Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.12.06
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. ESPN.com - 'We love you, this won't change a thing'
2. KTUU.com - Gay rights group asks U of Alaska to update policy
3. The Hawk - Out on Campus: Gay students speak openly about their experiences coming out and being out at St. Joe's
4. The Badger Herald - LGBT listening session brings new ideas
5. The Dallas Voice - SMU Student Senate rejects bid for LGBT senator
6. Indiana Statesman - Students discuss history of LGBT rights, marriage at panel event
7. Purdue Exponent - Purdue needs truer grasp of transgender issues
8. The Spectrum - SUU Trustees unanimously approve protection of sexual orientation in student policy
9. The Daily Targum - NJ favors gay marriage by slim margin
10. SMU Daily Campus - Student activist lobbies for LGBT voice in senate
11. The Maneater - Allies In Action elects new executive board
12. The University Daily Kansan - Student groups hold event for World AIDS Day
13. Kent News - New LGBT center will open in old office space
14. The Georgetown Voice - Uncertain future for Catholic Charities after gay marriage bill
15. Indiana Daily Student - Group provides support for GLBT
16. NJ.com - Students join rally for gay marriage rights
17. New York Post - Dorms go coed at Columbia
1. ESPN.com, December 2, 2009
ESPN Plaza, Bristol, CT 06010
'We love you, this won't change a thing'
By John Buccigross
Well before you are born, your dad plays college hockey at Providence College and wears the "C" for Friars coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello. Your dad is then a member of the Calder Cup-winning Maine Mariners AHL team. He admits to having little skill, but contributes rough and tough qualities. You know, like pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. He's a man, baby.
Dad is also driven. And smart. He quickly retires from pro hockey. He knows he will make the NHL only with his brain and mental brawn. He earns a law degree from Harvard in 1981, then practices law in Boston for the next six years, representing professional hockey players before joining the Vancouver Canucks in 1987 as vice president and director of hockey operations. He has made the NHL. You are born a year later in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 1988.
Dad is GM of the Hartford Whalers for a season as a 37-year-old before joining the NHL front office as senior vice president and director of hockey operations under commissioner Gary Bettman in September 1993, staying until 1998. Dad and Mom divorce in 1995, and, as a 9-year old, you move to Boston with Mom in 1997.
Dad then begins a six-year stint on the other side of the continent as president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. Meanwhile, you play hockey while growing up in the Boston area, and you are a goalie. You love Dominik Hasek and still believe he is the best of all time. Dad tries to see you play whenever he can. Goalie is a comfortable position for you on the ice, looking out and hiding behind a mask.
You eventually attend Xaverian Brothers High School, a prep school in Westwood, Mass., and make the competitive varsity hockey team as a senior, but choose not to play. You say it is because you don't think you would get enough playing time and you are upset at the coach. But you actually don't play because you don't think you can go another season without someone finding out your secret.
Your hockey career is over.
You go on to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after your guidance counselor recommends the school. Miami is well known for being academically challenging and having one of the more visually idyllic campuses in the country. It doesn't disappoint. The brick buildings and brand-new hockey rink make the small town feel like what college should feel like. Like an old Hollywood movie set. Ohio is a friendly place with warm people who smile a lot and like to get together in groups and laugh. You fit right in. You've made a great decision.
You especially enjoy the Miami hockey program constructed by coach Enrico Blasi. You are involved as a student manager. Blasi demands his program and its culture be grounded in family. He calls it the Miami hockey brotherhood. The mission is to be the best one can be every day with a vision to become a champion in everything one does, on and off the ice. Miami's focus is on three things: relationships, daily behaviors and accountability. You watch and break down the pre-scout videos. You also keep most of the goalie statistics and prepare all the best clips for highlight videos.
While you're at Miami, Dad is now in Southern California as executive vice president and general manager for Anaheim and the Ducks win it all in 2007. You drink out of the Stanley Cup with Pops in the Anaheim dressing room. You love your father, you're proud of him, but you are hiding something from him that you will soon hide no more.
In 2008, Dad is chosen as general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic hockey team and named a recipient of the 2008 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. His résumé is relentless. Today, Dad runs the most profitable NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and is, without question, one of hockey's more magnetic and interesting characters along with Don Cherry and Alex Ovechkin. Dad televises well.
So, imagine, this is your father. You? Probably destined to be "Burkie's boy" in Canada even if you resurrected George Harrison and John Lennon and reunited The Beatles. Imagine.
"Brendan is an incredible kid. He and I are incredibly close, even for brothers. In most families, the older brother overshadows the younger brother, but not ours. We went to the same high school and people there still refer to me as "Brendan's brother."
He's exceptionally smart, funny, motivated, successful and happy. He has an incredible way with people.
There's a genuine kindness about him that really resonates with people. It's a gift I'm very jealous of." -- Patrick Burke, Brendan's brother, now a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers
Your dad thinks through everything. Dad is big, confident and continuously radiates a persona that is rough, gruff, unrelenting and unapologetic. He has a cold, expressionless poker face straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie. Yet, he does this all with the most subtle of Irish smirks that says there is more behind this thick skin. And there is. He calls you "Moose" because you have always been a big kid. He cares very deeply about you and your happiness. You say he has always been there when you needed him. And he has a great sense of humor. Imagine that.
But on this night in 2007, you are petrified of your dad. Because you, Brendan Burke, at 19 years old, are about to tell your dad, Mr. Testosterone, that you are gay.
It is Dec. 30, 2007, and you are in Vancouver with Dad for the holidays to break the news. His new family lives in Vancouver, and his Ducks are in town. You go to the Canucks-Ducks game, and, obviously, Dad is pretty emphatic about wanting to beat Vancouver, his former employer. You root like hell for the Ducks to win so he is in a good mood. But the Ducks lose 2-1. Of course, Daniel Sedin scores a goal against Anaheim, and his brother Henrik adds two assists to help beat Dad, the man who traded for the twins' draft rights in 1999 while he was running the Canucks.
You almost don't tell your dad and stepmom as a result of the loss. But you are flying back to Boston the next morning and you want to tell them in person. You feel as if you are going to throw up as you pace the hallways of their condominium. Just as your stepmom is about to go to bed, your younger sister, Molly, grabs you by the wrist and directs you where to go and gives you a look that says, "You can do it. Get it done now. I'm here for you."
Just a week before, your older sister, Katie, is the first family member you tell. You had targeted telling your family at Thanksgiving but got salmonella and spent the entire week in the hospital. So you push back your announcement to Christmas.
