Tuesday, January 26, 2010

QNOC Digest 2010.01.24

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.01.24

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 articles@lgbtcampus.org

1. The Observer - Responsibility for offensive comic
2. The GW Hatchet - College Republicans pull support for McCain talk
3. NBC Connecticut - Yale President Responds to T-Shirt Controversy
4. Palo Alto Online - Stanford professor testifies in Prop 8 trial
5. Zanesville Times Recorder - Stereotypes, misconceptions dispelled at sexual-orientation workshop at OU-Z

1. The Observer, January 15, 2010
P.O. Box 779, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Responsibility for offensive comic
By Editorial Staff

The editors of The Observer would like to publicly apologize for the publication of “The Mobile Party” in the Jan. 13 edition. The burden of responsibility ultimately lies on us for allowing it to go to print.
There is no excuse that can be given and nothing that can be said to reverse the damage that has already been done by this egregious error in judgment.
The Observer, though an independent newspaper, is representative of the community of the University of Notre Dame and the values it so cherishes: family, understanding, service, respect and love.
Allowing this cruel and hateful comic a place on our pages disgraced those values and severely hurt members of our Notre Dame family — our classmates, our friends. For this, we sincerely apologize.
Unfortunately, the language of hate is an everyday reality in our society. Earlier this week, surprising comments made by Sen. Harry Reid about President Barack Obama’s accent and skin color were made public and caused uproar. Now, at Notre Dame, a comic strip including hurtful language was printed in this publication, also causing — and rightly so — serious concern. It becomes clear that hurtful language is still present among some circles, and, too often, it’s not until comments like these become public that their true hatred is acknowledged.
The truth is, these comments should not be made at all, and we will not allow our pages to be a forum for such hatred. Publishing commentary that seems to encourage or support hate against fellow human beings is inexcusable.
We must, however more forward, and look to promote instead a culture of acceptance and support for all.
The Office of Student Affairs and the Gender Relations Center, as well as student groups like the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students, have worked tirelessly to foster an educated community and an environment of acceptance and love. We would ask that those currently working toward ending discourses of hate on campus continue to do so. We greatly thank you for your tireless effort.
On our part, we must practice more responsible journalism and editing. That this comic was published reveals holes in our editing practices, which are currently being addressed.
In reevaluating our policies, we hope to ensure The Observer will be able to recover from this low point in its almost 50-year history and once again be able to serve the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community with the dignity it deserves.
We would like to thank all of those who have called, e-mailed, written and visited our offices this week in outrage.
The content of “The Mobile Party” is in no way representative of the views and opinions of The Observer or the Editorial Board. We hope that as we work together to address this serious issue, we will be able to regain your trust.
We vow to continue to represent the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College in a way that is respectful and accepting of each member of our community.

2. The GW Hatchet, January 19, 2010
2140 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
College Republicans pull support for McCain talk
By Madeleine Morgenstern

The GW College Republicans have withdrawn their financial support from Meghan McCain's upcoming appearance at GW, after claims that the Allied in Pride president was not forthcoming about the topic of McCain's speech.

Michael Komo, president of Allied in Pride, told The Hatchet last week that McCain would be appearing as the keynote speaker of their annual "Marriage Equality Week" in February, but the CR leadership claims they were not aware of this when they were asked for their financial support. McCain, an outspoken advocate for gay rights, is the daughter of former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.

"Our executive board was told that Meghan McCain's primary focus would be her opinion on what it means to be a Republican," Rob Noel, CR public relations director, said. "We later discovered through her Twitter and subsequent conversations with the SA and [the Graduate School of Political Management] that she would be giving the keynote address for Marriage Equality Week."

A link to The Hatchet article was posted to McCain's Twitter page, prompting McCain to tweet, "Yes, I am the keynote speaker at George Washington University's "Marriage Equality Week" next month. Can't wait, very honored to be asked!"

Komo, a Student Association senator, acknowledged that he did not say McCain would be appearing during Marriage Equality Week when he spoke to the CRs at their executive board meeting.

"I didn't technically say it's Marriage Equality Week," Komo said, calling the slip "completely unintentional."

"I didn't even know this could be an issue," he said. "I would never think to disclose or withhold that information."

The GSPM Student Association was similarly surprised to hear their event, which was meant to be a discussion about the future of the Republican Party, was severely narrowed by Komo's characterization.

"The first thing we knew about marriage equality was when it was written in The Hatchet," said Jamie Baker, president of the GSPM SA and also a Student Association senator.

