently voted to provide $600 to help bring him to campus. The money will cover his speaking fee. The association originally was asked to provide $1,000 to bring Sallans to campus. After the request did not pass, more than 50 K-State at Salina students signed a petition in support of bringing him to campus.
Students also donated a lot of their own money toward bringing this speaker to campus and they donated it $1 or $5 at a time. The private donations to bring Sallans to campus will be used to cover costs incurred with his visit, including lodging and travel expenses.
Sallans' meeting with students in the family studies and human services program will be used to start a campus organization in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.
19. The Montclarion, October 22, 2009
Montclair State University, 113 Student Center Annex, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
Anti-LGBT Actions Strike Campus Again
Bias has struck again. For the third time this calendar year, the second time against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center, someone has committed a bias crime aimed at others on campus. This follows last semester’s incidents where a lubricated condom was found on one of the Newman Catholic Center’s doors and a homosexual slur was written across the LBGT Center’s door.
This time, it has been reported that a bias message was slipped under the LBGT Center’s door yesterday. The investigation is still ongoing, so what exactly was written on this note is currently undisclosed. Nevertheless, we have reason to believe this message was quoted from or had something to do with a passage from the Bible. This was discovered right before the center held an event on the Bible and homosexuality.
Shortly after the note was found, Esmilda Abreu, the director of the Equity and Diversity Program, sent out a campus-wide e-mail asking for students to be allies of the center. In the email, Abreu asked for support and, more importantly, respect from Montclair students toward the center.
Respect is what many of Montclair’s students seem to have been lacking over the past several months.
This is the third time a bias crime has been committed on campus, and frankly, it is an embarrassment and a disgrace. The acts are inexcusable. It is an embarrassment to everyone associated with Montclair State University who has to deal with this immaturity. It is a disgrace to an institution that supposedly celebrates its great diversity.
Diversity goes beyond skin color. It goes beyond one’s national background and heritage. The fact that people are committing bias crimes against people of a different sexual orientation goes against what Montclair prides itself in most: diversity and tolerance.
Everyone here is enrolled in higher education courses.
It is time all students start acting like educated adults.
Montclair State isn’t a playground; this isn’t grade school.
It is time for the students who are committing these bias crimes to grow up. Now don’t get us wrong: this isn’t a lecture. It’s not what most of you heard repeatedly as kids.
The Montclarion isn’t here to tell you the difference between right and wrong. You all know the difference. It’s time to be realistic, and treat others with respect, even of you have different beliefs.
This is getting to the point where people are suggesting the use of security cameras for surveillance.
This may be a necessary measure to stop future attacks. Immaturity and a lack of understanding are fueling the crimes.
It is ridiculous that people are forced to worry for their safety because a few childish students don’t like homosexuals.
The least an organization can ask for is equal treatment and respect from the university and student body.
Diversity is one of the aspects that make Montclair State University the fascinating place it is.
All students, faculty and administrators alike should take a look at themselves in the mirror, and realize the importance of respect.
If you can’t respect your peers in college, how are you going to succeed in the real world?
20. Royal Purple News, October 28, 2009
66 University Center, 800 W. Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190
Webinar to focus on hate crimes: Preventing hate crimes, raising awareness are central goals of presentation
By Joseph Luther
"What You Need to Know About Hate Crimes on Your Campus," a national Webinar on preventing hate crimes, will be held Nov. 3 from noon to 2 p.m. in the University Center room 259B.
Elizabeth Ogunsola, assistant to the chancellor for affirmative action, said the Webinar is an opportunity for students to educate themselves about hate crimes on college campuses.
"It's basic information, the title 'What You Need to Know About Hate Crimes on the Campus' says it all," Ogunsola said. "I believe it will just give students information on what they should be aware of."
The Webinar focuses on identifying hate crime laws, trends in hate crimes on college campuses and what to do if a hate crime is committed.
Students will learn who the most likely victims and offenders of hate crimes are and strategies to prevent hate crimes.
Speakers Greg Miraglia and Shane L. Windmeyer have years of experience working with hate crimes and diversity issues.
Miraglia, dean of career technical education at Napa Valley College, has 27 years of law enforcement experience including seven years as a deputy chief and nine years as director of the Police Academy at Napa Valley College.
He is currently the National Program Coordinator for Stop the Hate, a national group aimed at preventing hate crimes.
Windmeyer is a national leader in gay and lesbian civil rights and travels the country speaking to college students about Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender issues.
He is the founder and executive director of Campus Pride, a national organization for student leaders and campus groups looking to create a safer environment for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender students.
Windmeyer's book, "The Advocate College Guide for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Students" identifies the top 100 Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender friendly campuses across the country.
"They are going to be talking about identifying hate biases," UW-Whitewater student services specialist Kim Simes said. "Mainly, as a campus, what do we do when a hate crime happens?"
