Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.11.14
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. Central Florida Future - GWU student an inspiration
2. Hamilton Spectator - Mac athletics and queer student group partner to fight homophobia in sports
3. CNN - Male, female or neither? Gender identity debated at same-sex colleges
4. The Tufts Daily - Senator reaches out to Greeks on LGBT concerns
5. Inside Higher Ed - Transgender Pioneer
6. AnnArbor.com - Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office
7. WWMT - Gay pride flag burned at Albion College
8. CNN AC360 Blog - Student's lawyer speaks out on Shirvell's firing
9. The Boston Globe - Antigay slur painted on car at UMass Dartmouth
10. The Badger Herald - LGBT issues at UW: Bullying and Beyond
11. The Concordian - Considering the queer-friendliness of Montreal’s Universities
12. Detroit Free Press - Shirvell's dismissal was well-earned
13. News Channel 5 WTVF - Belmont University Denies Gay Student Group
14. KSCW - UCM Students Rally Against Hate Following Homophobic Vandalism
15. The Herald News - UMass Dartmouth taking anti-gay slur 'very seriously'
16. LaCrosse Tribune - Another hate-crime incident reported at UW-Whitewater
17. The Fairfield Mirror - Candlelight Vigil: Proving “Princeton Review” Wrong?
18. Chicago Sun-Times - Wedding announcement costs gay educator her job
19. CBS News - Experts Fear Tyler Clementi Suicide Copycats
20. News Channel 5 WTVF - Sexual Orientation Question Could Be Added On College Apps
21. The State Journal-Register - Benedictine defends actions leading to gay woman's departure
22. University of Louisville - Transgender Week of Awareness
23. Democrat Herald - Crude posters put up during film screening
24. Boston Herald - Transgender people find their voice at NC school
25. The Indy Channel - Gay Fraternity Launches At IU: Sigma Phi Beta Expands To Bloomington Campus
26. The Temple News - Massachusetts leaders debate gay marriage on campus
1. Central Florida Future, November 7, 2010
11825 High Tech Ave. Ste. 100, Orlando, FL 32817
GWU student an inspiration
By Our Stance
Kye Allums never shies away from the spotlight; as a student athlete, he's grown accustomed to media attention.
This past week, Allums reached celebrity status when he made a brave move by admitting something that had been bothering him for quite some time.
The 20-year-old junior at George Washington University is the first openly transgendered individual to play in Division I college basketball.
This means that although Allums is genetically female, he identifies as male, and he plans to have gender reassignment surgery when he is finished with college.
Transgender individuals often describe themselves as being trapped; they feel that mentally they are one sex while their body is another.
This is not a decision people make, this is the way they are born.
Allums struggled with this burden his whole life. Through high school he identified himself as a lesbian, but during his freshman year he began to realize that he didn't feel comfortable when people referred to him using feminine pronouns.
Then one day after a conversation with his mother in which she called him "young lady" he realized that he no longer identified with the female gender.
Allums originally wanted to keep his discovery private so it wouldn't affect his eligibility to play college basketball, but when he learned there was nothing barring transgendered students from playing, he decided to make his gender identity public.
"It made me mad because I shouldn't have to feel like this, I shouldn't have to feel like I should even have to go through this and say anything about myself," Allums told The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper at GWU. "In reality, in this world, you have to feel like that because people just don't understand."
Because he does play on the women's basketball team, he is waiting until after graduation to begin hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
He feared there would be a negative backlash from both the media and the general population, but there has been an overwhelmingly positive response.
Allums took a major leap of faith by revealing his struggle to the media, especially considering the sporting world isn't known for being a friendly environment for members of the LGBTQ community.
With people like Tim Hardaway — a retired NBA star who admitted hating gay people in 2007 — many athletes are afraid to be open about their sexuality, and they feel the need to hide or live in fear of ridicule or harassment.
Every movement needs a leader, someone who shows others that it is OK to be themselves. For transgendered men and women in sports, Allums is definitely that kind of leader.
We couldn't be more proud of the bravery shown by this young man; it took an unbelievable amount of strength to admit something so personal to a world that tends to be harsh and not understanding.
In this instance, though, the general population has deemed Allums a hero, and he has gained national applause for the courageous move he made.
Allums worried about coming out to his teammates, and his coach in particular. He said religious comments in the past made him worry that his coach — Mike Bozeman — wouldn't be accepting or would begin to treat him differently.
But there was no effect on Bozeman's perception of Allums, which is the way it should be.
"We're a basketball family, and I just immediately felt like I needed to support Kye in any way possible, as I would any other student athlete that's under my watch," Bozeman told the Hatchet.
A person's sexuality or gender in no way makes them incapable of playing sports, or doing anything else, for that matter.
We are all people, and as such, we shouldn't face discrimination.
This past week, the LGBTQ community made a major stride thanks to one brave student-athlete.
We hope others follow Allums' lead and no longer fear negative repercussions when it comes to being open about their sexuality or gender identity.
2. Hamilton Spectator, November 7, 2010
44 Frid Street, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3G3
Mac athletics and queer student group partner to fight homophobia in sports
By Danielle Wong
Memories of being bullied in high school can deter queer students from joining a university sports team, but McMaster University’s athletics and recreation is setting its sights on changing that.
Athletes and department staff, decked out in maroon Marauder gear, are marching for the first time in the campus Pride Parade Monday afternoon to promote inclusivity and unity with a historically-marginalized group, said sports leagues and camps co-ordinator Andrew Pettit.
The department also partnered with the Queer Students Community Centre (QSCC) to organize “Positive Space” training for all their full-time recreation staff and several part-time employees last week, Pettit said, adding it was the first time they came forward as a group to participate in the program.
“The idea is not just to walk and support,” he said. “(It’s) actually to know the issues and challenges that face them, to take a more educated approach to supporting them. … It’s a really positive step forward.”
QSCC co-ordinator Tabatha Fernandez-Sardina Bradley, 21, said marching together is a sign of solidarity.
The two groups have been stereotypically polarized, she said.
“In high school, it’s always the jocks, the gays. And reaching out and showing that isn’t true goes such a long way to making McMaster an inclusive community.”