You are driving home from a family event in Marlboro, Mass., when you decide you want to say it during the car ride. Finally, after a 45-minute ride, you pass the city limits sign of Boston and you know you have to tell Katie. It is incredibly difficult, but your sister is very supportive. Of course she is, you tell yourself, she's Katie. That same night, you tell Molly and your mom. Everyone is great. Mom tells you she isn't surprised and had expected it from the time you were a little kid. Moms.
You tell your brother, Patrick, a day or two later. Patrick turns off the car blaring "The Hold Steady" CD, and you tell him as you are walking out to the car to bring in bags. Patrick, like Dad, never one to be fazed, says something along the lines of, "I love you. This doesn't change anything. Now pick up that suitcase and bring it inside."
But, now, telling your secret to Dad is another story. Molly's reassuring hand guides you to the couch for the moment of truth. It's time to tell Dad, a most public example of hockey machismo, that you are gay.
Finally, you say it. Awkwardly. You basically stumble along trying not to make it a big deal before just blurting out, "And I love you guys and wanted to tell you that I'm gay."
There is a brief silence.
Dad is surprised when you tell him that you are gay. He never suspected at all.
Your stepmom speaks first: "OK, Brendan, that's OK." And gives you a reassuring smile. Then your dad says, "Of course, we still love you. This won't change a thing."
Your dad and stepmom both get up and hug you and say they love you. You and your dad then sit there alone for about 15 more minutes watching hockey. Your heart rate is still at a snow-shoveling level. You then hug Dad again, and you go to bed.
But now, questions arise:
1. What about Dad's reaction the next day and beyond?
2. How will Miami react to a young, gay man working on the hockey team?
3. Can an openly gay man play or work for a hockey team?
The real reason you choose not to play your senior year is because the atmosphere in the locker room gets progressively harder to deal with as you get older. Homophobic slurs become as commonplace as rolls of hockey tape. Pressure to hook up with girls gets more intense. You are really upset for a couple of months. Your mom later tells you she thought you were depressed. Back then, she keeps asking you if something is wrong, but you don't want to talk about it with anyone.
You say gay slurs have a direct impact on gay people in the area where they are said. You sincerely believe the majority of people who use gay slurs don't mean them to be offensive; they just don't realize the words' meaning and don't think there might be a gay person sitting right next to them. Questions 2 and 3 cause you some concern.
Miami, the No. 1-ranked team in college hockey right now, refers to itself as "The Brotherhood," and Coach Blasi means it when he says it. You say the players on Miami hockey teams are truly unlike most hockey players you've met. It's a group of genuine, intelligent, good guys. They don't have to, but they make you feel like a part of the team. Their families treat you as if you are one of their sons.
As you start to become better friends with the players and coaches, it becomes more difficult to hide your true sexuality. You are developing genuine friendships with many, and it feels like a huge part of it is missing because you aren't being honest with them. You feel, in some ways, as if you are disrespecting the Brotherhood philosophy Miami is based on.
The RedHawks take you with them to the NCAA regional tournament in Minnesota this past March, where they beat Minnesota-Duluth and Denver to advance to the Frozen Four for the first time in history.
As far as amazing life experiences go, being at the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C., is right up there with being in the locker room after the Ducks won the Cup. In between the first round and the Frozen Four, you tell one of the Miami players you are gay. Another player figures it out on the morning of the national championship game, and you have to pull him aside and tell him not to tell anyone before the game. You don't want it to be a distraction. You ask him to wait 12 hours after the game; then he can tell whomever he wants.
After the heartbreaking overtime loss to Boston University, and mainly by word of mouth, your news gets around to the whole team. There isn't a big emotional sit-down talk, although you do speak with some of the guys personally. The general response is "OK, Burkie's gay. Who cares? Pass the beer nuts."
About a week later, you approach your boss, the director of hockey operations for Miami, Nick Petraglia, and tell him. Then, a few days later, you tell Coach Blasi. You are pretty sure one of the players told them both in advance to give them a heads-up, but neither cares, and both are incredibly supportive.
Blasi says that having you as part of Miami's program is a blessing and everyone is much more aware of what they say and how they say it. He says he is as guilty as anyone and everyone needs to be reminded that respect is not a label but something people earn by the way they live their life. Coach Blasi says you are a great student and an even better person. You say Coach Blasi is a great coach and an even better person.
"Brendan is a great guy, personable and caring. As student manager, he is involved in a lot of things for us -- video, stats and community service, to name a few of his duties.
To my knowledge, there has been nothing negative [since he came out to us]. I think it goes along the lines that Brendan is part of our family. Everyone respects Brendan, and that's all that really matters.
The players are awesome. They are very sensitive to language and how we talk in the locker room. Again, it goes back to our culture and working on relationships and behaviors.
[As far as whether a player could come out and be able to function like a normal college player], that's a tough one and I don't want to speak for any other program. As far as Miami is concerned, we are about the person. I believe we would be accepting and honestly not even think twice about it.
I think having Brendan as part of our program has been a blessing. We are much more aware of what you say and how we say it. I am guilty as anyone. We need to be reminded that respect is not a label, but something you earn by the way you live your life." -- Miami University hockey coach Enrico Blasi
The attitude across the team is pretty much the same: "Who cares?" or "I don't understand why this is even an issue." Players you don't even expect to be supportive are. You say it is proof this kind of thing can happen in other places, too. You wish you could say that gay slurs have been banished from the Miami dressing room. It hasn't happened yet, although serious progress has been made and one player in particular has made it a personal crusade.
But now that you are "out," can you successfully pursue a job in hockey, specifically in the NHL, if that is a wish?
You are applying to law schools right now. Hockey management and politics are two things you care about the most, and a law degree is required for both, so it leaves the door open for either. You say you would be lying if you said you don't think sexual orientation affects a job in pro hockey. You believe it would make some things more difficult. There are going to be people who aren't comfortable knowing they are working with a gay person.
At this point, you are still undecided about your career options. Although you think there definitely would be challenges to being openly gay and working in hockey, you also think hockey is ready for it. There has been a lot of discussion about when a current player will come out. You've always viewed most hockey fans as being very well educated and accepting of diversity. You say fans are much more focused on the on-ice product than on the sexual orientation of players or management, and you say hockey is too good to be dragged down by this.