The Webinar will be run on a large screen in front of the room. Participants can ask questions and respond to the speakers via a chat system on the Innovative Educators Web site.
A recording of the session will be available to students approximately one week after the initial Webinar. Students interested in obtaining a copy of the Webinar taping should contact Elizabeth Ogunsola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ogunsola said the Webinar is open to everyone, but said she encourages student organizations leaders to attend the Webinar. She said everyone needs to be able to identify, solve and prevent further problems surrounding diversity.
"It is a concern when we are looking at our diversity issues," Ogunsola said. "We wanted it to be open to the entire campus."
21. The Daily Targum, October 25, 2009
126 College Ave. Suite 431, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Senate passes report despite controversy: U. tables federal policy, banning men who have sex with men from donating blood, as nondiscriminator
By Ariel Nagi and Cagri Ozuturk
Confusion, controversy and heated debate filled the Multipurpose Room of the Rutgers-Camden Campus Center during Friday’s University Senate meeting.
After deliberation on whether barring men who have sex with men from donating blood violates the University’s nondiscrimination policy and if blood drives should be banned if it does, the Senate split the report and tabled the statement regarding whether it violates the policy.
The rest of the report passed unanimously while about seven senators and members of the public spoke against the controversial single sentence, which stated “policies of barring blood donations of men who have sex with men is not a discriminatory practice that violates Rutgers’ nondiscrimination policies.”
Advocates and beneficiaries of blood donations will continue having blood drives because the Senate also affirmed that they are a vital service, and the ban in place is a federal — not a University — ban, West said.
“The [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community and, more broadly, [men who have sex with men] know that the Senate will abide to Rutgers nondiscrimination policy in regards to sexual orientation,” Rutgers University Student Assembly University Affairs Chair Ben West said.
After the sentence was defeated in vote, Student Activities Committee Co-Chair Kevin Wild motioned to reconsider the sentence so he could explain the findings of the Senate but the motion failed.
Wild said he was upset that he was not allowed the opportunity to respond to the concerns raised.
“What upsets me more is that the Senate took no stance on the matter,” said Wild, a University College-Newark senior. “If the senators who voted against the findings of the report were so against our committee’s findings, then they should have at least chosen to amend the report to reflect their views.”
The Senate’s function is to advise the University’s central administration of whether the practice violates the University’s policy and not whether the practice itself is discriminatory, he said. The nondiscrimination policy itself mandates nondiscrimination in benefits and services of its educational programs.
“Some of the objections to the report’s and committee’s finding that the practice of the [Food and Drug Administration], which was the primary subject of the charge in this matter, is not a violation of Rutgers’ nondiscrimination policy were based on misunderstandings of the Senate’s function and authority,” Executive Secretary of the University Senate Ken Swalagin said.
Some members and students attending the meeting argued the policy goes against the University’s nondiscrimination policy because it discriminates against gay people by not allowing men who have sex with men to participate in blood drives on campus.
“Men who have sex with men share one thing in common, a sexual orientation towards men, and therefore the ban violates our nondiscrimination policy,” said West, a Rutgers College senior. “The Senate took the right steps by keeping blood drives on campus and by acknowledging that the FDA’s ban on blood donations from [men who have sex with men] is against our nondiscrimination policy.”
Board of Trustees Student Representative Josh Slavin said the sentence should be removed because it is a clear indicator of a violation of the University’s nondiscrimination policy.
“It seems like such a fine distinction to make … to say that’s not a violation of the policy,” said Slavin, a Livingston College senior.
West said it is clearly a violation of the policy, since discriminating against men who have sex with men is discriminating against anyone of that sexual orientation, including homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people.
“Men who have sex with men is a group of people with the same sexual orientation,” West said. “They’re all sexually oriented towards men.”
Although this motion will not allow men who have sex with men to participate in blood drives, he is glad it was brought to the Senate’s attention, he said.
“A lot of students were in opposition to it,” West said. “A few were for it, but most were in opposition.”
About 220 students sent e-mails to him opposing the motion arguing it is clearly a violation of the nondiscrimination policy, he said.
The Senate argued the policy follows the federal policy on blood donor restrictions, noting the largest numbers of blood donors who carry the human immunodeficiency virus are men who have sex with men.
Louis Sass, a professor for the Graduate School of Applied Professional Psychology, requested that the Senate table the motion to be discussed in greater detail at the next meeting, in order to acquire more adequate statistics and facts that men who have sex with men have a higher chance of spreading HIV.
“Personally, I don’t see how anyone can argue this is discriminatory without scientific evidence [about the prevalence of HIV in men who have sex with men],” Sass said.
Swalagin said it was not the intent of the Student Affairs Committee to assert that the FDA’s policy is nondiscriminatory, which it clearly is.