But they still have many myths to dispel on both sides, the political science student said. “We all survived middle school and high school. There’s always this knee-jerk reaction (that says) ‘Oh, it’s sports. I can’t do that. … They’re going to call me nasty names,’” she said. “It’s ignorance, not malice. You don’t know what you’re saying is hurting somebody.”
Pettit agreed. While improvements have been made to debunk homophobia in sports, athletics is still an area where it’s acceptable to make comments that are unintentionally insensitive, he said.
McMaster is a thoughtful community, Pettit said, but there are still phrases used such as: “You’re tired — man up!” and “Don’t be gay, let’s go!”
Fernandez-Sardina Bradley, who is an avid swimmer, said members of the QSCC community tend to participate in individual sports, but are wary of team sports.
“It’s not that gay people aren’t into sports; it’s just we tend to gravitate toward sports that are self-reliant and (in which) we won’t have to hang out in the locker-room afterward,” she said.
QSCC member and life science student Spencer Jenkyns, who is trying out for dragon boating and hopefully soccer at McMaster this year, agreed.
“In individual sports, there’s not so much interacting with everyone else,” the 26-year-old said. “(In) team-based sports, you have a multitude of different opinions. It’s difficult to come out from that. It still is.”
Pettit, who is working on higher participation rates from historically marginalized groups this year, said by showing up in maroon for the parade Monday, it gets the discussion going and signals a welcome to other groups.
But the shakeup in sports culture won’t be overnight, he said.
“There will likely be some angst on both groups’ part. … How do we redefine (ourselves into) a more positive sports culture going forward? There’s going to be some angst around that change, but I think we have enough strong people committed to ideals that we’ll get there.”
One first step is training their literal whistle-blowers, such as referees, to stop athletes who call other players offensive names for example, and use the moment as an educational opportunity, Pettit said.
Fernandez-Sardina Bradley said she is already seeing a change in the McMaster sports culture. Two weeks ago, the department had e-mailed her a proof of an ad for the semifinal football game against Queen’s University that referred to “queens,” and asked her how she felt about it, she said.
After her input, the ad campaign was redesigned.
Something as small as that e-mail helped create a positive atmosphere on campus, Fernandez-Sardina Bradley said.
“That meant a lot of me as a person, as a service. … Five years ago, that would not have happened.”
3. CNN, November 8, 2010
1 CNN Center, Atlanta, GA
Male, female or neither? Gender identity debated at same-sex colleges
By Stephanie Chen
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- When Kevin Murphy entered as a freshman at Mount Holyoke, a Massachusetts women's college, in 2003, he was female. By the time he received his diploma, he was male.
Phillip Hudson, who attended Morehouse, an all-male historically black college in Georgia, calls himself androgynous, meaning he doesn't identify with masculine or feminine identity norms.
The two men represent a debate that is brewing at some of the nation's same-sex colleges. For these colleges, which have historically defied boundaries and challenged the status quo, a new test of tolerance has surfaced: How are they handling gender identity?
Defining gender on same-sex campuses has become murky as some students say they fall outside the conventional male-female gender binary. More schools are encountering complicated cases where not all students at men's colleges identify as male and not all students at women's colleges identify as female.
The diversity of gender expression comes in many forms, from individuals who consider themselves androgynous or nongender-conforming to students who are transgender or in the process of changing their sex. Transgender people are often defined as those who do not identify with the gender they were at birth.
At Smith College, a women's institution in Massachusetts, the junior class president is Roth, who recently transitioned from female to male. Roth asked to be identified only by his first name.
At Morehouse College, the issue of cross-dressing students emerged on campus last year. A handful of the male students wore women's clothing, purses and high heels.
"You don't have to conform to one idea on what it means to be a masculine male in order to be successful, and the same way with women," said Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride, a resource network dedicated to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender college students.
At the center of the controversy is whether men's and women's colleges should allow transgender or nongender-conforming students to stay on campus when the purpose of same-sex schools is to cater to a single gender. Same-sex schools continue to admit only a single sex, but once the student is enrolled, the rules are less clear.
Most schools don't have specific policies to address nongender-conforming or transgender students, said Genny Beemyn, who has studied transgender issues on campus and is on the board of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transgender people. Only a little more than 300 out of 4,000 colleges have added gender status to their nondiscrimination protection clauses.
"Colleges don't think they have a need to do it, and in my opinion, that's a wrong mindset," Beemyn said. "It's reactionary, and it's waiting until you have a crisis before you do anything."
In 2003, a student-led initiative at Smith College replaced gender-specific language in the student government constitution such as "she" and "her" with more neutral terms. Other students have advocated for gender inclusiveness through the National Student Genderblind Campaign, a grassroots network that promotes gender-neutral policies.
Patricia VandenBerg, communications director at Mount Holyoke College, said the school does not have a specific policy to address transgender students or nongender-conforming students -- the only hard rule is that Mount Holyoke can admit only women.
"We admit women," VandenBerg said. "We graduate students. They develop as they develop."
On Morehouse's quaint campus, signs banning women's clothing are visible inside buildings. The rules have been strictly enforced, students say.
Last year, administrators implemented a dress code that no longer allowed women's apparel, including dresses, tops, purses and pumps. The administration declined to comment on the dress code, and the rules still stand, said Elise Durham, media relations manager at Morehouse.
Read about Morehouse's clothing ban passed last year
Kevin Webb, a Morehouse senior and president of the gay student group Safe Space, said parts of the dress code contradict the school's historic tradition of acceptance. He said the school should embrace a wide spectrum of male students, instead of imposing a narrow definition of masculinity.
"We are all humans, students," he said. "We should be able to experience things, including cross-dressing. If we take those moments away, we have failed them during the four years. We haven't allowed them to grow."
Identifying with a different gender can be challenging on college campuses, according to The 2010 "State of Higher Education for LGBT People" report by Campus Pride. The survey examined responses from more than 5,000 students, faculty members and administrators at colleges and universities across the U.S. and found that respondents who identified as transmasculine, transfeminine and nongender-conforming experienced higher rates of harassment.
Nearly 40 percent of transfeminine and transmasculine respondents experienced harassment on campus, the study showed. About 31 percent of nongender-conforming students experienced harassment.
In comparison, the study found that about 20 percent of men and women experienced harassment.
