Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.11.22
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Inside Higher Ed - Quick Takes: Challenge to Partner Benefits in Alabama
2. The Red and Black - Speaker details struggle with gender conversion
3. NBC-DFW - UNT Students Vote On Gay Homecoming Court
4. PR Newswire - EIIA Prepares Colleges to Deal with Transgender Issues on Campus
5. The Arizona Daily Star - State, university employees sue over domestic partner benefits
6. CU Independent - Transgender Day of Remembrance
7. Colorado Daily - SORCE Spot: Accepting CU-Boulder's transgender community
8. The Post-Standard - Dozens demonstrate against anti-gay evangelists at Syracuse University
9. The Daily Campus (UConn) - Never forget effects of hate: Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds community that bigotry leads to violence
10. The Michigan Daily - Controversy over gender-neutral bathroom sign reveals the subtleties of campus attitudes
11. The Daily Orange - Popular culture propels gay acceptance movement
12. The Daily Collegian (Penn State) - Locals address Atlanta college's cross-dressing policy
13. The Collegian (University of Richmond) - SASD hopes monologues inspire GLBTQ dialogue
14. The Dartmouth - College one of few Ivies with ROTC
15. The Heights (Boston College) - Faculty Out On Campus
1. Insider Higher Ed, November 16, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Quick Takes: Challenge to Partner Benefits in Alabama
A state legislator in Alabama -- with backing from Gov. Bob Riley, a fellow Republican -- is organizing support for legislation to cut off state funds to public universities that offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees, the Associated Press reported. The move follows announcements by the University of Alabama at Birmingham that it was starting domestic partner benefits October 1. The University of Alabama at Huntsville will start offering the benefits January 1. Defenders of the benefits have noted that they are key to recruiting and retaining some employees who may look elsewhere if these benefits aren't offered.
2. The Red and Black, November 16, 2009
540 Baxter Street, Athens GA, 30605
Speaker details struggle with gender conversion
By Sophie Loghman
Stephanie Dykes realized she was "different" when she was 11 years old.
"I remember going to bed at night and praying to God to let me wake up and be a girl," Dykes said.
Now, Dykes takes female hormones and has been undergoing electrolysis for beard removal for the past five years and since 2008, she has been living full-time as a woman.
Tonight, Dykes will be discussing what it means to be transgender from a personal perspective. She offers herself as an adviser and encourages questions.
Jennifer Miracle, Director of the LGBT Resource Center in the Department of Intercultural Affairs, met Dykes a year ago when she was doing another speaking engagement.
"I was immediately inspired by her passion to connect with young trans people and to do whatever she can to make the world a more educated and accepting place for the transgender community," Miracle said.
Miracle asked Dykes to come back again to speak because of her ability to relate and create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable to talk about transgender issues.
"The most meaningful thing I do with my life is to live it as an out transwoman," said Dykes. "So, that is my overall motivation for wanting to speak on transgender issues in general.
Finding work, health care and acceptance from others are some of the issues transgender people face today. Dykes was displaced in 2008 from her job at Wachovia and it took her about 10 months to get her current job. But for other transgender people, economic situations could be much worse.
"Many transwomen are forced to work as prostitutes because nothing else is available to them," said Dykes. "If you don't have any economic power, it's hard to exercise any other kind of power in our society."
Being rejected by loved ones is probably one of the hardest tasks to overcome emotionally.
"I have a 16-year-old son who I think about everyday and I live in hope that he will one day again want to have a relationship with me," Dykes said.
With all of these hardships, however, she says she does not face a lot of discrimination in her day-to-day life.
She thinks that may have to do with the fact that she "passes pretty well as a female," she said.
But as time goes on, Dykes hopes to have a place of her own, be debt free and financially secure, and to find someone who will love her just the way she is.
"In terms of future plans, I guess I am like everyone else," Dykes said.
"I want to have my happily ever after."
3. NBC-DFW, November 16, 2009
UNT Students Vote on Gay Homecoming Court
By Stacy Morrow
University of North Texas students will vote this week to decide if same-sex couples can run for homecoming court.
Couples, rather than individuals, run for homecoming court at UNT. The student Senate voted earlier in the semester to not allow gay couples to compete for homecoming court, but that decision led to protests from some students.
So the student Senate approved, with a 22-1 vote, a measure that called for a referendum on the question. Now it's up to the student body to decide.
"We're educated people; we're going to vote the way we believe this should turn out, and I'm putting faith in them to decide this and make sure that the right thing happens," said Dakota Carter, UNT's student government association president.
Carter said gay men and women have run for homecoming court in the past, just not as same-sex couples.
UNT student Nadia Brown said she's fine with seeing same-sex couples in the homecoming court.
"If an organization is comfortable with having king and king or queen and queen, then let them have it," she said. "We shouldn't have to deny someone that experience because of their sexual orientation."
Cirzy Gonzalez, another UNT student, said she prefers to stick with tradition.
"It's the fact that it's a king and a queen," she said. "A boy and a girl should run, it's not about discrimination at all."
The voting began Monday and runs through Friday on the student government's Web site: www.untsga.com.
If the students vote for the change, it would take effect next year.