You believe that if an NHL player came out today, he would face a unique set of challenges but would generally be supported. He might face more verbal abuse from opposing fans, but you believe the overwhelming sentiment would be, "If he can play hockey, who cares?" That's the perspective you've encountered at Miami. You say a good way to start would be for ex-NHL players who are gay to be more vocal and talk about their experiences and challenges.
Whatever happens in your life, whatever career path you choose, you know Dad is in your corner. His long shadow of a hockey résumé that once looked like a crutch might now prove to be just the thing you and others need -- a powerful and eloquent voice shouting from the mountaintops.
This is far and away more than what you personally expected from your hockey-famous Dad as you prepared coming out to him. When people ask you about your dad's reaction to your Vancouver sit-down, you initially say, "He's been great, but I don't think we'll see him at any gay pride parades any time soon. But he has been really supportive."
So, you are startled this past summer when you get a call from Dad saying, "Hey, Toronto Pride is this weekend, you should fly up." So, sure enough, you fly up, and you and Dad go to the Toronto Pride Parade together.
If someone had told you before coming out that your dad, Brian Burke, would be attending a gay pride parade with you, you wouldn't have believed it. You never suspected Dad would disown you or anything like that, but the way he has handled it and the way he talks about it now has, honestly, really moved you. He was a little awkward about it at first. Today, he doesn't even think twice about it.
You want it known that he has been 100 percent supportive of you. It's important to you that people know that even the president and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has a less than sunny public personality, has a gay son and is a firm supporter of gay rights.
2. KTUU.com, December 1, 2009
701 East Tudor Road, Suite #220, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-7488
Gay rights group asks U of Alaska to update policy
By The Associated Press
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A student gay rights group is asking the University of Alaska to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy.
Members of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Gay-Straight Alliance asked the Board of Regents on Monday to consider the change at their February meeting.
Alliance members made a similar request last June, but it was never scheduled for discussion.
University rules include protection against discrimination based on race and religion but not sexual orientation.
Local alliance president Jessica Angelette said that leaves some campus employees and students vulnerable to harassment.
University spokeswoman Kate Ripley said the request could come up for consideration this spring.
Information from: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com
3. The Hawk, December 2, 2009
Saint Joseph's University, 227A Campion Student Center, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
Out on Campus: Gay students speak openly about their experiences coming out and being out at St. Joe's
By Sarah Quain and Sam Koch
This week's Features section is entirely dedicated to the personal stories of six openly gay students at St. Joe's.
This project was an attempt to hear personal stories and bring the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to the forefront of campus dialogue.
We set out to learn more about the experiences of this community of students on campus. We believe that the gay community at St. Joe's has been historically underrepresented in both the newspaper and on the campus. This will hopefully serve as a starting point for increased conversation about GLBT issues and students.
These students spoke about a diverse number of topics relating to their lives. They discussed coming out, fears that kept them in the closet, the relationship between the campus' gay community and the university as a whole, and social life.
We hope that readers of The Hawk find their stories engaging and enlightening.
We are indebted to those students who sat down to speak with us. We appreciate their sincerity, frankness, and humor.
What began as interviews about GLBTQ students and the unique issues facing them on campus evolved into conversations. The stories presented in this section are only briefs clips of those conversations.
While we chose to write on what each of the individuals focused on in their interviews and present the topics these students discussed most, space constraints limited many of the personal anecdotes and ideas they shared.
To amend this, we are making partial transcripts of these interview available on www.sjuhawknews.com.
-S. Q. and S. K.
Sarah Quain is a member of the university's Gay/Straight Alliance.
4. The Badger Herald, December 2, 2009
326 W. Gorham St., Madison, WI 53703-2017
LGBT listening session brings new ideas
By Lindsay Berger
A very small group of students offered suggestions for improving what they consider a sometimes hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students at the University of Wisconsin and expressed interest in a new LGBT Campus Center in a listening session with Dean of Students Lori Berquam Tuesday.
Tuesday’s session, which was attended by only five students and members of the student press, was the first of several events the LGBT Campus Center will facilitate this academic year to assess UW’s LGBT climate, solicit student input for a new LGBT space and develop strategies for raising awareness on issues that affect the LGBT community.
“We’re looking at taking a snapshot of how things are going in the center, how things are going on campus for LGBT students and, frankly, their allies,” Berquam said.
The few students who attended the session voiced concern over hostilities they and other LGBT students have experienced in classrooms and dormitories on campus.
Eric Trekell, director of the LGBT Campus Center, said providing a welcoming environment for LGBT students and addressing the hostilities students face are crucial goals of the center.
“College students are still forming their sense of identity, and I think that that’s a critical problem,” Trekell said. “We also have students who are LGBT identified but who want absolutely nothing to do with the center because of the connotations.”
UW senior Shaun Aukland said as a freshman he felt hostility from other residents in his dorm, adding he believes UW’s educational environment perpetuates the exclusion of LGBT students.
“I’ve felt left out of certain curriculums,” Aukland said, citing an interpersonal communication course that focused on forming relationships but avoided homosexual relationships.
This situation is common across campus and reflects a “heteronormative” approach to education that defines heterosexuality as the standard and disregards homosexual topics, Trekell said.
He added he feels these situations indicate a need for a program to educate faculty on LGBT sensitivity and provide solutions for students who feel ostracized.
Trekell said the listening session was spurred in part by UW’s announcement in October of the Inclusive Excellence initiative, an effort to create a more diverse campus and confront diversity issues in all sectors of UW.
Comments students shared in Tuesday’s listening session will help administrators determine how to include LGBT students in the initiative, he said.
“In past initiatives, LGBT people and LGBT issues haven’t been addressed,” Trekell said. “The Inclusive Excellence is designed to do that.”
The session also focused on the possibility of creating a new home for the center within the next two to three years. About 3,800 students last year visited the 500 square foot center, which is currently located in Memorial Union. The center’s library draws about 600 patrons annually and about 8,000 students attend the center’s events each year, according to Trekell.
“It’s a small enough space that if you get five or six students hanging out there and they’re all good friends, it does feel very cliquey for someone who walks in,” Trekell said.
Currently, administrators are looking at moving the center to the Red Gym, but Berquam said there are no definite plans in place.
5. The Dallas Voice, December 3, 2009
4145 Travis, Third Floor, Dallas, Texas 75204
SMU Student Senate rejects bid for LGBT senator
By David Taffet
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Southern Methodist University Student Senate voted against an amendment to add a sexual orientation and gender identity seat to the student government body.