Komo said there were going to be two different flyers advertising for McCain, and that the College Republicans logo would not have appeared on the one for Marriage Equality Week.

Komo called McCain coming to campus during Marriage Equality Week "not mutually exclusive" from her speaking to GSPM. Allied in Pride always holds Marriage Equality Week during this time of year, he said.

According to a copy of McCain's contract obtained by The Hatchet, there is no reference to Marriage Equality Week. The program topic listed is "Redefining Republican: No Labels, No Boxes, No Stereotypes."

Baker said a speaker always has latitude with what they want to address, but the event is now being characterized as something it is not.

"I am essentially taking unilateral control of this event. My organization signed the contract and put up the money for the deposit," Baker said.

For the event, GW organizations are paying the booking agency Greater Talent Network $7,500, plus the cost of airfare, lodging, food, and transportation, according to the contract. The total cost is estimated to be slightly under $10,000, Baker said.

GSPM put up $3,000 for the initial deposit and Allied in Pride initially gave $750. More than half of Allied in Pride's budget for Marriage Equality Week will go toward McCain's appearance, Komo said.

McCain is scheduled to speak Feb. 9 at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

3. NBC Connecticut, January 19, 2010
1422 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110-1632
Yale President Responds to T-Shirt Controversy
By Leanne Gendreau

F. Scott Fitzgerald and a T-shirt have caused a whole lot of trouble at Yale. Now, the university president says he regrets the controversy and doesn’t want students to think that their speech is subject to censorship, the Yale Daily News reports.
The firestorm stared in November over a shirt the Freshman Class Council designed for the time-honored Yale-Harvard game, according to the Yale Daily News.
The 7-word phrase that angered the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and caused the freshmen group to pull the shirt: “I think of all Harvard men as sissies.”
The quote, from Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise,” actually takes a dig at both Harvard and Yale:
"I want to go to Princeton," said Amory. "I don't know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes."
The offensive word was “sissies,” which was “considered offensive and demeaning," as well as a “thinly-veiled gay slur,” Julio Perez-Torres ’12, a member of the LGBT Co-op, told the Daily News in November.
FCC members said they didn't realize the connotation and changed the design. The controversy was whether Yale College Dean Mary Miller told the students to pull the design or merely issued an opinion and the students pulled it.
Then, in December, Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individuals Rights in Education -- and a Harvard man -- sent University president, Richard Levin, a letter saying Yale College Dean Mary Miller acted inappropriately by ruling the shirt unacceptable.
“It is not a happy day when a Yale College dean with degrees from Yale and Princeton, an historian of art, declares that T-shirts quoting Fitzgerald are 'not acceptable,'" Kissel wrote. “In matters large and small, Yale has taken steps that erode the freedom it once championed, teaching its students that the authorities ultimately decide which expressions are acceptable or unacceptable.”
Levine responded by letter, saying Yale maintains its policy on freedom of expression.
“Dean Mary Miller and I agree with you that it is not the role of the Dean or any other University official to supress the speech of any student or student organization,” he wrote.
There are times, he said, when it is appropriate to advise students of how their freedom of speech will affect others. Miller had concerns about the impact of the proposed T-shirts and told the class’ representatives.
“The decision not to print the T-shirts was made by the Class Council, not the dean,” he wrote. “But … it would have seemed possible, and not unreasonable, for some members of the Council to interpret Dean Miller’s counsel as a directive. This we regret.”

4. Palo Alto Online, January 20, 2010
Embarcadero Publishing Company, 450 Cambridge Ave., CA 94306
Stanford professor testifies in Prop 8 trial
Bay City News Service

A judge presiding over a same-sex marriage trial in San Francisco heard testimony today from a Stanford University professor who said homosexuals lack political power and from a gay man who said conversion therapy made him suicidal.

Stanford political science professor Gary Segura and Denver resident Ryan Kendall testified on the seventh day of the trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

Walker, who will decide the case without a jury, is conducting the trial on a lawsuit in which two same-sex couples claim that Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, violates their federal constitutional rights.

The trial is the nation's first federal trial on a U.S. constitutional challenge to restrictions on gay and lesbian marriage. Proposition 8 was enacted by state voters in 2008.

Segura, an expert on the political power or lack of power of minority groups, told the court that in the United States, "Gays and lesbians do not possess a meaningful degree of political power.

"They are not able to protect their basic interests and effectuate them into law," Segura said.