4. PR Newswire, November 16, 2009
EIIA Prepares Colleges to Deal with Transgender Issues on Campus
CHICAGO, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators), a not-for-profit organization that provides extensive insurance and risk management services to member colleges and universities, is addressing on-campus transgender liability issues through its risk management consultation and resources. Initially contacted by member institutions that encountered the issue on their campuses, EIIA researched and produced a first-ever white paper addressing the issue. Titled "Transgender Individuals on Campus," EIIA intends to help higher education institutions understand the legal rights of transgenders. EIIA supports its 130 private member colleges and universities in developing policies and procedures to help them address transgender issues respectfully.
EIIA was founded for the purpose of serving Historically Black Colleges and Universities at a time when prejudice and fragile financial health placed quality insurance out of their reach. As EIIA continues to serve its members with a commitment to equity, EIIA is intimately familiar with the liability associated with not offering reasonable policies and procedures for transgender students and employees.
"With increased medical understanding and wider availability of treatment for gender variations, the social issues surrounding transgender people cannot be ignored," said John Roskopf, EIIA vice president, risk management. "Establishing supportive policies and resources that protect the transgender community is good business for several reasons including maintaining a solid reputation. Institutions will also reduce their litigation risk related to discrimination and harassment and will maintain their ability to attract the best and brightest students and employees, regardless of their gender identity."
Preparation for successfully managing transgender issues includes reviewing institution registration policies, student and employee handbooks, and training for everyone from faculty and staff to dormitory resident assistants. EIIA has identified transgender risk management best practices and offers consultation to its members to ensure they are compliant with the law and respect the rights and privacy of transgenders.
"The diverse landscape of higher education across the country is changing," says Siri Gadbois, CEO of EIIA. "At EIIA, we are dedicated to help our members address these issues with appropriate counsel and innovative risk management solutions so they can better fulfill their mission."
About Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA)
EIIA is a not-for-profit organization that provides the broadest, most extensive insurance and risk
management services available to its member institutions of higher education. With its unique history, EIIA has extensive knowledge and experience to provide its private, church-related colleges, universities and seminary members with innovative programs to meet their unique risk control and enterprise risk management needs. EIIA member institutions represent the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA and the American Baptist Churches which are located in 46 states including the District of Columbia. Visit www.eiia.org.
SOURCE EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators)
5. The Arizona Daily Star, November 19, 2009
4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714
State, university employees sue over domestic partner benefits
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX — Gay and lesbian state and university employees filed suit this week to overturn a law rescinding their domestic partner benefits.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix claims the move amounts to a violation of constitutional protections guaranteeing equal treatment of all individuals. Specifically, attorney Tara Borelli of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said denying benefits to gay workers that are available to others amounts to paying them less for the same work.
"These gay and lesbian state workers just want the same thing that workers at the next desk, in the next patrol car, get," she said.
Tracy Collins, a senior patrol officer with the Department of Public Safety and one of the 10 plaintiffs, said if the change takes effect as scheduled next Oct. 1, she will lose the benefits that now go to her partner and the children they share.
"I do the exact same job all of the other officers do for the Arizona Department of Public Safety," Collins said. She said her 10-year relationship with partner Diana Forrest proves she is in just as committed a relationship as married DPS staffers.
"I do believe that we deserve the same rights as every other officer does with a family," she said.
About 800 state and university workers now are entitled to insurance coverage and other benefits for their domestic partners. Alan Ecker, spokesman for the state Department of Administration, which administers the benefits, said he did not know how many of those are same-sex couples.
Paul Senseman, press aide to Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the legislation restricting who gets benefits, said she believes the law is constitutional.
There were no such benefits before last year, when then Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered a change in state personnel rules.
The benefits cost the state an extra $3 million a year on top of $625 million for other workers. But state officials speculated at the time the state would save money by being able to attract and retain qualified workers who want the benefits.
6. CU Independent, November 17, 2009
Armory Building, 1511 University Ave., University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309
Transgender Day of Remembrance: Community members memorialize victims of hate
By Sam Dieter
Signs placed in the snow greeted students passing through Norlin quad.
“This is [for] the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is celebrated on Nov. 20,” said 23-year-old junior studio arts major Jason Palo La Costa.
Palo La Costa, active in several student groups including the GLBT Resource Center, was among those at a table near the display, ready to explain the memorial and its purpose. Palo La Costa said the memorial will be up Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated in memory of Rita Hester, who was murdered on Nov. 28, 1998, according to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Web site.
Davian Gagne, the gender violence prevention and education coordinator at CU, said the memorial is sponsored by a number of groups at CU. These include the GLBT Resource Center, Queer Initiative, Queer People of Color, the Gender Violence Prevention Taskforce, the Chancellor’s Standing Committee on LGBT Affairs, the Transgender/Genderqueer Task Force, the Women’s Resource Center and Gather/Transform, a transgender student group at CU.
Along with the table, the exhibit included 12 signs placed along a path by Norlin quad. These signs had statistics about discrimination against the GLBT community written on them, as well as the names and pictures of people who were murdered because they were transgender.
Maria Genao-Homs, a CU alumna and outreach coordinator at the GLBT Resource Center, explained the presence of the signs.
“We pulled about 12 names and these are some of the more well-known cases,” Genao-Homs said. “We wanted to start off with names of people that are more well-remembered.”
Among the names were those of Angie Zapata, a transgender woman who was murdered in Greeley in 2008 and whose alleged killer went on trial earlier this year.
Those working at the memorial said they were also concerned with the status of transgender individuals on CU’s campus.