Phillip Hudson, 21, who identifies as androgynous, was a student at Morehouse studying communications last year when the women's clothing ban took place. Towering at more than 6-foot-4, he liked wearing makeup and lip gloss. He often sported his Marc Jacobs tote bag and Ugg boots on campus.
His fashion choices and sexuality sometimes brought harassment and ridicule on campus, he said.
"I do understand it's an all-male school," said Hudson, who transferred to a college in Florida this year. "If you want to have a uniform for us to wear, that's fine, but don't pass policies that are specifically targeting a few people."
Kevin Murphy, now 25, who entered Mount Holyoke as a woman and graduated as a man, said the school was safe and supportive. However, there were many times when he still felt left out.
"I often felt very lonely and lost a lot of people I cared about," he wrote in an e-mail.
Cade, a 19-year-old student from California at Mount Holyoke studying computer science, identifies as gender queer and is transitioning to become a male. Cade is planning on taking hormones this year.
"It's a very small percentage of the population that has that reaction," said Cade, who declined to give a last name for privacy reasons. "A lot times, it's, 'This is a women's space. Why are you here?' "
While little has been studied about nongender-conforming students on same-sex campuses, some academics are beginning to examine the issue. The topic also became a part of a Sundance documentary show called "TransGeneration" in 2005.
Colleges may view allowing the opposite gender -- or what is perceived to be the opposite gender -- to remain on campus to be damaging to the school's reputation, explains Susan Marine, assistant dean of student life at Harvard College in Massachusetts, who wrote a dissertation on women's colleges and transgender students.
After interviewing more than 30 administrators at women's colleges, Marine said there are concerns that alumni will react negatively to the idea of allowing cross-dressing or nongender-conforming students on campus. As a result, they could refuse to donate money to the school.
"The colleges are in a very unique position," she said. "How do they preserve their identity when student identities are being called into question?"
Some students say their same-sex colleges are welcoming when it comes to changing genders.
At Smith College, Roth, 20, said he was admitted to the school as a woman. He says he grew up in a conservative Asian-American household and was surprised to encounter a "whatever floats your boat mentality" from fellow Smith classmates.
During the second semester of his freshman year in 2009, he started taking hormones. He underwent top surgery last summer, a process that included the removal of his breasts.
"It [Smith] definitely helped me transition faster," said Roth, who, even as a man, was elected junior class president last year.
4. The Tufts Daily, November 8, 2010
Curtis Hall, Medford, MA 02155
Senator reaches out to Greeks on LGBT concerns
By Corinne Segal
Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senator Logan Cotton has initiated a dialogue aimed at making Greek life more accessible to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students.
In a recent e-mail to the LGBT Center listserv, Cotton, a sophomore and Theta Delta Chi (123) brother, requested suggestions for ways to create safe environments for LGBT students within the Greek community.
"Our goal is to establish a greater level of understanding between the LGBT community and the Greek community so that the two can interact and support one another without the barriers of animosity to obstruct," Cotton said in the e-mail.
Cotton further elaborated in an interview with the Daily that, based on his conversations with students, there was a perception that Greek life was somehow incompatible with the LGBT community.
"People told me that there were a lot of ways that Greek life, implicitly or explicitly, can be inhospitable to students who identify as LGBTQ," Cotton said.
Cotton said establishing a positive relationship between the LGBT and Greek communities would be mutually beneficial.
"I know how big a role Greek life played for me when I first came to Tufts," Cotton said. "I think it's a shame if a student can't take advantage of all the opportunities because the environments that are created are inhospitable, but I also think it's a real loss for Greek life in general if Greek life can't capitalize on having such fantastic leaders as the LGBT students in our community."
TCU Senator Tabias Wilson, the chair of the Senate's Culture, Ethnicity and Community Affairs (CECA) Committee, is working with Cotton on the initiative and said that the goal is to establish the Greek chapters as "safe spaces" on campus.
A safe space, according to Wilson, a sophomore, is a place where students can be comfortable with their identity.
"A safe space is a place where you don't necessarily need to be cognizant about what identity you may have," Wilson, a Theta Chi brother, said. "If you have to go into a place and you act like you have to take certain precautions because of an identity you have … that's probably not a safe space."
Discussion about LGBT life within Greek houses began during the Pride Flag initiative, in which students were encouraged to hang rainbow flags from their house and dorm room windows to show support for the LGBT community, according to Cotton's e-mail.
"Many members of the Greek community, after having been made aware of the degree to which their houses are considered hostile environments for many members of the LGBT community, turned to the LGBT Center for answers," Cotton said in the e-mail.
Wilson said that students often perceive Greek life as unwelcoming of LGBT students.
"Just because it's a Greek system doesn't mean it has to be an unsafe place. I think a lot of times that people get that misconception," he said. "If that's true, then that should probably be changed."
Wilson said that the discussions are still in the early stages with no concrete plans in place.
Cotton hopes that there will be a result to the discussion in time for Greek recruitment.
"The eventual goal … is to have something ready by spring rush that incorporates [the Inter-Greek Council,] that incorporates Senate, hopefully, and that works with the [Group of Six] centers," Cotton said.
LGBT Center Director Tom Bourdon praised the Greek houses for their involvement in the pride flag campaign.
"We did see a lot of support coming from different Greek chapters around the whole rainbow flag initiative," he said.
Bourdon said he has contacted Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Tanya McGinn Paolo about future ways to create safe spaces within Greek chapters.
"When Tanya came on board, she and I connected and started talking immediately about how we could hopefully work together," he said.
Interfraternity Council President Alex Stein said that Greek chapters have recently shown their support for the LGBT community.
"I do understand, by and large, frats and sororities showed a lot of support for Coming Out Day and for solidarity week," Stein, a junior, said.
Stein said that he did not have any additional knowledge about the initiative and declined further comment.
Bourdon said individual students affiliated with the Greek system have shown support for on-campus LGBT life in private conversations.
"I had a lot of fraternity and sorority members talk to me directly about how they want to show support for the community," he said. "There's been tons of positive feedback and very intentional signs of support coming from different Greek chapters."
Bourdon hopes to create a tip sheet to help Greek houses become safe spaces for LGBT students. He also said he and Cotton had raised the possibility of having a safe space competition.