“The absence of a statement in the report which condemns or criticizes the FDA policy could … be viewed as implicitly condoning the policy, which was not the intent of the [committee],” he said. “It remains the responsibility of the [committee] to now further respond to the issue, but it seems reasonable to expect that a statement explicitly criticizing the FDA policy and the grounds for that criticism would be a valuable, germane and timely addition to the [committee]’s further response.”
22. Emory Wheel, October 22, 2009
Emory University, Drawer W, Atlanta, GA 30322
Voicing Transgender Issues at Emory
By Bridget Riley
Awareness happens in shifts. Small incidents that can spur discussion, question norms.
This year alone, a cluster of events have sparked awareness about transgender issues. August: A South African track athlete’s sex comes into question. September: An armed man is arrested on Emory’s campus while wearing a dress and trying to use the women’s restroom. October: Morehouse College bans cross-dressing at the all-male school.
Out of these tidbits, a discussion is emerging about what transgender means to Emory.
For graduate student and president of Trans-Forming Emory Anson Koch-Rein, shifts like these define his experience as a transgender man.
“A very, very, very long time ago, as a little teenager, I came out as a lesbian, but I realized that wasn’t the right label,” Koch-Rein says, now in his second year at the Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory. It took time for Koch-Rein to arrive at transgender, and he says his identity remains in flux. With a degree in gender studies from the Humboldt University of Berlin under his belt, he now feels open to act as a spokesperson of sorts with Trans-Forming Emory.
He wants to build a transgender presence on campus through Trans-Forming Emory, a group he started this semester. He says that Emory’s policies are trans-friendly, but he knows that a trans-accepting community isn’t made on rainbow Safe Space stickers alone.
Rez Pullen, a fourth-year doctoral student who will teach a class on transgender studies next semester, sees education as the key to raising awareness and ultimately acceptance.
“In the last year, there’s been increased interest in transgenderism,” Pullen says. “In the courses I’ve taught, I’ve seen students taking interest in issues about transgenderism in popular culture or theoretical issues.”
Step one in awareness is a comprehensive definition of transgender. The word hinges in a differentiation between sex and gender — sex being biological and genetically determined, and gender referring to the cultural norms and stereotypes associated with a sex.
A transgender person does not identify with the gender identity with which he or she was born. In rejecting this identity, a person may cross-dress, take hormones, undergo reassignment surgery or live an androgynous lifestyle, free from either gender. All these options fit under the aegis of “transgender.”
Before adding the “T” to its acronym, the Office of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Life opened its doors in 1991. Seven years later, the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Life was born and thereby legitimated the needs of transgender students, faculty and staff at Emory.
It’s hard to pinpoint when transgenderism first entered discussion on campus, but the renaming of the both Office and the President’s Commission on LGBT Concerns in 1998 gives a general idea. No incident of discrimination inspired the change, just a community aware of what was happening nationally.
Fast-forward to the spring of 2007: The University amends its nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity and gender expression — a clear, institution-wide commitment to transgender issues.
In the past decade, the number of “out” transgender students has fluctuated, never more than a handful.
Michael Shutt took the helm as director of the LGBT Office in 2008. After the wave of the nondiscrimination win crested, he says the question became, “Now what?”
“We’re ahead of the game, but we have a long way to go,” Shutt says. “A gender binary is so institutionalized. We’ve taken on name changes, we’ve taken on policies, but now it’s, ‘What is next?’”
Koch-Rein sees creating community as the main goal for Trans-Forming Emory. But he also seeks to make his day-to-day life as transgender easier, starting with unisex bathrooms in every building. For most, going to the restroom doesn’t require strategic planning and fear.
Koch-Rein says, “At this point, I’m not using bathrooms in the DUC [Dobbs University Center], because apparently people call the police,” referring to last month’s incident when the Emory police arrested a trespassing suspect who attempted to enter the women’s restroom. “I go out of my way to use gender-neutral bathrooms, like those in Candler Library.”
Shutt points out that the need for unisex bathrooms isn’t just a transgender issue. Caretakers of children and handicapped persons of a different sex benefit from single-stall restrooms too, he says.
Check out a map of unisex and single-use restrooms on campus: (Click link for map.)
Though there’s no policy in place to guarantee retrofitting existing buildings with unisex restrooms, all new residence halls — including Turman, Few and Evans — will have single-occupancy unisex restrooms.
Trans undergrads may run across other problems with housing at Emory, and Residence Life is fully prepared to handle all matters in a personal manner.
Director of Residence Life Andy Wilson acknowledges that he’s been in touch with several transgender students going through student housing. ResLife assigns all students to dorms by biological sex, and handles all special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. He asserts that a policy on the books for transgender students would do more harm than good.
“That would assume that we know what their ideal would be. Everyone’s a little bit different,” Wilson says. “We guarantee that we will work with them, in the same way we accommodate students who have other issues around their housing.”
To inform this process, Wilson looks at what peers do and what housing options are feasible. For now, Wilson says there are ample single rooms and apartments to accommodate transgender students’ requests.