Gagne said that although the campus had protections for “sexual orientation,” CU “[does] not have gender-identity as a protective class.” This could change soon.
“The regents are looking at including gender identity in one of their protective classes and they’re voting on that in February,” Gagne said.
Gagne said message of the Transgender Day of Remembrance goes beyond gender.
“[The purpose] is just to connect, not only is it like a tragic murder but not only are they transgender, but they’re also daughters and mothers, family members…They’re people,” Gagne said.
Contact CU Independent News Editor Sam Dieter at Samuel.email@example.com.
7. Colorado Daily, November 17, 2009
1048 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302
SORCE Spot: Accepting CU-Boulder's transgender community
By Jason C. Palo La Costa
As a queer-person-of-color-identified student at the University of Colorado, I have a good idea of what it means to be on the fringe of society and all the hardships that go along with it.
But when you add not conforming to heteronormative ideals of gender identity and gender expression as it relates to the transgender community, those hardships are only made worse and more numerous.
From an outsider's perspective, the current climate for the trans community at CU is difficult to grasp. One comment that many would probably agree on that I've heard is that acceptance of the trans community is not yet at an acceptable level.
It is hard to know how many trans-identified persons there are on this campus because the personal safety, social and professional implications of being trans make it a difficult identity to freely express.
Tensions on campus are caused by conditions such as:
1.) The small number of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, which negatively impacts health and a person's sense of acceptance and safety.
2.) The disconnect between the generations and even FTFs and MTMs in their own community: their issues, goals, opinions, rhetoric, etc., which causes in-group struggle and conflicts.
3.) The absence of gender identity and gender expression as a protected minority status in CU policy, which makes dealing with the aftermath of hate crimes difficult.
4.) A lack of education and support from staff and faculty of the university, especially those in health care and administrative positions.
5.) A general negative opinion or naiveté of trans persons and fluidity of gender expression within the GLBTQIA community.
Because of the above conditions and more, the experiences of an individual who is trans identified can be very trying. Even if a person were to choose not to deal with any of the issues that come along with being openly trans, a sense of being isolated can occur.
This is not to say that there is not hope or persons who do care about trans issues on campus. Through Wednesday, there will be installation on the Norlin Quad to commemorate Trans Day of Remembrance, which is held nationally every Nov. 20. There also will be a trans symposium in March.
On the Spectrum Hall in Hallet Hall, gender-neutral bathrooms were completed last spring, after much lobbying and struggle with administrators by students, staff and faculty.
The new Center for Community building currently under construction will have a gender-neutral bathroom. Entities such as the GLBT Resource Center, the Women's Resource Center, the Transgender Genderqueer Task Force and others do make efforts to educate and change the campus climate for the better.
I am optimistic for the future, but in the meantime, I do hear stories from individuals of hate crimes, health concerns, social struggles, of falling through administrative cracks and over all the unnecessary stress caused by the ignorance and unwillingness of others to educate themselves and open up to the fact that we're all humans doing the best we can with what we have been given in life.
Jason C. Palo La Costa is a first-generation, multiracial, gay-identified, homeless junior studying architecture at the University of Colorado.
8. The Post-Standard, November 19, 2009
Syracuse Online, LLC., 5795 Widewaters Parkway, Syracuse, NY, 13214
Dozens demonstrate against anti-gay evangelists at Syracuse University
By Charles McChesney
Syracuse, NY -- Michelle Deferio and Christopher Pesto had one thing in common Wednesday night, they were shivering in the cold. They’d been standing on the sidewalk near Syracuse University’s Schine Center for hours, one holding a sign calling homosexuality a sin, the other demonstrating against the sign.
Deferio, 27, of Syracuse, stood with her father, open-air evangelist Jim Deferio, as dozens of university students held handmade signs and passing motorists honked their horns in support of the pro-gay demonstration.
“Honk if you’re gay,” read one sign. “Yay for gay,” said another. “Christ for queens,” said another.
As traffic lights changed at the intersection of Waverly and University avenues, horns blared met by a chorus of cheers from students who had gathered in front of the Deferios and on the corners across the street.
Uniformed police officers stood nearby, keeping an eye on the crowd.
Pesto, a junior from Westchester County, said he saw the Deferios’ signs earlier in the day. It made him uncomfortable, he said, so he made his own sign. “Corduroy skirts are a sin,” it said, referring to what Michelle Deferio was wearing.
“I was just making a gay joke,” he said. But friends saw him and joined in, standing with him and making signs of their own.
Other students came and, by 6:30, there were about 70 people at the scene, holding signs, cheering and challenging the Deferios.
“I never expected this,” Pesto said.
“There’s a very gay-accepting community at the university,” Pesto said.
Some students asked questions about theology and why the Deferios singled out homosexuality for their signs. Others mocked the pair, shouted obscenities, and tried to drown out the elder Deferio.
Asked why she was there, Michelle Deferio said she was brought by her faith in Christ and Christ’s ability to change people.
“Thousands of ex-homosexuals have experienced the life-changing love of Jesus Christ,” said Jim Deferio’s sign. He called the day at SU a “seeding and weeding ministry.” The goal, he said, was to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of those who believe homosexuality is acceptable and to weed out what he called “false doctrines.”
Around 7 p.m., the Deferios, both cold, rolled up their signs and headed for their car. Their ministry, they said, was supposed to last three hours. But so many students showed up, they decided to stay even after the sun and the temperature had gone down.