"What we're doing is just brainstorming," Bourdon said. "I think it'll continue to grow and relationship-building can take years, but I think we have a lot of people who are interested."
5. Inside Higher Ed, November 8, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
By David Moltz
Last week, the George Washington University junior and player on the women’s basketball team publicly came out as a transgender man. Allums is believed by many to be the first openly transgender person to play Division I college basketball, though not the first to play on an intercollegiate team.
Though he has been open about his transgender status with his teammates and coaches for a while, Allums changed his legal name in September. Then, last month, he approached the university about being referred to as a male.
“It was definitively nerve-racking,” Allums said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if my teammates [or other people at the university] would get angry or not talk to me anymore. … But every person surprised me. … They were fine with it.”
As news of his decision to come out spreads beyond the team, though, Allums noted that he must address a number of misconceptions.
“A lot of people think I’m a guy right now and that I’m trying to be a girl, or people don’t understand how my body is, or people think I’m taking testosterone,” Allums said. “Right now, my body is biologically female. … But, after college, I plan on taking hormones.”
Allums said his decision to delay hormone treatment was primarily influenced by how this process could jeopardize his National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility and, as a result, his athletic scholarship.
“Me personally, I wouldn’t want to take any substance that’s banned already to enhance performance,” said Allums, referring to testosterone. “I mean, basketball, that’s what’s paying for my school. … It’s illegal to take a substance like that while you’re playing sports.”
Allums, who is an interior design major, said he has no intention of playing basketball professionally after college.
“Still, if I took testosterone and played after college, then I would want to play against guys,” Allums said. “I mean, I play against guys for fun right now. But playing with [men] is not a big issue for me.”
Allums is looking forward to this Saturday, when he and his team are scheduled to open their regular season at the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis. Allums grew up in nearby Hugo, Minn., so he is anxious about the homecoming.
“I’ve gotten a lot of messages and e-mails from people who played with me in junior high and high school that I haven’t talked to in ages,” Allums said. “But I don’t really have to think about anything but me and me playing basketball … so I’ll be ready.”
University officials would not make Mike Bozeman, women’s basketball head coach, or any of Allums’s teammates available to Inside Higher Ed for comment, noting that they have “respectfully declined” all further interviews about Kye’s decision so that they can fully concentrate on the team’s upcoming season.
Last week, however, Bozeman and Ivy Abiona, senior captain of the women’s team, spoke in support of Kye and his decision at a university press conference.
“Kye has decided to live as a male student and be referred to as a male,” Bozeman told reporters. “George Washington University supports Kye and his right to make this decision.”
Abiona echoed her coach’s words and told reporters that she is not worried about opposing fan reaction to Allums.
“I think we have a pretty good idea of what to expect,” Abiona said. “We’ve played against tough crowds, and we’re going to continue to play against tough crowds. And as long as we’re united, we’re a team and we’re a family, we’ll be OK.”
Currently, the NCAA has no formal policy on transgender athletes, but it does recommend that institutions follow classifications on athletes’ identification documents, such as driver’s licenses or voter registration cards. Still, it is up to individual institutions whether to designate an athlete as male or female.
In hopes of creating a national standard, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation released last month a report outlining when athletes should have the option of playing on men’s teams, women’s teams or either. The report divided its recommendations into those for transgender students undergoing hormone treatments and those who are not. Under these recommendations, George Washington would be urged to allow Allums to choose whether to play on the men's team or the women's.
Helen J. Carroll, one of the report’s co-authors and director of the center’s sports project, praised George Washington’s handling of Allums’s decision to come out.
“I think they’re basically a model for how to handle an athlete who is transgender and needed to be out,” Carroll told Inside Higher Ed. “It’s very commendable that they looked outside of the athletic department for expertise to help the athletic department understand who a transgender person is and what to do here. It’s great that they involved the dean of students and the communications department as well. … The communications department and the sports information department worked well together to … manage everything so that the story doesn’t overtake the basketball team.”
Still, Carroll acknowledged it could become more complicated for institutions to accommodate transgender athletes if they decide to undergo hormone treatment during college instead of after, like Allums.
“I expect a transgender student-athlete, at some point very near in the future, to play in their gender identity and that the NCAA will figure out the correct policies for that to happen,” Carroll said. “Hopefully those model policies will follow those in our report. … The NCAA is very happy that there’s a report out there that is so detailed with medical information and just what the very best thinking is right now on this. … There will be a learning curve for everybody.”
In the meantime, Allums has advice for other transgender athletes who are considering coming out.
“Just hang in there,” Allums said. “It does get better. You just have to take it day by day and focus on the things you can actually change in the moment. … Also, just be around people who support you. Just focus on those people that are important to you.”
6. AnnArbor.com, November 8, 2010
301 E. Liberty St., Suite 700, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office
By David Jesse
Andrew Shirvell has been fired from his job as a Michigan assistant state attorney general, his attorney said this afternoon.
Shirvell was fired for using state resources for his campaign against University of Michigan student body President Chris Armstrong and for lying to investigators during his disciplinary hearing, Attorney General Mike Cox said in a statement.
Shirvell was called before the attorney general’s staff at 1:30 p.m. today, said Philip Thomas, Shirvell’s attorney.
“The only reason they gave was the fact that they felt his actions had made it impossible for him to continue in his role,” Thomas said.
Shirvell has been under fire for weeks for comments he made about Armstrong, who is openly gay. Shirvell has shown up at public events to condemn Armstrong’s “radical homosexual agenda.”
In a written statement, Cox said Shirvell was fired for "conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an assistant attorney general."
"To be clear, I refuse to fire anyone for exercising their First Amendment rights, regardless of how popular or unpopular their positions might be," Cox said in the statement. "However, Mr. Shirvell repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately used state resources, our investigation showed.
Cox's investigation into Shirvell showed he:
-Showed up at Armstrong's home three separate times, including once at 1:30 a.m. "That incident is especially telling because it clearly was about harassing Mr. Armstrong, not engaging in free speech," the statement said.
-"Engaged in behavior that, while not perhaps sufficient to charge criminal stalking, was harassing, uninvited and showed a pattern that was in the everyday sense, stalking."
-Harassed Armstrong's friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor.