Once in dorms, transgender students can seek help from resident advisers (RA) and sophomore advisers (SA), who have been trained by the LGBT Office.
Frank Gaertner chairs the Residence Life Diversity Committee, a new group meeting for the first time today. Gaertner says the committee, made up of RAs and SAs, seeks to get in touch better with the needs of all students. The RAs and SAs are the committee’s eyes and ears to understanding the needs of minority groups, including transgender students.
“When a group is very small in nature, there tends to be less support for them,” Gaertner says. “We are concerned about doing what we can.”
Perhaps nothing defines a person by gender so much as name. Koch-Rein goes by Anson, but since this is not his given name, he has to go through the routine of correcting his name — just as any one who uses a nickname, middle name or other name would know. Koch-Rein sees it as a tedious need to reassert his identity.
While seeing this fault, he is awed by how easily United States citizens can change their names. He’s originally from a small town in northern Germany, and a long-time resident of Berlin after that — though his accent barely sounds Canadian, let alone German. The name-change process in Germany, he explains, can be long and difficult, demanding not only court approval but psychological evaluations, too.
Besides grappling with institutional restrictions, transgender people face an inner struggle. Psychologist Mark McLeod, director of the Counseling Center, says transgender students deal with all the same stress, depression and anxiety of any other Emory student.
“In addition, transgendered students can struggle to manage concerns of societal oppression that are unique to living outside of the gender binary,” McLeod says.
Students seeking chemical or surgical transition, McLeod says, should seek a clinician outside the University, so that counseling does not end once the student’s four years are up.
Shutt says one of the biggest breaks in transgender concerns lies in Emory’s health-care plan. The University-wide provider, Aetna, covers the surgery and hormones of a transgender transformation, but Emory opts out.
“We have the ability to do so, but we choose not to,” Shutt says.
Shutt hopes this may change when Emory hosts the World Professional Association for Transgender Health in 2011. The international trans community will be looking to Emory.
A much more impenetrable realm for transgender students is that of gender-divided organizations, like sports teams.
“When you’re talking about the traditional sororities and fraternities and athletics, those are huge systems to figure out,” Shutt says.
Emory as an institution allows athletes to participate in the gender division they identify with. For NCAA sports, it gets a bit trickier. Trans athletes are not explicitly prohibited, but all athletes must follow the sex listed on their state identification.
In most states, it’s possible to change the sex (including Georgia), but only with proof of sex reassignment surgery — a long, intense procedure most college-aged transgender students have not undergone, or perhaps may never want to go through.
“The Office of LGBT Life has to continue to walk a walk to ensure that people know that this is a trans-inclusive space,” Shutt says. “We have ‘transgender’ on our door, but what are we doing to demonstrate to the trans community that we are trans-inclusive? That is the challenge we put across to people on campus. It’s something we all have to do.”
Koch-Rein has started holding weekly meetings for Trans-Forming Emory. So far, there’s been a film screening of “Transgeneration” and several open discussions.
“There’s been a maximum of three people,” he says, his warm face beaming beneath a jet-black faux-hawk. “But not the same people.”
The low turnout doesn’t deter Koch-Rein. He says he’s prepared to come to a meeting when no one shows up, and wait until Emory comes around.
23. University of Chicago Law School, October 20, 2009
1111 East 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637
http://www.law.uchicago.edu/audio/gaymarriage102009 (Click link to listen.)
Panel Discussion on Gay Marriage with Professors Mary Ann Case, Martha Nussbaum, David Strauss and Lecturer James Madigan
This panel discussion was recorded on October 20, 2009 and was sponsored by Outlaw, the Law School Democrats, and the Law School Republicans. Mary Ann Case is Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School; Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School; David Strauss is Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School; and James Madigan is Class of '00 and Lecturer in at the University of Chicago Law School.
24. MLive.com, October 30, 2009
The Grand Rapids Press
Screenwriter who won Oscar for 'Milk' may speak to Hope College students about filmmaking, but not gay rights
By Dave Murray
HOLLAND — An Oscar-winning filmmaker can speak to Hope College students about his craft — but not gay rights, college leaders say.
Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for original screenplay for “Milk,” is in the Holland area directing a new film, and students requested a screening followed by a forum discussion about sexuality.
Black also was invited by the college’s English Department to speak to a screenwriting class.
But college leaders nixed the roundtable discussion.
“In the specific situation with Mr. Black, it was felt by the college administration that his notoriety as an advocate for gay rights would not contribute constructively to the ongoing exploration and dialogue on our campus,” spokesman Thomas Renner said.
“However, we have encouraged students interested in bringing Mr. Black to campus to work with academic departments where he could speak to his professional expertise as a screenwriter and actor.”
Renner said Hope has not shied away from the issue of homosexuality and, over the past 10 years, has addressed the topic through theatrical productions, discussions with church leaders, student activities and classroom presentations.