“We love you,” a group of laughing students called as the Deferios walked the half-block to their car.
9. The Daily Campus (UConn), November 20, 2009
11 Dog Lane, Storrs, CT 06268
Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds community that bigotry leads to violence
Today marks the Transgender Day of Awareness, a the day when the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and allied community honor those who were killed because of prejudice.
The deaths of those based on hate towards transgender are largely ignored. In the past decade, more than one person per month has died due to hate or prejudice toward transgendered people.
"I feel that transgenders have been marginalized in not only the heterosexual community, but also within the queer community," said 7th-semester anthropology major Daniel Lupacchino. "This leads to misunderstanding and misconceptions that perpetuate stereotypes which leads to discrimination and violence."
"Transgender individuals are only recently being recognized as group that deserves respect and reverence as well as social and political support. It is only the beginning of this movement as the queer and heterosexual community begins to open their minds to individuality and seeing support for everyone."
Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people. It honors and memorializes the lives of men and women who might otherwise be forgotten. Traditionally, there is a candlelight vigil where love and respect are expressed for the people facing national indifference and hate. It also gives allies a chance to step forward and memorialize those who have died by anti-transgender violence.
Transgender is defined as anyone who is transsexual, crossdressing or otherwise gender-variant. They may identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual or asexual. No one present at the Transgender Day of Remembrance identified themselves as transgender.
"Transgender Day of Remembrance is important because it shows how hate, bigotry and prejudice lead to violence ... It's not only that people have a problem or disagree, but also feel justified to kill or harm. Identifying as a different gender that does not fit the traditional binary definition of gender, is a recognition of the full spectrum and fluidity of gender identity and expression," said Fleurette King, director of the Rainbow Center. "It's important that transphobia and genderphobia are addressed through education and self- examination of gender identity and expression socialization."
The Transgender Day of Awareness was created in response to the murder of Rita Hester, a popular and outgoing transwoman. She was brutally stabbed at least 20 times in the chest in her Boston apartment by an unknown assailant in November 1998. The motive for the attack remains a mystery.
It is believed in the trans -community that Hester's was a hate crime. This is due to the evidence of the brutal assault, and the fact that the murderer did not appear to have stolen anything from her apartment. Her death prompted community members to organize a candlelight vigil and march that December. Activists in San Francisco created the Transgender Day of Remembrance event in 1999 in Hester's memory.
As of Novemeber 11, there has been a total of 301 reported deaths in America due to hate or prejudice towards transgenders in the last 30 years. To fight this, 13 states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws that include gender identity.
10. The Michigan Daily, November 18, 2009
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Controversy over gender-neutral bathroom sign reveals the subtleties of campus attitudes
By Olivia Carrino
A recent change in the sign outside of a gender-neutral bathroom on the third floor of the Michigan Union has caused a bit of a public relations headache for the building’s administrators.
Members of the Michigan Student Assembly's LGBT Commission were not happy with the sign change — which replaced a gender neutral bathroom sign featuring a male and a female figure with a family bathroom sign — saying they felt the University failed to notice the need to have a gender-neutral bathroom.
After urging from the Spectrum Center, the family bathroom sign was removed and is set to be replaced by a new bathroom sign that will feature one figure; half male, half female.
LSA junior Christopher Armstrong, co-chair of the LGBT Commission, said he was disappointed with the new family bathroom sign.
“I think that we were just frustrated to see it be labeled as a family restroom, because it sort of made it seem like the building had just forgotten the purpose of why that was to be a gender-neutral bathroom,” he said.
Armstrong explained the purpose of gender-neutral bathrooms is to create “a more inclusive space for a trans individual.”
He said the LGBT Commission is trying to increase transgender awareness by posting signs on unisex bathrooms around campus.
“People don’t recognize what they are and what the purpose of them is, so having that sign there promotes awareness of what gender-neutral bathrooms are, why they might be important to certain people on campus,” he said.
The LGBT Commission would like to see the family bathroom sign changed back to a permanent gender-neutral sign.
“The bathroom is set up as a gender-neutral bathroom,” Armstrong said. “We are just a little hesitant of the fact that the building hasn’t changed the sign quite yet.”
The Spectrum Center, which provides “education, advocacy, and support on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, particularly as it affects graduate and undergraduate students,” also noticed the change in the bathroom’s signage.
However, Jacqueline Simpson, director of the Spectrum Center, said she believes the change was merely “an administrative glitch.”
“The Union facilities have always been supportive and are a 110 percent supportive,” she said. “I just really want to make it clear that never was the administration trying to not have a gender-neutral bathroom.”
Susan Pile, director of the Michigan Union and University Unions Arts & Programs, explained how installing the family bathroom sign was simply a mistake during the process of updating all of the Union’s signage.
“The wrong sign went up outside that bathroom. There was never any intent to change the title of that space,” she said. “Since then we had a temporary sign over it that keeps disappearing … finally, what we have done is bolted down the temporary sign.”
Pile said a new, permanent sign has been ordered for the bathroom and should arrive sometime in early December.
Simpson said that the Union facilities got feedback from the Spectrum Center in regards to what the most appropriate sign should be for the gender-neutral bathroom.
According to Simpson, the Spectrum Center chose a sign that said “gender neutral” and has a figure that represents gender neutrality.
“It’s just one stick figure and when it comes down sort of half of the body looks like a skirt and then half of the body looks like it’s a pair of pants,” explained Simpson.