The final vote was a 19-to-19 tie. A three-fourths majority was needed to pass the resolution that would have then gone to the entire student body for a vote.
Two weeks earlier, the students at University of North Texas voted against allowing same-sex couples to run for homecoming king and queen.
The SMU proposal was first introduced at a senate meeting two weeks earlier with a number of speakers commenting in favor of it. At this week’s meeting, two freshmen spoke against adding the seat, while professors, staff, alumni and students voiced support.
Organizer Tom Elliott, a senior, read letters from professors who were unable to attend the meeting.
Political science professor Joseph Kobylka called the struggle for LGBT rights “a battle for all of us to share.” He said, “One way that ensures inclusion is to create seats for special interest senators.”
Rick Halperin, director of the SMU human rights program, wrote that students face threats and violence.
SMU staff member Susan Harper backed that up. She spoke about walking one student across campus who was afraid of being attacked after “faggot” was keyed across his car.
She said students regularly walk into her office and say, “Susan, I have something to tell you.”
Harper explained to the senate who anti-gay activist Fred Phelps was. She told about his visit to campus 10 years ago after partnership benefits were enacted for employees. Describing that incident as SMU at its best, she said Phelps was met with 1,200 counter-protesters.
When she called upon the senate to rise to that occasion, she received a standing ovation.
Richard Bozorth, an associate professor of English, teaches an LGBT literature course.
“SMU is not as welcoming as it should be,” Bozorth said. He said that students have told him that they didn’t take his class because of the climate on campus.
Cece Cox, an SMU alumnae and associate executive director of GLBT programs at Resource Center Dallas, brought up the school’s ranking as 14th most homophobic school in the Princeton Review. That ranking is determined by student surveys.
She said that 90 percent of businesses prohibit discrimination and noted that there is a disconnect between what SMU faculty and staff are doing and attitudes among students.
“The business community looks to you to do the right thing,” Cox said. “Make the campus better for all of the LGBT students attending.”
Two students spoke against adding an LGBT senator. Jennifer Fugate identified herself as a freshman from southeast Oklahoma and a Native American.
“If we allow this seat, how many more minorities will want seats?” she asked. “I am discriminated against because I am a minority. Even if you accept gay people and their rights, they don’t deserve a special seat.”
Freshman Philip Hayes said, “Special seats encourage inequalities.” He said he was opposed to the idea “because it says some people deserve more representation than others.”
He asked the senate to treat all students as equals.
Had the measure passed the senate, it would have then gone to the student body for a vote. Hayes said that if the school was “as homophobic as some people say,” then it was going to fail anyway. If it passed, it proved the school was not homophobic and therefore there was no need for the seat.
In a debate among the senators, one said that adding the seat would help end the homophobic image the school has gained.
Another said that although he questioned the actual need for the seat, “We shouldn’t make students jump through hoops to feel represented.”
One senator said that she welcomed gays and lesbians into the senate but invited them to run for already existing open seats.
Harper said that during the 12 years she has been at the school, a number of LGBT candidates have run, but none has ever won.
Patrick Sherrill, a senator who supported the issue, was disturbed by the tone of the debate. He said that he kept hearing the LGBT community referred to as “them” rather than as part of the student body.
“Who here ran on LGBT issues?” Sherrill asked. When no one responded, he offered that as proof of the need for LGBT representation.
Joseph Esau, a senator who voted against the issue, said, “If there are students who say they don’t feel represented, we’ve failed to do our duty.”
For the final vote, Esau asked for a secret ballot. Another senator said that in a previous controversial vote, those who voted against a measure were subjected to harassment.
One senator who supported the LGBT seat asked for a roll call vote. Instead, the chair decided to use regular procedure and the vote was taken by a show of hands.
Elliott said that despite the loss in the senate, LGBT students have one other method to get the amendment to the student body. He said with a petition signed by 10 percent of the student body, the issue goes to a vote.
SMU has an enrollment of 11,000 students. Elliott and Harper did not think they would have trouble getting the necessary 1,100 signatures by early next semester.
“We may be No. 14 now, but this is a step for making us No. 10 next year,” Harper said after the vote, referring to the school’s Princeton ranking.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 4, 2009.
6. Indiana Statesman, December 4, 2009
Hulman Memorial Student Union 726, 550 Chestnut St., Terre Haute, IN 47809
Students discuss history of LGBT rights, marriage at panel event
By Tammy Rice
Five panelists and 10 students made up the alternate sexuality discussion in the events area of the Cunningham Memorial Library Wednesday.
Freshman mechanical engineering technology major Dominique Allen, who is straight and a co-president of ISU's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), organized the event. This is the only event that the group has had outside of classes.
GSA president and freshman theater major Christoph Weber said the group has done these panel discussions in psychology classes but never as a campus-wide event. He also mentioned that the panel is chosen by volunteers and changes with every discussion. Both Weber and Allen were a part of the panel.
"The main point of the discussion was to get the people in the audience to better communicate with people of a different sexuality," said Weber.
Allen said the key idea for the event was to open up to the idea and ask questions in an environment where they would not feel embarrassed. He hopes they learned all they wanted to and that they feel more comfortable with alternative sexuality.
Both Weber and Allen agreed that although the turnout was not as high as they had hoped, it was decent for the amount the event was advertised. Both are hoping next year will be better.
Attendant Calvin Caskey, a senior art major, said he went to the discussion as part of a group from ISU Advocates for Equality.
"I was curious to learn about the variety of opinions regarding LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] topics held by other students on campus," Caskey said, "particularly members of the LGBT community."
Caskey encourages other students to attend discussions like this because he feels that people on campus purposefully ignore such issues. He said that a college environment seems the perfect place for open-minded discussions about alternative sexuality.
After being introduced, the panelists took questions from the audience.
The discussion started by discussing the history of civil and gay rights. This key point recurred throughout the one-hour discussion as well as the religious aspect of homosexuality and hate crimes toward people with alternate sexualities. Alternate sexualities include homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people.
Among the panelists, two out of six were black. One panelist was half Hispanic and half Native American. Directly, these three were asked if they had to deal more with racist comments or homosexual insults.
"Personally, I deal more with being homosexual than I do with being black," said freshman open preference major Breshauna Lawson.
When the discussion switched to the marriage of homosexuals in America, there was a little dispute between some of the panelists because sophomore music major Eric Contreras believes there is a God while many of the panelists were agnostic.
Weber said that American marriages and European marriages are very different.
"In Europe, marriage is no big deal," Weber said. "It is a choice to have the marriage ceremony in Europe, and it is not a religious ceremony."