Black’s award-winning screenplay was about the life of former San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay men to be elected to a public office.
Black, in the city for the filming of “What’s Wrong with Virginia,” could not be reached for comment. According to The Associated Press, Black told The Holland Sentinel he was not aware of the controversy over his invitation.
The move brought criticism from Craig Covey, the first openly gay mayor elected by voters in Michigan. He was elected mayor of Ferndale two years ago and is running unopposed on Tuesday.
“In this day and age, for a college to prevent a pro-gay speaker at a campus roundtable on sexuality is unbelievable,” Covey said. “It’s got me scratching my head and thinking ‘This is so 1950s.’”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
E-mail Dave Murray: email@example.com
25. The Dallas Morning News, October 30, 2009
508 Young St., Dallas, TX 75202
University of North Texas students to vote on gay homecoming couples
By Shaina Zucker
The University of North Texas’ Student Government Association wants the student body to decide whether same-sex or gender-neutral couples should be allowed to run for homecoming king and queen.
By a 22-1 vote, the Student Senate approved a measure calling for a referendum on the question.
Voting is scheduled to take place online from Nov. 16 through Nov. 20 via the student government's Web site, www.untsga.com. The site gives no details on what the voting procedures will be.
This year's homecoming royalty were already crowned, at UNT's homecoming game on Oct. 17.
So any decision to result from the student vote wouldn't apply until next year.
Initially, the Student Senate had voted not to allow gay couples to compete for homecoming court. That decision led to protests from some students.
The Senate reversed itself by approving the referendum at its Oct. 21 meeting.
“I’m just glad that the Senate was able to reconsider the issue and let the students decide," said Dakota Carter, president of the Student Government Association. "We showed we are willing to listen."
Speaker Pro Tempore Jessika Curry was the only member to oppose a referendum. She said she didn't oppose the inclusion of gays, but rather the wording of the proposal, which she said was "personally biased.”
26. The Washington Post, October 31, 2009
P.O. Box 17370, Arlington, VA 22216
GU rally decries anti-gay violence
By Emma Brown
About 50 Georgetown University students rallied on campus at noon Friday to show solidarity with a student who was allegedly attacked this week because of her perceived sexual orientation.
"We should not have to fear for our lives when we walk down the street," said freshman JM Alatis, secretary and historian of GU Pride, the student group that organized the rally in less than 24 hours via Facebook, Twitter, text message and e-mail.
The assault occurred about 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, the university's Department of Public Safety said. A female student walking on Canal Road near the entrance to Georgetown's campus was confronted by two men who shouted anti-gay insults at her. The assailants, described as white males in their late 20s, grabbed her book bag, pushed her to the ground and struck her with the bag before leaving the scene, according to a university statement.
The student was wearing a gay rights T-shirt at the time, she later told campus police. She suffered minor injuries but did not require medical attention, authorities said.
The assailants were at large Friday, and neither campus nor District police were investigating the incident. The university turned over the initial incident report to District police because the alleged assault occurred off campus and, therefore, outside the school's jurisdiction, said university spokesman Andy Pino.
District police cannot take action unless the victim speaks to officers, which she had not consented to do, said police spokeswoman Traci Hughes.
Students who rallied Friday said anti-gay harassment is common on campus and at college parties.
"This stuff happens all the time," said sophomore Markus Brazill, "but a lot of us are afraid of reporting it."
Last fall, a Georgetown medical student was assaulted with a glass bottle by two men shouting homophobic slurs. In September 2007, a sophomore was arrested for allegedly assaulting a fellow student in what police investigated as a possible hate crime. Prosecutors later dropped the case, citing a lack of evidence, but the incident contributed to the establishment last year of a campus resource center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
According to the resource center's Web site, it is the first such center at a Jesuit university in the United States.
27. Penn Current, October 29, 2009
3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Advocating equal rights for all
By Greg Johnson
In 1991, when Tobias Wolff was a senior in college, he watched the Senate confirmation hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, which focused largely on the sexual harassment allegations raised by Anita Hill. He had a strong reaction to the proceedings, particularly the way in which members of the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted themselves. Strong enough, he recalls, to determine his own future.
Wolff, now a professor at Penn Law School, says he was “not terribly impressed” with how the committee handled the set of competing allegations, and his displeasure energized him to enter law as a field of study.
Originally enrolled at New York University, Wolff transferred to Yale, where he received his A.B. and J.D. He began as a J.D./Ph.D. candidate in history, but says he “really fell in love” with law during his first year of law school. Midway through his first year, he says, he knew being a law professor was something he wanted to explore.
After clerking at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Wolff taught law at the University of California, Davis. He arrived at Penn in 2007, where he now specializes in conflict of laws and complex litigation.
He is also a leading legal advocate for equal justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, serving on the Board of Directors of the Equal Justice Society and as legal advisor and LGBT policy chair during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In California, Wolff filed a petition to stop the enactment of Proposition 8. After it passed, he filed a brief to strike it down.