Simpson said the sign is one of many possible ways to properly represent a gender-neutral bathroom.
“There are lots of different ways that a particular identity could be represented,” she said. “This is one way and so we chose that way.”
However, Armstrong said the LGBT Commission does not necessarily support the symbolism of the new sign.
“The sign was a little bit offensive just because it had one person that was half female half male,” he said. “And that was just a little bit insensitive we felt.”
11. The Daily Orange, November 16, 2009
744 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210 USA
Popular culture propels gay acceptance movement
By Stacie Foster
Throughout the last 10 years, gay tolerance has climbed its way into society's heart. Spearheaded by the entertainment industry, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are more accepted than ever before.
With an LGBT learning community on the sixth floor of Haven Hall and an LGBT resource center on Ostrom Avenue, Syracuse University provides different outlets for people to feel comfortable and get information about the movement.
Professors are also noting growing gay tolerance and how popular culture has encouraged it. In Gael Sweeney's WRT 205 class, the main focus is on the topic "Questioning Gender." The class analyzes homosexuality in popular culture through television shows like "Queer as Folk" and the American classic '90s sitcom "Seinfeld."
Gay characters are being represented in films and on television in roles that cast a more serious outlook toward sexual orientation than the typical "gay shopping buddy" or "butch lesbian" stereotypes that were once the norm representations of homosexuals in films.
"Milk," starring Sean Penn and James Franco, was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn). Just three years before "Milk," "Brokeback Mountain" won three Oscars itself.
But it wasn't an easy road for "Brokeback Mountain" distributors. A theater in a Salt Lake City suburb famously refused to show the movie on opening night, generating quite a bit of controversy from LGBT alliance members. The problems didn't end there. In a live broadcast, "Today Show" movie critic Gene Shalit called Jake Gyllenhal's gay character a "sexual predator," which was not taken lightly by GLAAD, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Shalit later apologized and the issue was smoothed over, but the turbulence the film experienced because of its homosexual plot proves what a success the media's acceptance of "Milk" has been.
The music industry is also seeing more gay artists become advocators of sexual tolerance.
Gay musician Adam Lambert didn't publicly come out until after his stint on "American Idol," but when he did tell Rolling Stone Magazine that he was gay in June 2009, he did so with pride and bravery. Lambert wasn't met with colossal criticism or harsh words. Instead he was met with support from celebrities like Perez Hilton and Elton John.
No matter what, it's great to see celebrities, gay or straight, stand up for what they believe in. Because the entertainment industry is so closely watched by the media, it's one of the largest stages for activism.
For example, countless straight celebrities lent their support to the fight against California's Proposition 8 in November 2008. Even though the legislation, which stated that same-sex marriage in California was no longer recognized, did pass, the debate surrounding its merit brought the gay marriage issue closer to the forefront than it ever has been before.
Stacie Foster is a sophomore magazine journalism major and the pop culture columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. The Daily Collegian (Penn State), November 16, 2009
123 S. Burrowes St., University Park, Pa. 16801-3882
Locals address Atlanta college's cross-dressing policy
By Owen Rogers
A small private college made an amendment to its dress code last month, effectively banning cross-dressing and drawing attention nationally.
Morehouse College, located in Atlanta, Ga., is an all-male institution, as well as a historically black college and university (HBCU). In October the college's "Appropriate Attire Policy" banned "clothing associated with women's garb" and also has provisions against attire such as hats in certain areas of campus and the height of pants worn on campus, according to the college's press release.
The policy, which came about in response to the lifestyles of five males on campus, has received attention locally as well as nationally. Blogs and Web sites helped bring attention to the policy on the national stage, with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities on college campuses vocalizing their opinions.
"Gay isn't a lifestyle, it's just who you are," Alex Yates, the co-president of Penn State's LGBTQA Student Alliance, said. "Any motivation behind [the policy] is going to be because students identified as LGBT."
Morehouse College President Robert Franklin, in response to attention from the policy, issued a press release saying he has been trying to create a "community ... with a strong commitment to social justice, diversity and respectful tolerance."
"The Appropriate Attire Policy communicates standards of dress and behavior that reflect the Renaissance Man at Morehouse," the statement reads, "but also challenges students to discuss the balance between individual expression and social responsibility."
William Bynum, Morehouse vice president for student affairs, referred all comment to the press release.
Penn State's Rainbow Roundtable President Steve Lucas first heard about the incident after reading a blog during the week the policy was enacted. Lucas said the policy will have the "most impact within HBCUs." The policy forces Morehouse's gay students to figure out how race relates in context to their sexual orientation, he said.
President of Penn State's Black Caucus Christopher Nock agrees with the complicated implications surrounding the policy.
"I respect the unique issues and concerns that affect the Morehouse administration, but I cannot help to find the new policies to be somewhat troubling," Nock (junior-public relations) said.
These are "homophobic polices, but are not reflective of HBCUs," Lucas said. In addition to becoming an example for representing the infringement of LGBT rights, the change in the dress code has caused issues of race and student expression to be called into question, Lucas said.
Private institutions have more influence on what can be enforced on campus, unlike Penn State, a public university, which by comparison has relatively little ability to enforce a dress code, he said.
"Private universities have a little more latitude in deciding what is right or wrong," Lucas said.
Despite initial intentions, the policy has created tension and concern.