From this topic, the discussion progressed to how homosexuals respond to bisexuals by saying they hide half of themselves.
"I feel like I am half pretending half the time," said junior psychology major Rebecca Berry, who is bisexual.
After that discussion, the topic broadened to how straight people see people with alternative sexuality.
"I am cool with everybody," Allen said. "It is their choice."
7. Purdue Exponent, December 4, 2009
The Exponent, P.O. Box 2506, West Lafayette, IN, 47906
Purdue needs truer grasp of transgender issues
By Matt Witwer
The columnist piece printed in the Tuesday issue about Purdue’s Queer Resource Center struck home with me. As one of the few transgendered students at Purdue who are actively transitioning and open about their lifestyle, I feel that Purdue’s effort to provide an organization for the GLBT people on campus is embarrassment to say the least. I have more than once been fearful of hate crimes being committed against me when I am out on campus, especially during the less active hours of the day. The fact that gender orientation was not a part of Purdue’s non-discrimination policy was an issue that made me reluctant to choose Purdue when choosing a college to attend. I have even experienced difficulties with professors and teaching assistants who had difficulty understanding any conflicts my situation may have caused, as transitioning is a physically taxing ordeal. With no real resource I could direct them to, it made for many frustrating explanations that often were blown off or not understood. There is so much more this university can do to put itself on par with its peers in this respect. I’m glad that I have many understanding friends here on campus who are willing to help me if I need to go somewhere on campus, but for those who don’t who may be in my situation, I really hope this university can offer more to them in the future.
Senior in the College of Technology
8. The Spectrum, December 4, 2009
275 E St. George Blvd., St. George, Utah 84770
SUU Trustees unanimously approve protection of sexual orientation in student policy
By Jennifer Weaver
CEDAR CITY — Gay, lesbian and transgendered students attending Southern Utah University will now be protected from discrimination from a unanimous decision made Friday by the school’s board of trustees to add that classification to its Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct policies and procedures handbook.
For more than a year, the university has experienced a student-led movement from groups and individuals to amend its anti-discrimination policy to include protection for those with alternative sexual orientation. SUU and Brigham Young University were the only two higher education institutions in the state without protection of sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies.
SUU’s handbook will now outline rights of equal protection and opportunity regardless of race, age, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status and legally recognized disabilities.
“I think it’s good that the board of trustees recognized the importance of providing equal protection for students so the campus atmosphere is safe, friendly and accommodating to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation,” said SUU Student Body President, Cody Alderson.
To learn more about this story, please read tomorrow's online and print edition of The Spectrum & Daily News.
9. The Daily Targum, November 29, 2009
126 College Ave. Suite 431, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
NJ favors gay marriage by slim margin
By Kristine Rosette Enerio
By a slight margin, more New Jersey residents favor the legalization of same-sex marriage than oppose it, according to a recent poll conducted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Of the 903 adults who took the poll, 46 percent were in favor of changing New Jersey’s legislation, which only recognizes civil unions, to legalize gay marriage. Meanwhile, 42 percent opposed it.
“[The opinion] isn’t a majority because there’s 12 percent who say they don’t know, but more New Jerseyans support gay marriage than oppose it,” said Eagleton Poll Director David Redlawsk. “There is more of a ‘live and let live’ attitude in New Jersey than in many other states that have dealt with the issue.”
Despite the results, the poll indicated 44 percent of participants find the issue not important and 37 percent dubbed it somewhat important.
“For most New Jersey residents, this is not a very important issue,” Redlawsk said. “However, it is more important for the people who support gay-marriage.”
Joseph Focaraccio, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, supports gay-marriage and thinks it should be discussed, but does not think it is the most important issue right now.
“I think one of the more important problems that should be addressed is the economy or the corruption going on in the state government,” Focaraccio said.
Krista Pecoraro, co-president of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Alliance at Rutgers University, said gay marriage is an important issue because a lot of people overlook marriage equality.
“No matter how old people are, they have the right to be happy, and to deny the right to say they are really married, happy and to have those rights [that accompany a legal marriage] is wrong,” said Pecoraro, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
She said that there are clear distinctions between older and younger generations when it comes to this issue.
“A lot of older individuals don’t think it’s important,” said Pecoraro. “They overlook coming out and don’t see it as more of a big deal.”
But the issue of what should be considered top priority is an argument made by those who want to avoid talking about gay marriage, said Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education Catherine A. Lugg.
“It implies that civil rights for one historically stigmatized group aren’t important,” Lugg said. “It’s a way of politically erasing a politically troublesome minority group.”
School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Marissa Curcio, who is bisexual, said same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples but thinks that legalization is moderately important.
“It’s not a drastic issue, but it should be considered and should be definitely changed,” she said.
With only a few weeks left in Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s term, legislators have a slim margin of time to submit a bill legalizing gay marriage to his desk before Governor-elect Chris Christie, who is anti-gay marriage, takes his place.
If lawmakers pass the bill legalizing gay marriage, 52 percent would accept it, while 40 percent would support a constitutional amendment banning it, according to the poll.
Redlawsk said it is really up to the leaders of the legislature to bring the bill up to a vote, but there are a few factors that are causing its delay.
“There’s some thoughts expressed that the legislature should focus on things like the economy right now rather than on social issues like marriage equality,” he said.
Aside from arguments of priority, New Jersey already recognizes civil unions, which some people believe provide same-sex couples with the same benefits and privileges as heterosexual couples, Redlawsk said.
On the other hand, Lugg is highly doubtful that any gay marriage bill will be passed within the next few weeks.
“The N.J. legislature has consistently failed to lead in this area,” Lugg said. “The general public is far ahead of their own elected leaders on the issue of gay marriage.”
Sara Gretina contributed to this article
10. SMU Daily Campus, December 1, 2009
Student Media Company, Inc., Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer Street, Suite 314, Dallas, TX 75205
Student activist lobbies for LGBT voice in senate
By Brooks Powell
Tom Elliott is a crusader, although he doesn't wear a long cape or a mask. His signature accessory, a headband, is only there to hold back his long hair.
A fifth year political science and philosophy major, Elliott is on a mission that first began as a journey through tough life lessons and self-discovery. Now, he says he wants to channel those lessons toward improving SMU for students like him.
In short, Elliott wants to provide a clear voice for a demographic he feels is virtually unheard on campus: lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
At Tuesday's student senate meeting, Elliott will try to convince the body to pass a resolution that would force a referendum this spring on adding a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity senate seat. He has gained student and faculty support for the measure and hopes to see it succeed before he graduates in May.