-Called Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, Armstrong's employer, in an attempt to "slander Armstrong and ultimately attempting to cause Pelosi to fire Armstrong.
-Attempted to "out" Armstrong's friends as homosexual — several of whom aren't gay.
The investigation found Shirvell engaged in his campaign on company time, Cox said. Shirvell called Pelosi's office while at work, during working hours, and sometimes posted online attacks about Armstrong while at work, the statement said.
In addition, Cox's statement said, Shirvell lied to investigating assistant attorneys general on several occasions during his disciplinary hearing.
"The cumulative effects of his use of state resources, harassing conduct that is not protected by the First Amendment, and his lies during the disciplinary conference all demonstrate adequate evidence of conduct unbecoming a state employee," the statement said. "Ultimately, Mr. Shirvell's conduct has brought his termination from state service."
Shirvell met for four hours on Friday with a panel made up of officials from the Attorney General’s Office. Shirvell has claimed his actions were both protected by Constitutional rights of free speech and were conducted away from his work on off-hours.
“I think it’s most unfortunate,” Thomas said. “This whole thing has a political aroma to me. I think my client is a victim of the liberal media piling on. In the first stories about this, (Attorney General Mike Cox) was quoted as saying that my client was doing this on his own time. What’s changed since then?”
The panel that conducted the hearing gave a summary to Cox, who decided to fire Shirvell, Cox’s spokesman, John Sellek, said in an e-mail.
"I think it's great that he was finally fired," said U-M third-year student Martell Lyons. "He really was abusing his position and I think he was stalking (Armstrong). I wish this would have happened sooner."
After Friday’s hearing, Thomas said he and Shirvell were expecting to come back before the panel on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, Thomas said he had a message on his office’s answering machine on Saturday, moving the time of the hearing up to today.
“I’m not sure what happened between Friday afternoon and Saturday,” Thomas said, adding he'll be consulting with his client on the next steps.
Shirvell has successfully appealed a University of Michigan order that barred him from any U-M owned property. The U-M Department of Public Safety modified the order last week.
But Shirvell stills faces complaints before the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. Armstrong and his attorney, Deborah Gordon, have asked the commission to disbar Shirvell.
Gordon issued a statement today praising the firing. She also said she and Armstrong are pushing forward with their request to have Shirvell disbarred on the basis that he is not fit to be licensed to practice law, and said they continue to consider additional legal options.
"This clearly is the correct decision by the Attorney General's Office," Gordon said in her statement. "The next step must be a complete retraction of all the malicious lies and fabrications by Mr. Shirvell, and a public apology to Chris Armstrong, his family and the others Mr. Shirvell has slandered.
"It is past time for Shirvell to realize that there are consequences for his reckless, outrageous statements and actions and that he is solely responsible for those consequences."
David Jesse covers higher education for AnnnArbor.com. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 734-623-2534.
7. WWMT, November 8, 2010
590 West Maple Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Gay pride flag burned at Albion College
By News Channel 3
Click link for video.
Controversy is brewing at Albion College.
In October, three students burned a gay pride flag during 'coming out week.'
At Albion College, they pride themselves in being diverse, but now some students believe the school's image may have been tarnished after someone burned the gay pride flag there.
“We are so open here, who would do this,” said Albion junior Becky Cotteleer, “it's a little disturbing.”
Cotteleer says she was shocked to learn that during the school's gay pride week activities fellow classmates burned a gay pride flag.
“We try to be an open campus,” said Cotteleer, “if someone wants to silence another group, I don't know whether that's fair.”
Fair or not, some students on campus say it's simply a matter of free speech.
“They have every right to express themselves,” said Albion junior Taylor Polzin, “as much as the gay pride group does.”
College officials wouldn't comment on the specifics of the flag burning.
“This is a privacy matter,” said Sarah Briggs, Albion College Asst. Dir. of Communications, “I can't comment any specific way.”
While not commenting directly, Albion official say the college took matters into its own hands and acted accordingly.
“The college did a thorough investigation and addressed it appropriately at the time,” said Briggs.
The college wouldn't say whether disciplinary actions were taken against the students involved in the flag burning, but says the school is making a conscious effort to protect all of its students.
“We will make sure our campus is respectful for all people,” said Briggs.
Albion College also says it is creating what is called a safe place for its LGBT students where such students can go to receive help if needed.
8. CNN AC360 Blog, November 9, 2010
1 CNN Center, Atlanta, GA
Student's lawyer speaks out on Shirvell's firing
By CNN Wire Staff
Click link for video.
An assistant attorney general in Michigan is out of a job, fired after targeting an openly gay University of Michigan student leader online and in person - then lying about his actions to investigators - state Attorney General Mike Cox said Monday.
Andrew Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources," Cox said.
The lawyer for Chris Armstrong, the university's student body president, lauded the decision by Cox to axe Shirvell.
"It's inexplicable - he knows nothing about Chris," attorney Deborah Gordon said on CNN's "AC 360" about Shirvell, who claimed that Armstrong was a "racist, elitist liar" and "privileged pervert."
"We're very gratified that justice was done ... and, for the time, Shirvell is going to be held responsible," Gordon said.
Shirvell's lawyer, Philip J. Thomas, acknowledged his client's termination to CNN but did not comment further. He told the Detroit Free Press that his client was "devastated" by Cox's announcement, claiming that Shirvell's bosses gave him positive reviews and knew of his activities outside work.
"This smells political to me," Thomas told the newspaper. "There's been a tremendous piling-on against Andrew. The liberal media started this tempest in a teapot."
Gordon responded by telling CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday night that she felt it was "pathetic and lame for (Shirvell) to be whining about being bullied."
9. The Boston Globe, November 9, 2010
P.O. Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819
Antigay slur painted on car at UMass Dartmouth
By Stewart Bishop
An openly gay student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was the target of harassment over the weekend, when he discovered hate speech painted on his car, school officials said.
John Hoey, UMass Dartmouth spokesman, said that on Saturday afternoon the student found his car vandalized with a homophobic slur scrawled across the side in spray paint.
In an interview last night, Hoey expressed surprise at the incident and said UMass Dartmouth has a proud tradition of tolerance and diversity.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before,’’ Hoey said. “This is a very isolated incident.’’