"Expressing yourself is important, it's something you expect to be able to do in college," Lianna Newman (senior-media studies), president of Penn State's Undertones -- an LGBT group for minority students -- said.
Yates echoed those sentiments, saying he would "love the students to be accepted, but should at least be tolerated."
13. The Collegian (University of Richmond), November 16, 2009
North Court Basement, Room B1, 40 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, VA 23173
SASD hopes monologues inspire GLBTQ dialogue
By Stephen O’Hara
Students came together to break the silence on GLBTQ issues at the University of Richmond by recounting true stories of students, faculty and alumni who questioned their sexuality or lived as members of the GLBTQ community during the Live Homosexual Acts at the Pier Sunday night.
Sophomore Jon Henry, president of the Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity (SASD), told the 100 people in attendance that he hoped the collection of stories and monologues would help promote more discussion about GLBTQ — Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning — issues on campus.
The performance opened with a reading of the “Letter from the Closet,” an anonymous letter submitted to The Collegian in January 2009 by a member of the GLBTQ community who had not yet come out.
Henry said the letter and its author had prompted discussion about GLBTQ issues, and that the Live Homosexual Acts intended to further that dialogue.
“Tonight we gather to acknowledge the power of communication,” Henry said. “We hope to break the silence like this brave individual.”
Richmond students, faculty, staff and alumni of different sexual identities submitted the stories, which were performed by a group of 16 students. The events in the stories occurred either during their time at the university or some time after.
“We wanted to capture all the voices of our community, no matter how queer, rich, white, black, Asian, ethnic, athletic, Greek, poor, etc.,” Henry said.
In one story, a performer portrayed a 41-year-old married husband and father who realized he was gay and founded an organization to support gay men with children from heterosexual marriages.
“Often, guys like me, when they start to realize they really are gay and have no one to turn to, think they are the only one and are terrified of losing their children,” the performer said. “In many cases they are torn because they really do love their wives.”
In another story, a different performer portrayed a 13-year-old boy who came out to his mother, causing their relationship to deteriorate. But the boy said he had become a better person because of his coming out.
“I have gone through so much already, so I believe I can handle anything,” the performer said. “The world is a stage, and when I stepped out onto the stage I felt that all eyes were on me, and I must say I loved the feeling.
“I embraced all the stares from the audience and became the self-assured, confident person I am today.”
The performers presented approximately 20 different monologues.
Henry said that the idea for the show was adapted from a similar event at the University of Virginia. That event featured stories from people all across Virginia, but Henry said SASD wanted to bring the event closer to home and feature stories from just the university community. He said the group had been collecting stories anonymously online for the last two semesters.
A group of 16 students dressed in black performed the monologues. The stage was bare except for chairs for the performers and two podiums for the speakers. Behind the performers, a rainbow flag was taped to the wall.
The company of students included just a few SASD members, allowing other interested students the opportunity to perform and support SASD and the GLBTQ community. Henry said tryouts had been held earlier during the week, and the entire company had had just two rehearsals before the performance. Sunday night’s show was the performers’ first full run.
Henry said he was excited that the event brought in such a large crowd that enjoyed the performance.
“That was pretty shocking for something extremely low-budget, done for the first time with no name behind it,” Henry said. “I’m still sort of processing, but everyone seems to be having a fun time.”
Among those in the audience was sophomore Travis Henschen, who said he attended because he had friends in the group and wanted to support them, and also because he wanted to hear all of the stories.
Some alumni also returned to watch the performance. Carlos Siekavizza-Robles, Richmond College ‘08, came back to support the group and said he was impressed with the performance and with SASD’s role in prompting more discussion about GLBTQ issues on campus.
“They’re reaching beyond normal queer-supportive people,” Siekavizza-Robles said. “They’re doing what needs to done, finally reaching the community. It is beautiful, and I’m proud of them.”
In the future, Henry said SASD hoped to perform annually if it received new stories from the campus community.
In the meantime, Henry ended the performance by asking the audience to remember the stories as well as their authors.
“These were the voices of your peers, your teachers, your friends, your cleaners, your food [preparation] staff and maybe even you,” Henry said. “These stories embody the struggle in all society, in all people and from every voice.
“We all want to live, be happy, be loved, be heard and be felt.”
Contact staff writer Stephen O’Hara at email@example.com
14. The Dartmouth, November 19, 2009
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755
College one of few Ivies with ROTC
By Madeline Sims
As the nation waits to see whether President Barack Obama will follow through on his campaign promise to eliminate the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Dartmouth remains one of four Ivy League institutions to permit the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to train students on campus. The Army ROTC, which has had a tumultuous history at the College, has survived despite accusations that the program is discriminatory.
The College gives the ROTC program a $10,000 annual training budget and a place to meet, according to Maj. Lawrence Forsyth, assistant professor of military science for Army ROTC at Dartmouth. Dartmouth’s chapter is a satellite of the program at Norwich University, meaning the faculty who train students commute from Northfield, Vt.
Twelve students are currently enrolled in the ROTC program at Dartmouth. Of these participants, seven have signed on for an eight-year military commitment after graduation. Contracted students receive scholarships from the government for four years of tuition, a book stipend and an additional $300 to $500 per month.
Despite the controversy surrounding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Forsyth said he has not heard of any plans to eliminate the ROTC program at Dartmouth in the near future.
Many students said that the program’s small size makes it flexible and keeps it from interfering with their overall “Dartmouth experience.”