Wolff spoke with the Current about the field of law, whether ‘gay is the new black,’ and about the ongoing struggle for equal rights in America.
Q. In November of 2008, you filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to stop the enactment of Proposition 8. Where are you now in the fight for gay marriage?
A. In California, I’m sad to say that we lost that fight. The Supreme Court of California issued a ruling in this case, Strauss v. Horton, and we lost, and that was a disappointing loss. There are two efforts underway in California now. One is an effort to build support for a repeal of Proposition 8 through the ballot box. There’s a debate underway in California about which election cycle to try that repeal effort, 2010 or 2012.
Second, there’s a lawsuit right now in federal court bringing federal constitutional claims. There are two very high-profile lawyers. Ted Olson, who used to be President [George W.] Bush’s solicitor general and represented Bush in the Bush v. Gore case, and David Boies, who is a liberal lawyer who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore. It’s an interesting pair. They have filed a federal constitutional challenge to Prop 8.
There’s no question in my mind that their claims are meritorious. There’s no question in my mind that Prop 8 violates the federal Constitution. The question is whether it’s the right time to bring the lawsuit and whether the Supreme Court of the United States will be ready to recognize their claims. I’ve played a role in that suit. I filed a brief on behalf of Equality California emphasizing a fairly narrow constitutional argument, which I think is correct and which supporters could use to strike down Prop 8 without answering the broader question about marriage equality for people around the country. That lawsuit is underway. They have, I think, a tentative trial date in early January. There’s a lot of energy in California.
Q. California and Proposition 8 have recently gotten most of the attention in this debate. Is there any legal action happening in the rest of the country?
A. The opponents of equal rights in Maine are trying to block the Maine statute that would give equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples in that state. There’s a big campaign underway there. It’s very close, but it looks like we might win that campaign.
A legislator in New Hampshire has just announced that he’s going to try to block the New Hampshire marriage statute from going into effect, although I don’t think that he has much chance of success there.
In New York and New Jersey, we currently have efforts underway to enact marriage equality through the legislature. So there does appear to be some momentum. It’s an exciting time.
Q. Do you think Pennsylvania will ever allow gay marriage or is the middle of the state too conservative?
A. Pennsylvania is pretty far behind in a lot of ways on equal rights. It’s actually one of the worst states in the country when it comes to recognizing the equal rights of its gay, lesbian and transgender inhabitants. There are about 12 million people in Pennsylvania and by conservative estimates that means there are probably about 750,000 LGBT residents. That’s a lot of people to be denying rights to. I think that Pennsylvania’s going to have to come into the 21st century eventually, and the question is when. Obviously the legislature has [had] its hands full with the budgetary crisis. I don’t know the answer to the question of when Pennsylvania will get its act together but it’s overdue.
Q. The 14th Amendment seems pretty clear in its guarantee that no state shall ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ What exactly is the opposition’s legal argument for denying gay marriage?
A. To be honest with you, they don’t have much of an argument. Sometimes they talk about arguments about kids. They try to argue that somehow gay and lesbian parents are not as good parents as straight parents. No. 1, that’s just not true. All of the evidence that has sought to answer that question has come to exactly the opposite conclusion: That in fact, all other things being equal, gay and lesbian parents are just as good at being parents as straight parents.
Second, it’s always been a very confusing argument because there are all kinds of groups of people who, on average, have potentially less successful outcomes with their kids. Low-income parents, on average, have less successful outcomes in some ways with their kids, [but] we would never say we’re going to take support away from them. If anything, if we identify a population of people who have some kind of greater challenge in raising their kids, we give them more support. So in addition to the fact that these arguments about [gays and lesbians] raising kids are just wrong on the facts, they’ve never struck me as a particularly good argument for denying gay and lesbian couples the right to get married and for denying them equal support for their kids.
The other thing that opponents of equal treatment tend to say is that they somehow have to defend traditional marriage. I’m never quite sure what they mean by that because, first of all, traditional marriage, if one actually looks at the way that marriage has operated, is not a very pretty picture for women. Until very recently, women were treated as second-class citizens in marriage and basically lost most of their civil rights when they got married, and certainly lost most of their property rights and were treated very harshly under the law. Starting in the 20th century, and most significantly in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, we actually started recognizing equal rights for women generally, and particularly in family law and in the marriage context. So when people who oppose equal rights for gay couples talk about traditional marriage, I’m never quite sure which version of tradition marriage they’re talking about. But regardless, this is an argument that is a little bit tautological. At the end of the day, it seems to be an argument that we want straight couples to be the only ones who can get married because we only want straight couples to be able to get married. That’s not much of a legal argument. It may be an explanation for why these folks don’t like the possibility of gay couples being able to get married, but it’s not much of a legal argument.