The purpose of the proposal, Elliott said, is to change the perception that the general SMU population is intolerant of LGBT people.
Based on feedback on surveys it conducts with students, the Princeton Review recently named SMU number 14 on a list of schools labeled, "alternative lifestyle not an alternative." Translation: SMU is among the least tolerant campuses in the nation for LGBT students.
The SMU Office of Public Affairs and the SMU Women's Center issued a formal letter to the Princeton Review in response, touting its record as a progressive institution by providing same-sex partner benefits to faculty and staff, funding LGBT student groups like SPECTRUM and partnering with local LGBT groups and organizations to provide support for SMU students.
The practice of formally establishing support for LGBT groups on college campuses is growing nationwide, beginning with the first such organization, the Student Homophile League, which formed in the 1960s at Columbia University.
However, many schools are struggling with the idea of changing their longstanding institutions like student governments and other elected offices or positions to include official LGBT representation.
Last month, the University of North Texas confronted its own challenge with gender identity and same-sex issues. A resolution introduced through its student government triggered a vote on whether to allow two men or two women to run for Homecoming king and queen together. The proposal was rejected 58 percent to 42 percent in an election that drew record turnout, according to The Denton Record-Chronicle.
After months of discussion, strategizing and even a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. during National Equality March last month, Elliott and his peers in the LGBT community, including some straight allies, decided they want to change SMU's image.
Since early October, Elliott and a number of fellow students supporting the proposed seat have addressed the student senate at weekly meetings. Hoping to spur action, they have delivered impassioned pleas and stirring anecdotes about discrimination and persecution they've faced on campus because of their sexual orientation.
Elliott has spoken about his own experiences and those of friends, some of which have ended in tragedy. This, he said, is why providing a voice for LGBT students is so crucial.
"I hope that a student representative can add another element of diversity to the senate, and in doing so enable people to overcome their own prejudices about the LGBT community on our campus," Elliott said.
Ironically, those prejudices were even difficult for Elliott to overcome as a new SMU student five years ago.
Arriving on the Hilltop
A recent high school graduate from a conservative, Christian family in rural Royse City, Texas, located 30 miles northeast of Dallas, Elliott began his SMU experience by joining the Mustang Band, a fraternity and the Young Conservatives of Texas.
Joining YCT provided him with opportunities to speak out about issues he believed in, including challenging affirmative action and rejecting the need for special-interest seats in the student senate.
At the time, the debate over special-interest seats had already reached a fever pitch. Supporters and opponents raged back and forth following the nationally infamous "bake sale" hosted by YCT in which customers were charged different amounts for baked goods based on their race, ethnicity or gender. The event protested affirmative action policies in higher education.
In response, the student senate formed an ad-hoc committee to study the issue of student representation and found that special-interest seats, namely an African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and an international student seat, were necessary and proper to fulfill the senate's charge to faithfully and thoroughly represent all students at SMU.
While engaging in discussions and protests with YCT, Elliott said he began to seriously question himself and his beliefs. Back at home, a short, unsettling comment marked the tipping point for him.
Elliott said he was shocked when a family member called a man on television a "faggot" because he had died his hair blonde. A seemingly insignificant instance Elliott said was enough to shake loose the remaining foundation for the beliefs he had inherited from his family.
"I decided that I would start from the ground up in understanding the issues and forming opinions on them based on my own life experiences," he said.
A year later, still grappling with his beliefs, Elliott enrolled in a gay and lesbian literature course. It was through the stories he read that he said he found himself identifying with being a gay man, although he said he wanted to remain reserved.
"I swore to myself that I would never be one of those 'flaming gay guys' or 'a militant gay,' and I wouldn't be carrying any rainbow flags or speaking openly about LGBT rights," Elliott said.
A series of conferences he attended on gay issues led him to change his mind once more. By interacting with people from different backgrounds and with varying life experiences, Elliott said he gained unique insights into what it meant to be a member of the LGBT community.
"Although I didn't believe in much, I did believe that it was wrong for people to be treated as second class because of their identities, something that they cannot change about themselves," he said.
Marching on Washington
On Oct. 11, an estimated 200,000 people staged an unprecedented protest in Washington, D.C. to rally for equal rights for the LGBT community during the National Equality March.
Among them, SMU students Elliott, Richard McPhee, Kristen Baker-Fletcher and a handful of others marched representing the Hilltop.
The trip was a bonding experience for all who took part, Elliott said, adding that the contingency of SMU students returned from Washington with a sense of purpose that drove them to make changes to the campus community.
"It was important to me to be able to bring back those experiences to campus," McPhee said.
The trip provided the impetus for seeking representation in the student senate.
A petition with 413 signatures, 68 percent from students, has been circulated to gain support for the legislation pending in the student senate.
Elliott is confident that the piece will pass and that students will be able to vote this spring on whether to add a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity seat to the senate.
Victory would be bittersweet, Elliott said, because he will no longer be enrolled when the first student is inaugurated to fill the seat. Still, he says the fight will have been worthwhile.
"Regardless of your beliefs on anything … it is important to be able to stand up for what you believe in," Elliott said.
11. The Maneater, December 1, 2009
N223 Memorial Union, Columbia, Mo. 65211
Allies In Action elects new executive board
Allies in Action, a group who focuses on raising awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and questioning community, held elections Tuesday night.
Twelve people attended the meeting, a number current president and senior Monica Wolff said was twice the size of the usual turnout.
Six officer positions were open for elections, and within each, the candidate or candidates ran unopposed.
Next semester’s co-presidents will be sophomores Jeff Cook and Ben Vigil. Junior Trevor Maness was elected as vice president and treasurer will be junior John Ruppert.
Junior Nimali Siriwardana will take over as secretary. Juniors Bill Weismiller and Amanda Heisey will lead the social chair position.
The public relations position went to sophomore Jasmine Cross. Freshman Alfred Cox was elected as the group’s webmaster. Junior Michelle Hagopian will be the member-at-large, a new position future co-president Cook described as a spokesperson for group members to the executive board.
Group members brainstormed events for next semester and agreed to repeat the Symbolic Removal of the Flags ceremony that took place last year. Allies in Action will also travel to the University of Wisconsin on Feb. 19 through 21 for the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference.
Meetings for next semester will take place Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in room 308 of the Arts & Science building. The last Allies in Action meeting take place next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in room 308 of the Arts & Science Building.