“Being part of ROTC hasn’t hindered me at all,” Philip Aubart ’10, a commissioned ROTC member, said.
Aubart is a former staff columnist for The Dartmouth.
He explained that he has taken a full course load each term, along with an on-campus job. Additionally, Aubart took an off-term in Cairo, participated in a foreign study program and remained on campus for sophomore summer.
“I definitely still got the full Dartmouth experience,” Aubart said.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
At Dartmouth, tension surrounding the military’s ban on gay service members emerged in the early 1990s when various campus groups issued public statements asserting that ROTC’s existence on campus was incompatible with the College’s commitment to equality and diversity.
In September 1991, the Board of Trustees issued an official statement promising to end the ROTC program by April 1993, unless the military reversed its policy. When the deadline arrived, however, the Board extended its ultimatum with the hope that then-President Bill Clinton would soon lift the ban. Clinton had promised to reverse the policy as part of his presidential campaign.
Clinton signed into law the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on Nov. 30, 1993. The policy — a compromise that stands today — permits LGBT individuals to serve in the military as long as they do not reveal their sexuality. The government has claimed that open homosexuality in the military would compromise unit morale.
The College’s Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns issued a statement in March 1994 argued that the new policy was discriminatory, violated individuals’ right to free speech and conflicted with Dartmouth’s mission. The coalition urged the College to eliminate ROTC on campus.
Despite this plea, the Board voted to continue the program on April 17, 1994. The Board added, however, that the College should make concerted efforts to challenge the military’s discriminatory policy at the federal level.
Then-College President James Freedman and much of the faculty attacked the Board’s decision. Angry community members issued a paper against the decision titled “Fight Back!”
The paper urged the Board to reverse its decision and submit legal briefs urging the government to revise the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
A decade later, ROTC participants and Dartmouth administrators, including then-President James Wright and Dean of the College James Larimore, began lobbying for full tuition scholarships for Dartmouth ROTC cadets. After a year-long effort, the U.S. Army announced in May 2006 that it would pay full tuition. Dartmouth participants previously received $10,000-$15,000 less in scholarship money than their peers at other universities.
Not everyone on campus, though, voiced support for ROTC. In November 2005, the College’s Gay Straight Alliance issued a statement opposing ROTC’s presence on campus due to previously expressed concerns about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“The administration puts Dartmouth’s pluralistic community in jeopardy with continued sponsorship of the ROTC program,” the statement said.
Not wishing to disadvantage students receiving ROTC scholarships, though, GSA urged the College to allow students to continue receiving scholarship money, but asked the College to require students to train at off-campus facilities.
ROTC in the Ivy League
While Dartmouth does not require cadets to train off-campus, the policy is common at many of the College’s peer institutions.
Harvard University, Yale University, Brown University and Columbia University, which all eliminated on-campus ROTC programs during the anti-war protests of the 1960s, currently require students to travel to nearby campuses to pursue military training.
Princeton University, like Dartmouth, has an on-campus Army ROTC program, while the University of Pennsylvania hosts the Navy ROTC. Cornell University sponsors Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC programs on its campus.
Harvard President Drew Faust told The New York Times this fall that she cannot support a group that is closed to a segment of the student population and that the military’s policy contradicts Harvard’s anti-discriminatory stance.
ROTC supporters, however, argue that Harvard’s policy is contradictory, citing the university’s willingness to host other military-oriented programs.
“The way to resolve these inconsistencies is to permit gays and lesbians to serve in the military,” Foust told The Times.
Forsyth said he wishes more Ivy League institutions followed Dartmouth’s example by allowing ROTC programs on campus. “You have smart folks in the Ivy League, and in trying to build an organization that’s strong and well-rounded, pulling people from the Ivy League would definitely help you do that,” he said.
Aaron Cappelli ’12, a commissioned member of Dartmouth’s ROTC program, said that it is unfortunate that the long distances cadets have to travel for training may discourage people at other institutions from joining.
“Having to go off campus to participate would be discouraging,” he said. “I think the idea of choice and people at least having the option is important.”
Lt. Col. Steven Alexander, professor of military science and leadership at Cornell, said he would like for more Ivy League institutions to allow ROTC back on their campuses, but that the program “does not want to be part of campuses that cannot be accommodating.”
“It needs to be a symbiotic relationship, and if that doesn’t exist, then we’ll look elsewhere,” he said.
Military classes are given for academic credit at Cornell, Alexander said.
At Princeton, however, administrators will not consider offering academic credit for ROTC participation because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, according to Col. John Stark, professor of military science at the university.
“As long as this policy is in place, they will not even discuss the possibility of accreditation,” Stark said. “Last year, I sought to achieve academic credit, but now I am going with the status quo until the national policy has been changed.”
Dartmouth does not offer academic credit for ROTC courses, Forsyth said.
Current Campus Stance
Pam Misener, the adviser to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students at Dartmouth, said that balancing respect for various life experiences is important in thinking about the College’s ROTC policy.
“As gay students, if we want people to be respectful of our experiences, we want to also be respectful of people who want to pursue military training and eventually a military lifestyle,” she said.
While the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is “absolutely discriminatory,” having a “very limited” ROTC presence would be an acceptable compromise, Misener said.
While most Gender, Sexuality, XYZ members would say that the military’s policy is unfair, fighting to get ROTC off campus has not been a priority in recent years, Misener said.