Hoey said campus police are conducting a full investigation into the incident and university officials are taking steps to let students know there is help available if they are subject to harassment.
“This is something we take very seriously,’’ Hoey said. “Our campus police and office of student affairs are working to make sure people understand this kind of behavior is not tolerated.’’
In a statement to the UMass Dartmouth community, Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack called the incident not just a crime against an individual, but an affront to the very essence of the college community.
“As members of a community that highly value every person, we must join together to condemn this cowardly act,’’ MacCormack said. “We must join in support of this student and all members of our GLBT [Gay and Lesbian Bisexual Transgender] community who — like all of us — seek to be treated with respect and dignity as they pursue their dreams and aspirations here.’’
The crime occurred as school officials across the country grapple with harassment issues in response to suicides of gay teenagers and college students in recent months, many of which are believed to be tied to bullying.
Adam Lawrence, a senior and executive board member of Pride Alliance, a student group supportive of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, said the issue was very troubling and had been the focus of much discussion on campus.
“Of course we totally condemn this act of hatred and hope the person or persons responsible are found and dealt with appropriately by school officials and the police,’’ Lawrence said.
He also said the incident was extremely unusual for the school.
MacCormack urged anyone with information related to the incident to contact the UMass Dartmouth Department of Public Safety.
Stewart Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. The Badger Herald, November 9, 2010
326 W. Gorham St., Madison, WI 53703-2017
LGBT issues at UW: Bullying and Beyond
By Adelaide Blanchard
Click link for video.
As if one was not appalling enough, this Sunday the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater had its second alleged hate crime on its campus this semester.
On Sunday night, a female student was held against a fence by a man with another man close by, according to a statement from the UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer. Before they let her go, they made a derogatory statement about her “perceived sexual orientation.”
The incident is part of a national surge in crimes against students and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
At the end of September, a student at Rutgers University committed suicide after being the victim of cruel bullying.
Schools in Wisconsin have been no exception. Earlier in October, another woman at UW-Whitewater was assaulted for wearing a “Legalize Gay” T-shirt. Later that month, a professor at UW-Eau Claire sent an e-mail discouraging a student from hosting an LGBT themed film festival so as to not advocate the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Homophobic acts gaining attention on campus, state and national levels often involve overt violence. Thoughtless comments and intolerant attitudes, however, can be equally damaging and just as serious.
The majority of campus at UW-Madison identifies as heterosexual, an orientation that comes with certain privileges. Having such privileges may cause normally conscientious students to ignore or even take part in bullying.
Bullying: before a hate crime roars to a boil
New anti-bullying campaigns at UW and homophobic incidents across the country have shown bullying has followed students into maturity, and what was thought to be a problem bound to swing sets and high school halls has now morphed into a serious problem for adults.
Dean of Students Lori Berquam, who identifies herself as gay, has championed LGBT programs and campaigns at UW and knows the sting of bullying. When she lived in the dorms at UW-La Crosse, someone wrote, albeit incorrectly, “Dike” on her room’s message board.
While she said she found the incident and perpetrator’s clear incompetence based on the spelling of the word amusing at the time, she said it would have been a different story had she not been comfortable with herself.
Similar incidents currently plague UW residence halls, said Magpie Martinez, director for Diversity Programs for University Housing.
It is easier for University Housing to address homophobic incidents when the victim can say what happened to him or her and who did it, she said.
Anonymous incidents, however, such as someone writing homophobic, hateful language on the whiteboard of a resident’s door can not only leave no suspects, but also make the resident feel unsafe.
Bullying does not stop outside the residence halls. Robin Matheis, director of the LGBT Campus Center, said when a student is active and ‘out’ on the UW campus, they can get glares from passersby.
Heterosexual people do not realize how often ‘out’ LGBT students get glared at and looked at when manning booths for the center, she said.
“They work with [the campus center] and they are working a table, and they have to deal with funny looks and whispers and snide comments,” Matheis said.
While the campus has room to improve its inclusiveness and tolerance, an open records request filed with the Division of Student Life, UW Legal and the Office of Equity and Diversity yielded no formal complaints relating to the maltreatment of LGBT students.
Failed that biochemistry exam? Lost your Wiscard? Missed your bus?
That is so gay, right?
While it is extremely inappropriate to use ethnic, racial and religious terms as substitutes for insults and expletives, it is still common to hear terms that refer to homosexuality used derogatively.
What is most startling is words like ‘gay’ and ‘fag’ are often interchangeable with ‘lame’ and ‘stupid,’ said Steven Petrow, author of ‘Straight Talk’ and ‘Queeries,’ which has been featured in the Huffington Post.
While using homosexual slurs is not as severe as assault or violence, it is still evidence of homophobia and intolerance. There are different shades of it, Petrow said, and they range from using bigoted language to being overtly and maliciously violent.
The antidote for dropping these insults? An apology. However elementary it may seem, having the courage to admit having wrongly used ‘gay’ and ‘fag’ goes a long way, Petrow said.
But an apology cannot fix everything, and sometimes ignorant language is only a part of the problem.
Martinez said students who grew up with an attitude which may not have been welcoming or accepting to LGBT people will not immediately shed it when they enter the university, and there can be some animosity toward LGBT students in the residence halls.
However, Martinez said the Diversity Programs in the residence halls have programs like How to Be an Ally and Speak Up, which Martinez implemented herself and stresses tolerance and respect for all.
Martinez said the atmosphere in the residence halls toward LGBT students is analogous to the attitudes in the state of Wisconsin.
“Society really makes [people who identify as LGBT] second class citizens based on some of the laws and things that are out there,” Mattheis said.
Coming out: an ongoing process
Last month LGBTCC held a series of events during the week of Oct. 10 to celebrate Coming Out Month. Students could stride out of a cardboard closet on Library Mall and listen to poet Alix Olsen at A Room of One’s Own bookstore.
The events highlight and celebrate a difficult transition that LGBT people go through and continue to go through throughout their lives.
Heterosexual students do not often realize it is a privilege, Matheis said, to not have to come out on a regular basis to fellow students, family and colleagues.
“If you are heterosexual, you think nothing about sharing that. It is just out there. If you are [gay or lesbian] it is something you are extremely conscious about,” Berquam said.