12. The University Daily Kansan, December 1, 2009
111 Stauffer-Flint Hall, 1435 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045
Student groups hold event for World AIDS Day
By Jesse Brown
Two student organizations will hold an event to raise AIDS awareness for World AIDS Day today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center and Queers and Allies will hold the event in the fourth floor lobby of the Kansas Union. The Douglas County AIDS Project will offer free HIV testing for students, faculty and staff.
Saida Bonifield, LGBT Resource Center coordinator and Lawrence graduate student, is coordinating the event. She said it was important to raise awareness not only worldwide, but also on college campuses.
“On college campuses specifically, we do this event to raise awareness surrounding safe sex, and we also want to provide free HIV testing,” Bonifield said.
The group will test using OraSure test kits, where a swab is used to collect saliva from inside the mouth. The testing is completely confidential.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site , the first World AIDS Day was in 1988. According to an article published in Journal Watch, 32,311 new cases of AIDS were reported to the Centers for Disease Control that year. Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that more than one million Americans are estimated to be living with the HIV virus.
Edited by Lauren Cunningham
13. Kent News, December 3, 2009
205 Franklin Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242
New LGBT center will open in old office space
Students will no longer be at a loss of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered resources as Kent State prepares to open its first LGBT center in January. Kent State will join seven other universities with LGBT centers in Ohio.
"I think this is a significant point for LGBTQ issues at Kent State University," said Molly Merryman, associate professor of justice studies. Merryman will be the co-coordinator of the LGBT minor in the spring. Former co-coordinator Richard Berrong, a modern and classical languages professor, resigned.
The other co-coordinator of the LGBT minor, Dan Nadon, said the center is long overdue. Previously, the interdisciplinary minor had no office space. Students did not have any place to go to communicate with faculty.
"We were living out of a suitcase," the associate professor of theatre said.
The center will be housed in open office space in the Center for Student Involvement. Since the space already exists, this addition will not cost very much, said Greg Jarvie, interim vice president of enrollment management and student affairs and dean of students.
Although the exact purpose of the center is still being shaped, Nadon said he envisions it as a place people can go to lounge in. There will be a small meeting room as well.
Senior psychology major and LGBT minor Abby McGinty said she is "so thankful" to have a center on campus soon. McGinty, who is an ally herself, said she hopes that whether people are gay or straight, they will use this center as an opportunity to support the LGBT community.
The idea for the center sprang out of a few comments made at a meeting. Merryman explained her frustrations with the LGBT program - that there is no permanent space or funding - and Jarvie listened.
"This takes us to a new level of support for our students," Jarvie said.
Alfreda Brown, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, is also a supporter of this center. She said the center is important because it gives the LGBT community recognition on the Kent State campus. It also provides an opportunity for the university to better understand LGBT concerns.
Not only will the center be open, but the LGBT minor will also be restructured. There may be more class times and changes to the list of classes that have LGBT-related content. The addition of special topics courses will be encouraged, and the addition of online classes will be considered.
Another possible change is the last course in the LGBT minor, individual investigation, which requires students to complete an independent study with faculty members.
"We require it and then can't back it up with appropriate opportunity," Nadon said.
Merryman said there are issues with students being able to find a professor to work on this study with them, since professors don't get paid for it. To solve this, she recommended finding a different capstone course with LGBT content.
McGinty welcomes this change. She said she is currently in the "overwhelming" process of trying to set up her individual investigation and is having struggles, in addition to scheduling issues. The limited availability of classes for the minor has pushed back her plans to graduate in May to August.
Jarvie said his division is providing funding for a full-time faculty member to teach the introduction to LGBT studies class in exchange for LGBT affiliate faculty and staff to work the center on a volunteer basis.
Nadon said this center is a stride for the LGBT community at Kent State.
"The opportunities are endless," he said. "It's an exciting time. It's a new time. I think both Molly and I are happy to push the boundaries and see what we can make of this."
Contact diversity reporter Kelly Petryszyn at firstname.lastname@example.org
14. The Georgetown Voice, December 3, 2009
Georgetown University, 413 Leavey
Uncertain future for Catholic Charities after gay marriage bill
By Cole Stangler
The D.C. Council passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage this Tuesday, despite threats from the Catholic Church that it would terminate all social services contracts with the city if the bill passed.
Catholic Charities currently provides services to 68,000 District residents. If Catholic Charities continues its social service contract with D.C., it would need to comply with the new city law by providing equal spousal benefits to same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church is currently working with City Council to modify the bill in a way that would allow Catholic Charities to continue providing social services while maintaining D.C.’s recognition of same-sex marriages. The legislation will be subject to a final vote by the Council in two weeks before reaching Mayor Adrian Fenty’s (D) desk.
“We’ll continue to work with members of the Council,” Susan Gibbs, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of D.C. said.
Although many council members have cited Georgetown University—which extends spousal benefits to any adult partner without explicitly recognizing same-sex marriage—as a possible model for Catholic Charities, Gibbs said the comparison is not relevant.
“It was a different issue at a different time,” Gibbs said.
That explanation has not satisfied the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., a local gay rights organization that has advocated for same-sex marriage.
“It’s outrageous for them to try to hold the city hostage,” Rick Rosendoll, GLAA Vice President for Political Affairs, said. “I think they’re trying to bully the city into getting their way, with the idea perhaps that they can get Congress to intervene on their behalf.”
However the possibility of Congressional intervention appears less likely, according to Ben Young, Chief of Staff for David Catania (I-At Large) (SFS ‘90, LAW ‘94), the council member who introduced the bill.
“There’s always a fear, but we feel reasonably optimistic that Congress will respect the District’s home rule,” he said.
15. Indiana Daily Student, December 4, 2009
IU Student Media, 940 E. 7th Street, 120 Ernie Pyle Hall, Bloomington, IN 47405-7108
Group provides support for GLBT
By Anna Radtke
In October, two Bloomington residents started an inclusive, professional lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization at IU that’s aimed at people interested in scientific and technical fields.
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals at IU seeks to shrink the “big disconnect” that exists between gays and the sciences, co-founder and Bloomington resident Kay Johnson said.
When Johnson was a graduate student at Purdue University, she started the first collegiate branch of NOGLSTP, she said. Through it, she hoped to find faculty members in the scientific fields who were supportive and willing to mentor students who have come out and joined the GLBT community.