Segura testified that nationwide, "There is no group in American society that has been targeted in ballot initiatives more than gays and lesbians," with undocumented immigrants a distant second.

He said measures affecting gay and lesbian rights have been the subject of more than 150 state and local ballot initiatives since the 1970s and that gays and lesbians have lost 70 percent of those votes.

The ballot initiatives include successful measures to restrict same-sex marriage in 33 states, Segura said.

Kendall, who was forced to undergo sexual orientation conversion therapy as a teenager, testified that the therapy caused him to become "a 16-year-old kid who had lost everything" and to feel suicidal.

The testimony of both witnesses is important to the plaintiffs' claim that gay and lesbian rights should be given the highest standard of legal protection because of a history of discrimination and because homosexuality is an immutable characteristic for most gays and lesbians.

Later in the trial, the sponsors of Proposition 8 plan to present another political science professor who will assert an opposing view that gays and lesbians are politically powerful.

5. Zanesville Times Recorder, January 22, 2010
34 S. Fourth Street, Zanesville, OH 43701
Stereotypes, misconceptions dispelled at sexual-orientation workshop at OU-Z
By Leeann Moore

ZANESVILLE -- Douglas Robinson thinks he's figured it out.

"As long as you can pass as straight, people think you're OK," Robinson said.

He doesn't necessarily think people judge him one way or the other because he's gay, but because it's "different."

"In Zanesville, I don't feel I need to be closeted. I can walk down the street and hold a man's hand and feel comfortable," he said.

However, he'll also be the first to tell you that he's more outgoing than most.

He's a busy 20-year-old Zane State College student taking 20 credit hours this quarter to get a degree in business marketing management. He's involved in multiple campus clubs and works three part-time jobs. He grew up in New Concord, graduated from John Glenn High School and jokes about how his family grilled him with sexuality questions during the holidays. He also jokes about how people tell him he doesn't "look" gay.

"I grew up not knowing a lot about it in a small community," he said.

He likes going to Gay, Lesbian and Straight Supporters meetings twice a month because the people around him are understanding.

GLASS is a support group for those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and supporters. It's made up of about 20 Ohio University-Zanesville and Zane State College students.

Understanding is the same reason Robinson attended the Ohio Safe Zone Workshop at OU-Z on Thursday.

"The reality is, no matter how you feel about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, they're part of our world, part of society," Mickey Hart said.

Hart is the director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Center at Ohio University in Athens. He lectured twice at OU-Z on Thursday at the Ohio Safe Zone Workshop, to discuss issues that surround the lives and lifestyles of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders.

"Safe Zone gives you permission to talk about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders and the things and people who are supportive," Hart said. "It's important in creating a welcome and safe community."

Twenty people attended. Hart said his audiences vary, but most who come are supportive of the LGBT community. Not everyone who comes is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

He talked about stereotypes, supportive people, forms of oppression, gay marriage, talking about sexuality with family members and more during his lectures. The group discussed stereotypes such as homosexuals are bad parents, female athletes are lesbians and gays are all artists.

Although Hart said he doesn't ban any topic or conversation, he limits how much time is spent on them because religion often comes up and hours could be spent conversing on that topic alone.

"I think something like this is extremely needed," said Shawn Altier, a 19-year-old OU-Z student from Corning. "Where I'm from, it's a small town. There's nothing like this where I'm from. From what I've seen, and friends here, it's not shunned, but people don't understand."

Hart has been director of the center in Athens for the past nine years, traveling to college campuses all over to speak about awareness for the LGBT community, but he has spoke on LGBT awareness issues since 1990, when he let family and friends know he was gay.

"I think there's probably a false notion out there that it's easy to be gay anywhere, and it's not. I do think rural areas tend to feel less supportive, but really if you feel supported in your life by those around you, you will be supported," Hart said. "The reality is, LGBT people are everywhere in society, in every culture. It's not something you can wish away."

Additional Facts

For more information about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center at Ohio University Athens, go to www.ohio.edu/lgbt.

For more information about GLASS, contact Justin Kish, academic advisor at Zane State College, at (740) 588-1371 or Jkish@zanestate.edu.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 regarding fair use of copyrighted work, this material is distributed without profit for information, research, and educational purposes. The Consortium has no affiliation whatsoever with the originators of these articles nor is the Consortium endorsed or sponsored by the originators.

Questions or concerns should be directed to articles@lgbtcampus.org

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