When someone comes out, it should be received similarly to someone announcing their pregnancy, said Petrow said.
If a friend comes out to you, give them a hug, Petrow said. Thank them for sharing it with you, and ask how private they wish you to keep their disclosure.
Coming out is different for everyone. Petrow said he knew of a little girl who had confidently declared at their dinner table she was a lesbian, as well as middle aged men with families who came out to their children and spouse.
Choosing to reveal one’s sexual identity is not a once in a lifetime matter. People who identify as LGBT must choose whether or not to reveal their sexual orientation to new friends, employers and colleagues.
“[Coming out] is an ongoing process; it almost never ends,” Petrow said.
Equality and inclusiveness on campus
While the current climate for LGBT students and people both on campus and in Wisconsin is nonideal, great progress has been made for equality.
University Health Services provides some essential medical care for students who are going through a gender change, although the Student Health Insurance Plan does not cover surgery, said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, director of UHS.
The LGBTCC’s Stop the Silence anti-bullying campaign has aimed to eliminate bullying at the university level, but the School of Education is looking to increase tolerance at an early age by having its students, who will go on to be teachers, read a book about sexuality and bullying called Freakshow by James St. James.
“We operate from a heterosexual, heterosexist norm. That is the master narrative. It is not that that is wrong, it is, how do you broaden that?” Berquam said.
11. The Concordian, November 9, 2010
Considering the queer-friendliness of Montreal’s Universities
By Katelyn Spidle
Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi was three weeks into his college career when he threw himself off the George Washington bridge and into the Hudson River. He jumped to his death after his roommate broadcasted a video of Clementi engaging in sexual encounter with someone in his dorm room.
The problem of bullying in schools is a topic that inevitably surfaces from time to time. Clementi is one of six reported suicides in the United States which have all been linked to bullying. However, what makes these stories stand out is that these boys were bullied because of their sexual orientation.
The video captured Clementi in the company of another man and was broadcasted by his roommate over Twitter. Several days later, the talented 18-year-old violinist changed his Facebook status to "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."
Clementi's story and the other similar incidents sparked both a national and international outcry, making it obvious that greater awareness and action is needed to tackle the issue of homophobia in schools.
According to the 2009 National School Climate Survey which was conducted in the United States by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, almost 85 per cent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students had experienced verbal harassment at school while just over 40 per cent had experienced physical harassment.
Not much attention has been given to the specific problem of homophobia at the university level, as most discussions focus on bullying that takes place at elementary and high school levels. While five of the six reported suicides were committed by high school students, Clementi was a university student.
"Queer students experience homophobia within every environment, including McGill," says Parker Villalpando, co-administrator of Queer McGill. "In such a large and diverse school, the average student is bound to encounter homophobic acts and attitudes. What matters is how [these] are handled [by the school administration]."
The tragedies which occurred in September have brought attention to where school administrators have gone wrong in handling the issue of homophobia and discrimination in schools. It is also important to note the ways in which both school administrators and students are helping to make their schools safer and more queer-friendly.
In response to these six suicides, students may be asking themselves: how much is Concordia doing to address this underemphasized issue?
The queer-friendliness of Montreal's English-speaking universities
Queer Concordia member Joey Donnelly considers Concordia University to be a queer-friendly school. "Concordia is a progressive university," says Donnelly. "I have never experienced any homophobia."
However, Donnelly's personal experience does not mean that homophobic acts and attitudes do not exist within the Concordia environment. "It's still pervasive in our culture. A lot of stereotypes [and] gender norms are still shoved down people's throats," Donnelly explains.
He also mentions that it is sometimes hard to develop social networks in university which may have the effect of silencing those who have been victimized by homophobia.
Villalpando feels it is impossible to generalize about a university's environment. "Every queer student at McGill has a different experience and therefore a different opinion as to whether the school is queer-friendly or not," says Villalpando. "McGill isn't perfect, but the university has taken several steps to be more inclusive and respectful of its queer students."
Concordia theatre student Klara Eli experienced homophobia at Dawson College, but she believes that Concordia is a queer-friendly school.
"I did have a problem in one of my classes at Dawson and I had to drop that class because the teacher was being a jerk, " says Eli. "I have yet to have a problem [with homophobia] at Concordia. It's a pretty safe place, as far as I know."
The difference between Queer Concordia and Queer McGill
This year, Newsweek published a list of the 25 most gay-friendly schools in the U.S. With no similar list for Canadian universities, it makes one wonder how Concordia's environment would measure up. With a look at the services offered to queer students on Concordia's campus compared to that of McGill, it is hard not to ask whether Concordia is doing as much as McGill in the effort to create a more queer-friendly school.
The GLSEN National School Climate Survey, concluded that the presence of a gay-straight alliance group on campus was related to a decreased incidence of verbal and physical attacks on LGBT students within the school setting. Here in Montreal, both McGill and Concordia University have a queer alliance group whose aim is to create dialogue among the diverse members of the Montreal queer community and act as a resource for those students victimized by homophobia.
Queer McGill was established in 1972 with the name Gay McGill. Queer Concordia is a well established student group but has gone though a succession of names over the many years it has existed. Although both universities have queer alliance groups, there is an important difference between the two.
Queer McGill is a non-profit organization listed under the Students' Society of McGill University, while Queer Concordia is a student club. Queer Concordia is not a fee-levied group and its budget for the school year is a mere $4,000. Although its Facebook page has 406 members, the small budget it has been allotted has severely impeded the degree to which the club can mobilize in accomplishing its goals.
Ultimately, Donnelly would like to see Queer Concordia become a service centre with a structure similar to that of Queer McGill. Unfortunately, its modest annual budget has prevented the club from being able to offer paid positions, which has resulted in an organizational structure that Donnelly describes as a non-hierarchal collective with no authoritative form of decision-making.
On the other hand, Queer McGill's budget is much higher at around $40,000 a year. This allows for paid positions and a hierarchal organizational structure. This has allowed Queer McGill to not only satisfy the needs of its queer population on campus, but to expand its services to the wider population of Montreal's queer youth.
Queer Concordia has a very small office on Mackay Street, which students may visit when in need of a referral. The club has occupied the same space for over a decade and has expanded only so far as to stock its shelves full of books relating to queer studies.