“There isn’t really room for gay in the sciences because nobody’s talking about it,” Johnson said. “There’s a real ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the fields of engineering and sciences.”
It’s not necessarily an anti-gay sentiment, but it’s not very welcoming, she said.
Many GLBT students come out in college. Because they don’t put their sexual orientation on their resumes, their bosses and coworkers don’t necessarily realize they are part of the GLBT community, Johnson said.
“All of a sudden, you’re in the closet again,” Johnson said.
NOGLSTP at IU attempts to change that by providing a safe, inclusive space for people to meet others in their field and see examples of how members of the GLBT community can be out in their professional life.
The IU branch of the organization has 13 members.
Sophomore Chris Kase is a co-founder of NOGLSTP at IU and currently serves as the organization’s president.
It’s important for people to feel like they have like-minded allies, Kase said.
“You have to be able to be yourself,” Johnson said.
Ara Scott, an IU student who belongs to NOGLSTP, is working on her degree in biology. She said she hopes to one day start a health care profession that’s specifically geared toward GLBT students, she said.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done yet, so we can really shape it in a way that’s best for members,” Scott said. “It was a wonderful-sounding opportunity to meet other professionals and perhaps have an outlet for doing some different community projects.”
16. NJ.com, December 6, 2009
Students join rally for gay marriage rights
By Matt Fair
TRENTON -- Despite the cold and rain, student activists and advocates for marriage equality gathered on the steps of the New Jersey Statehouse yesterday morning to voice their support for New Jersey's gay marriage proposal.
"Marriage equality is not just about marriage, it's about civic equality," said Mike Tracey, a student from The College of New Jersey in Ewing. "It's about love. Let's hear it for love."
The crowd of more than 100 people cheered back eagerly, some waving signs that read, "Separate But Equal is NOT EQUAL." The rally was put together by TCNJ's Students For Equality group.
The New Jersey legislature is expected to take up marriage equality legislation this week, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, told a crowd of supporters outside the statehouse Thursday afternoon.
"On Monday in the Judiciary Committee, we're going to vote on marriage equality," Lesniak said. "On Thursday, the full Senate is going to vote on marriage equality and, God be willing, we'll have 21 votes."
Highlighting the real issues that face same-sex couples in the state were Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin, who, despite being in what they described as a committed relationship for more than 20 years, have struggled to get health insurance for their adopted children.
While New Jersey recognized civil unions, most employers do not provide medical benefits to same-sex partners.
One of Walpin and Shapiro's children, Aaron, who they said suffered multiple handicaps and medical issues, died last July as the women strove to provide him with medical treatment.
"I had to be fighting with my employers for my benefits while he was so sick," Walpin said.
"We have been through hell and back advocating for our family," Shapiro said. "We had to remortgage our house Â𢠴wice Â𢠴o keep up with (medical bills). It's worth it to us because we love our children."
The audience of supporters came from all over the state: Rowan University, Rutgers, William Paterson University. Some, from Temple University in Philadelphia, hailed from out-of-state as well.
It was representation that the rally's organizers were pleased to see, for they see marriage equality as an issue that reaches beyond the borders of New Jersey, an issue that should be addressed on the federal level, says one supporter.
"States' rights is a euphemism for allowing hatred and bigotry to continue unchecked," said Nagesh Rao, the faculty adviser for Students for Equality and a professor of English at TCNJ. "We have to fight for full equality on the federal level."
"Win or lose in New Jersey, we know we have a fight on our hands to bring equality to the country to all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people," he added.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Ewing, the Assembly's only openly gay member, was on hand for the rally, leading the crowd in a brief recitation of the beginning of the Declaration of Independence.
"There was a time when (Jefferson's) words didn't apply to all of us," he said. "We ask the legislature to stand up and do the right thing, but no matter what happens in the next couple of weeks, we will still march on."
Contact Matt Fair at (609) 989-5707 or at email@example.com.
17. New York Post, December 6, 2009
1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-8790
Dorms go coed at Columbia
By Annie Karni
Columbia University students will soon be able to live in sin -- on their parents' dime.
A new "gender-neutral" housing policy that will allow boys and girls to shack up together in campus housing is expected to be implemented by the Ivy League school beginning next fall, university sources said.
The new rules would allow sophomores, juniors and seniors living on the Morningside Heights quad to choose their roommates -- regardless of their sex -- and live in any dorm room on campus. The option would not be available to incoming freshmen.
For young couples in love, sharing a room could put an end to the infamous "walk of shame" -- the early-morning cross-campus trek back to a separate dorm in the previous night's clothes.
The proposal would also ease awkward living situations for gay and lesbian students, who don't always feel comfortable living with a same-sex roommate.
Planning to move in together are 19-year-old sophomores Nailah Robinson and Barry Weinberg. She's straight, he's gay; she's single, and he has a boyfriend.
Robinson says she isn't worried about sharing a bathroom and 200-square-foot bedroom with her best friend -- who just happens to be a man.
"Barry is always in my room anyway," said Robinson, a North Carolina native majoring in film studies and psychology. "My parents don't care. My mom loves Barry. I know I wouldn't mesh well as a roommate with most of my female friends."
Weinberg said living with his best girlfriend was a no-brainer.
"I have friends who are gay who are in very difficult living situations with other guys," said Weinberg, a political science major. "In other cities, you could move off campus and live with whomever you wanted, but in Manhattan, you can't really afford to live off campus."
And if a boyfriend sleeps over next fall?
"I'm fine with three in a room," said Robinson, "as long as I get the majority of closet space."
While gay and lesbian student groups support the policy change, critics say allowing romantic young couples to room together is a recipe for disaster.
"It will damage the community on the floor if a couple moves in together and then is fighting all the time," said sophomore Alex Frouman, 21, a student council representative. "It's incredibly difficult to get a room change. The proposal is bad because of that risk that could adversely effect everyone on the hall."
But young lovers might not be easily dissuaded from the convenience of a shared bed.
"You'll probably see senior couples who have been dating a while maybe moving in together," said senior Sarah Weiss, 21, student council vice president of policy. "They can't mandate against that happening."
Some parents say the proposal is over the top.
"I was shocked enough last year when we moved our son in and we saw that guys and girls shared a bathroom on the hall," said Laura Hannon, whose son, Michael, is a Columbia sophomore.
"If it had been our daughter, we would have turned around and walked straight out. As far as coed roommates go, that would be insane. If our child chose to do that, we would opt out."
A spokesman for Columbia said the university would not comment on the housing proposal.
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