“Every couple of years, someone comes forward and asks why ROTC is allowed to be on campus,” she said. “It’s an issue that’s always present, but I think students have chosen to focus on other things we can put our energy into rather than continuing to beat our head against the wall with this issue.”
Roland Adams, Dartmouth’s director of media relations, said that the College is committed to supporting equal opportunities for students, regardless of sexual orientation.
“It is our understanding that the Obama administration is seeking reconsideration of the military’s current policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Adams said in an interview with The Dartmouth. “We would welcome such reconsideration and will continue to monitor developments along these lines closely.”
Early ROTC History
The ROTC program provided Dartmouth students with scholarships and academic credit for participation through the 1960s.
As anti-Vietnam War protests escalated in 1969, however, approximately 80 students led by members of Students for a Democratic Society staged a sit-in in Parkhurst Hall to protest ROTC’s presence on campus. Most of the protesters were arrested at the May 6 all-night sit-in.
That same month, Dartmouth’s Committee on Organization and Policy established a study group to determine whether ROTC was compatible with “the educational objectives of the College.”
An ad hoc subcommittee issued a report that found that ROTC was “not incompatible” with the purposes of a liberal education. It questioned, though, “the establishment of military units as academic departments.”
A motion to eliminate ROTC on campus “as soon as possible” failed in a faculty vote. Instead, the faculty approved a three-year plan to phase out course credit for ROTC and a termination of ROTC on campus by June 1973.
Former College President David McLaughlin allowed ROTC to return to campus beginning in 1981, although almost 500 students signed petitions against ROTC’s return.
The original version of this article incorrectly spelled the name of Harvard University President Drew Faust.
15. The Heights (Boston College), November 19, 2009
Boston College, McElroy 113, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467
Faculty Out On Campus
By Matthew DeLuca
Editor’s Note: This is the second part in a three part series exploring the issue of homophobia on campus.
Boston College faculty and staff who self-identify as GLBTQ said that, for the most part, they have encountered a comfortable environment on campus. However, they said, there athe campus more welcoming.
“I feel like there are two kinds of homophobia. The first is the direct kind of impersonal homophobia,” said Colleen Olphert, membership director of the Center for Corporate Citizenship. “That’s a type I really haven’t experienced at BC.” Another form of homophobia is institutional, she said, and has to do with establishing a welcoming environment for faculty who identify as GLBTQ. “This kind of institutional homophobia doesn’t allow for the same sort of benefits and rights,” said Olphert, who has a partner with whom she has raised two children. “At BC, there are a lot of people who are very accepting. My own department, we had a little wedding ceremony for me. They ask me about my kids, they ask me about my family.”
John McDargh, professor of theology, said that he feels comfortable on campus mentioning his partner and the son they have raised together. “Your straight professors come out to you all the time as straight, when one says, ‘My wife and I went out to see the best movie.’ A lot of people don’t realize how often in the course of a day you come out as a straight person so casually you don’t even think about it,” he said. “I just teach out of my experience where that is appropriate, and sometimes across the classroom you can see the gay or lesbian kid, or the kid who has a favorite gay uncle, and you see a spot of recognition. If I talk about my life, I don’t change pronouns or shy from the fact that my partner and I are raising a son.”
McDargh is a member of the faculty GLBTQ advocacy group, the Lesbian Gay Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association (LGFSAA). He said that he thinks that it is important for GLBTQ faculty and staff to be out on campus, to provide support for themselves as well as for students. It is also important for the GLBTQ community to have allies who do not identify as GLBTQ, he said. “The LGFSAA is not just self-identified gay and lesbian people,” McDargh said.
Ricco Siasoco, a professor in the English department, said that homophobia on campus is not necessarily a matter of people “fearing” homosexuals. “It is taken out of the context of your values, and the reality, and more what people see – the individual,” he said. “Sometimes for a person who is gay, who self-identifies as gay or lesbian, we have come to terms with that, but the person who sees us, we also internalize their feelings. So even though I don’t wear on my sleeve that I’m gay, you wouldn’t know it unless I disclosed it to you.”
The experience of a homophobic attitude may be different for faculty than it is for students, Siasoco said. “I think it is different for me than for some students because for faculty and administrators and staff if someone is gay, because it is like you have come out and you’ve probably come to a place in your life where you’ve been out for a couple of years,” he said. “For students, it is the decision of their lives. For us, it is one part of our life.”
Siasoco’s attitude about being out on campus has changed over the nine years he has spent here, he said. “When I first started teaching at BC nine years ago, I think I said, ‘OK, this is my life, I’m going to keep it out of the classroom and off the campus,’” he said. “Then I made a point to come out more frequently, to be very visible, to be on panels, to not just talk about my dog, which I did for the first couple of years, as my teaching persona, but to talk about my partner.”
Kevin Ohi, professor in the English department, said that the effects of homophobia are broad and touch on the core identity and mission of a university. “I think that there is something stultifying about homophobia, and that is that one of the things that I think is destructive about homophobia is that it means that there is one kind of question that you can ask about sex, which is, ‘Are you gay, or are you straight?’ These are not fundamentally interesting questions.” Apart from this effect, Ohi said, non-GLBTQ students should be interested in homophobia on campus if only out of concern for the well-being of their fellow students. “It’s not good to be on a campus where you’re making people uncomfortable or hurting people, and doing that unconsciously is no better than doing it consciously,” he said.
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