Q. President Obama was criticized for a brief his administration filed in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. What are your thoughts on his administration’s support of the statute?
A. That’s a complicated issue. There’s a longstanding presumption that the Justice Department will defend statutes against challenges even if they don’t like the statute. The Administration has filed now, I think, three briefs in the Defense of Marriage Act cases. The first one was not very well thought out and it had some arguments in it that were, I think, really insupportable. Unfortunately, the reporting on that first brief was wildly inaccurate. [The media] took a very legitimate criticism about some arguments that [the Administration] made, which were just analytically wrong and insupportable and kind of thoughtless, and then also made some really offensive arguments that were simply not in the brief and never true.
This business about comparing gay relationships to incestuous relationships and so forth was just not an accurate characterization of the brief at all. There’s a lot of work to do in securing equality for this community and if people need to get angry about it, then I think they’re entitled to get angry about it. But, I thought it was unfortunate that the reporting surrounding that brief was really quite inaccurate. Having said that, the briefs did get a lot better and it was good that people raised their voices because the Justice Department and the Administration listened and the next briefs were much better not just in language and tone, but also in the arguments that they make. Not perfect, but much better.
Q. Some people have said that ‘gay is the new black’ in regards to civil rights. How do you feel about this characterization?
A. It is clearly true that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. I don’t like particularly this little sound bite that ‘gay is the new black.’ I think that it’s thoughtless in a lot of ways. There are a whole lot of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of color, and they have a lot to tell us about their respective experiences, and how they overlap and how they inform each other. There are also a lot of black people and leaders who aren’t so happy about the comparison between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. I regret the fact that they don’t like that comparison. But I need to respect that fact and be prepared to meet them on their own ground and try to bring them in as allies on this fight.
Q. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has voiced his support for gay marriage. He stated, ‘Freedom means freedom for everyone … People ought to be free to enter any kind of union they wish.’ Would you consider him an ally?
A. I’m glad that he said that. I don’t pretend to know what led the former vice president to that opinion, but presumably the fact that he has a lesbian daughter had some impact on the way that his views took shape. He’s a great example of an unlikely person who has gotten to what sounds like a pretty good space on the issue because he knows and cares about somebody who’s personally impacted by the issue. I don’t know whether I would go so far as to call him an ally, but I’m glad that he has the view that he does on the issue.
28. Harvard Gazette, October 29, 2009
Holyoke Center 1060, Cambridge, MA 02138
Facing your preferences: For gay and straight men, gauging facial attraction appears to operate similarly
By Amy Lavoie
“Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to. Gay men and straight men did not agree on the types of male faces they considered attractive.”
The study is the first to examine the facial feature preferences of gay men and lesbian women. Women’s preferences are more complex than men’s, as indicated by prior research demonstrating that ovulation, contraceptive use, self-perceived attractiveness, and sex drive all affect face preference. In this particular study, straight women preferred more masculine-faced men than lesbian women, while lesbians preferred slightly more masculine female faces than straight women or men.
Participants viewed images of faces that were digitally manipulated to be more masculine or feminine, and then indicated which face they considered more attractive. The study was conducted online, and included more than 900 men and women.
Sexually dimorphic features in male faces include a broad jaw, broad forehead, and more pronounced brow ridge. A sexually dimorphic female face has a more tapered chin, larger lips, and a narrower forehead.
Prior research has also shown that women prefer more masculine male faces when ovulating, indicating an evolutionary function for facial attraction. Men who have faces that are higher in sexual dimorphism (masculinity) have been shown to have better health and dominance but lower investment in offspring.
Although it is difficult to make substantial evolutionary claims from this study, Glassenberg’s work supports the idea that male attraction operates differently from female attraction, regardless of sexual orientation.
The research project was supported by Harvard University.
29. The Crimson White, October 30, 2009
P.O. Box 2389, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403
University examining domestic partner benefits
By Patty Vaughan
The University is reviewing health benefits after the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville recently decided to give domestic partners health benefits.
Domestic partners include more than just gay couples, but also straight couples who decide to live together but do not get married.
“The University of Alabama regularly reviews its benefits plans to make sure we are meeting the health care needs of our employees and their families,” said UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen. “These reviews cover a wide range of factors including coverage needs, coverage options and cost. UA’s Human Resources department and Office of General Counsel are currently reviewing the sponsored dependent program recently adopted by UAB and UAH.”
Capstone Alliance is a faculty and staff organization on campus that represents the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Alliance President Ben Henson said passing these benefits would only help the University.
“We believe it will help create the most diverse and progressive campus that we can possibly be, and with that comes the recruitment of top faculty and top students across the country,” Henson said. “I know that the University of Alabama really wants to make its mark in the world of research and science, and this would just help facilitate that.”
Henson said this issue is more than just something that is debated over a table.
“We feel that it is not a political issue or personal issue within members of the organization. It is an issue of quality,” he said. “There are thoughts that this is just a gay issue but this is just not a gay issue because straight people are affected too. Straight couples who choose not to get married can also take part in domestic partner benefits.”
Samantha Silor, a sophomore majoring in psychology, also believes this is more than just a gay issue.
“I am deeply concerned that a debate over this is even necessary. Everyone should be entitled to the same rights and benefits, regardless of sexual orientation,” she said. “It's time for our University to step up and stop avoiding controversial subjects. This isn't a ‘gay’ issue. This is a human rights issue.”
Henson believes the University is using the review period to analyze UAB and UAH.
“The way that I see it is that they are waiting to see if there is political fallout from UAB or UAH implementing domestic partner benefits,” Henson said.
According to Henson, there has been some political fallout with UAB since the benefits were passed for domestic partners.
“They did have a few researchers leave because of the elected domestic partner benefits, and with that these researchers were linked to grant dollars so that funding left when they left the University’s campus,” he said.
Silor said the University should have benefits no matter what other universities in the state are doing.
“I believe that UA should have domestic benefits regardless if UAB and UAH does,” she said. “The fact that UAB and UAH have made a decision in favor of benefits should only serve to propel our University to do the same. We have the choice whether to represent ourselves as fair, open-minded and progressive or succumb to unfair Southern stigmas of homophobia and racism.”
However, even through some fallout, Henson said UAB did the right thing.
“I think that is a very smart move for them,” he said. “I think it will only further their status as a national renowned research organization and university. You’re also looking at people who are researchers and family members with great reputations across the world who won’t even look at places like UAB or even the University of Alabama because of life with domestic partner benefits.”
Lauren Floyd, a junior majoring in English, said not having health benefits for domestic partners only hurts the students.
“UA should offer these health benefits. Not doing so puts the university at a loss when it comes to attracting faculty to the school because everyone should care about equal opportunity,” Floyd said. “Also, this could prevent students from getting the best teachers.”
Currently, different organizations are working together to present a letter to the upper administration.
“We are putting together letters and collecting forms that people can sign saying that they support domestic partner health benefits and we’re looking for people whether they are students, staff faculty or alumni or even people in the community to show their support and after a certain amount of time we’ll submit those to the administration,” Henson said.
30. The Dartmouth, October 30, 2009
6175 Robinson Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755
Prof. credits govt. with improving gay rights
By Bridgette Taylor
Governmental change, rather than grassroots activism, was primarily responsible for the improvement of relations between police and gay and lesbian individuals in Chicago during the early 1970s, according to University of Illinois history and gender and women’s studies professor John D’Emilio, who delivered the College’s 10th annual Stonewall Lecture on Thursday.
D’Emilio discussed his research on the gay rights movement in his address, “Queering the Past, or: Richard Nixon: Gay Liberationist?,” held in Filene Auditorium.
D’Emilio’s research focuses on gay and lesbian communities in urban centers, including San Francisco, Harlem and Buffalo, N.Y., during the mid-20th century.
“It was the worst time to be queer,” D’Emilio said of the period. “Women who wore pants with the zippers in the front could be arrested for impersonating men.”
D’Emilio said he focused on Chicago because of the city’s relatively unrecorded gay and lesbian history.
He said he found instances of significant discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Midwest, including Chicago Tribune articles that referred to homosexual individuals as “moral degenerates,” “unmentionables” and “nest of perverts.”
Police officers also regularly harassed gays and lesbians and raided gay bars at will, he said.
Gay and lesbian activists responded with demonstrations against police harassment in the late 1960s, D’Emilio said. Soon afterwards, police treatment of LGBT individuals improved, he said.
“After these militant protests started to occur, the harassment of gay bars in Chicago almost becomes history,” D’Emilio said.
D’Emilio argued that the role of the activists in effecting change, however, was limited.
Discrimination against gays and lesbians by the Chicago police department did not come to an end until the beginning of Richard Nixon’s presidency in 1969, D’Emilio said.
Nixon’s appointment of Jim Thompson as the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Illinois led to important gains for the gay and lesbian community, he said. In his new role, Thompson demanded major structural changes within the police department.
“The attorney general and Justice Department were eager to do what no Democratic president would ever allow — to investigate corruption in Chicago,” D’Emilio said. “Exposing police extortion and harassment of bar owners — all of a sudden it’s not possible for police in Chicago to harass gay bars at will.”
Improvements, therefore, resulted from administrative measures rather than bottom-up initiatives, D’Emilio said.
D’Emilio said he believes his research could challenge traditional views of the role activist groups have played in LGBT history.
“Am I about to start writing a new kind of history — a history beyond the power of ordinary people?” he said. “Now, gay and lesbian stories will become less-separated and less self-contained, and will instead be seen as more integral to and connected to the broader narratives of U.S. history.”
The Stonewall Lecture is hosted annually by the College’s women and gender studies department.
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