For Eli, Queer Concordia does not have a very strong presence on campus but she says she feels "that the existence of such a club is a step in the right direction."
Meanwhile, Queer McGill has spawned two initiatives in Montreal which cater specifically to queer youth. The first is Queerline, an anonymous call centre which provides referral, listening and support services to queer youth for a wide range of LGBT-related topics. The second is Allies, which works under Queer McGill and is an organization that provides free English-language workshops oriented towards raising awareness about queer issues among high school students and teachers.
If a student at McGill experiences discrimination or bullying due to their sexual orientation, they have the option of filing an equity complaint with the school. The issue will then be addressed by Queer McGill. If faced with the same problem at Concordia, students may approach the club, who will then refer them to organizations such as Head & Hands or Project 10 or Centre 2110, Concordia's location for gender advocacy.
Furthermore, McGill has successfully implemented the designation of gender-neutral bathrooms in most of its university buildings, while Concordia has been fighting various roadblocks to engage in the same project since 2008. Concordia's failure to mobilize on this issue has resulted in recent acts of vandalism in which 12 bathroom stalls in the EV building were anonymously marked as being gender neutral.
The obstacles faced by Queer Concordia demonstrate how difficult it is to create a queer-friendly environment on campus, but such initiatives do exist. Last month, an event called Wear Purple Day was created as a memorial to the six individuals who committed suicide as a result of homophobia. The event, which took place across Canada and the U.S. on Oct. 20, called for people to wear the colour purple to raise awareness about homophobia in hopes that tragedies such as these may cease.
For Donnelly, one event is not enough and he feels that more can be done. "I'm hoping that this Wear Purple Day isn't yet another cyclical news story," he says. "Awareness needs to happen. I hope that there's follow up."
12. Detroit Free Press, November 10, 2010
615 W. Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48226
Shirvell's dismissal was well-earned
Free Press Editorial
Having failed in his mystifying campaign to vilify a gay student assembly leader at the University of Michigan, former Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell is now representing himself as a victim of the "liberal media."
Nothing could be more delusional.
Shirvell's firing Monday by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox was as overdetermined as it was overdue. It was a dismissal triggered not by Shirvell's political views, but by the unethical and extra-legal methods he used to advance them.
From its inception, Shirvell's bizarre preoccupation with the sexual orientation of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong has raised more questions about the assistant prosecutor's own instability than about his target's politics.
Even assuming the sincerity of his conviction that advocates of "the radical homosexual agenda" were undermining the nation's mores, it's hard to fathom why Shirvell regarded Armstrong, essentially a kid attending college, as the extraordinary menace portrayed in Shirvell's online diatribes.
As long as Shirvell chose to express his deluded political views at public gatherings, in leaflets posted around campus, or on his blog, he was arguably within the sphere of his First Amendment rights. But the escalating series of events in which he made undocumented and possibly libelous assertions about Armstrong's conduct and character, photographed the student assembly leader's dorm room in the wee hours of the morning, and publicly "outed" Armstrong's gay and heterosexual associates was more problematic, and more clearly incompatible with Shirvell's already compromised effectiveness as a public servant.
In a statement announcing Shirvell's dismissal, Cox said Shirvell had lied to law enforcement investigators, conducted some of the activities in question during work hours, harassed Armstrong and his friends, and engaged in behavior that bordered on stalking.
Shirvell has hinted at litigation asserting the fatuous claim that his dismissal was choreographed by a liberal lynch mob bent on muzzling his unpopular political views. But his more pressing legal concern may be defending himself against ethics charges leveled by Bloomfield Hills attorney Deborah Gordon, who argues in a complaint filed with the state Attorney Grievance Commission that Shirvell's obsessive pursuit of Armstrong violated the bar's Code of Professional Conduct.
Gordon requests in her complaint that the grievance commission consider suspending or revoking Shirvell's license to practice law "until such time as he can obtain psychological counseling." That would appear to be in Shirvell's own interests, as well as the public's.
13. News Channel 5 WTVF, November 10, 2010
474 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37219
Belmont University Denies Gay Student Group
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Is Belmont University giving gay and lesbian students on campus a raw deal?
Some say yes, after the private university denied them the opportunity to form their own group.
It all started out as a student's idea on Facebook for a gay and lesbian student support group at Belmont University.
"I know a lot of the gay community at Belmont feels marginalized and feels like they don't have a place to meet on campus," said Robbie Maris, president of Bridge Builders.
Robbie Maris believes Bridge Builders would work at Belmont, where diversity is promoted.
But after two years, and even after student groups approved the idea, university officials say it won't happen.
Robbie doesn't understand why his group that was called divisive and problematic was shot down, but Belmont approved the formation of a pro-life student group.
They told NewsChannel 5 in a statement, "Recognizing the importance of mutual respect and diverse opinions from Christian perspectives and the challenges of cultivating such informal dialog on these issues, the university chose not to meet their request, but to create a university-led opportunity for this discussion. Beginning last spring, a university sponsored discussion group on these issues has convened twice monthly and expects to continue for the duration of this academic year.
For Robbie, this isn't enough. "It's for an hour, the group that is bridge builders needs so much more than that two hours that we get to meet a month."
Belmont's decision isn't stopping Robbie from trying to prove his group has student interest. Tuesday, he gathered nearly 600 signatures of support. He'll continue his petition drive next week, and eventually show his results to the university.
14. KSCW, November 10, 2010
2815 E. 37th Street N, Wichita, KS 67219
UCM Students Rally Against Hate Following Homophobic Vandalism
By Monica Evans
Click link for video.
WARRENSBURG, MO - A gay and lesbian support group at the University of Central Missouri says that homophobic vandalism of a homecoming float was hurtful, but that they aren't going to let the incident silence them, and are instead using the incident to promote a message of unity and acceptance.
On Wednesday, "Queers and Allies" held a rally on the campus to let students, staff and faculty know that UCM supports and encourages diversity and inclusiveness. The rally comes after an October incident in which a group of students decorated a float off-campus for homecoming, and later found it vandalized with homophobic slurs and images.
"It was definitely hurtful," said Jay Hicks of Queers and Allies. "I was in tears that morning I was so upset and angry about it."
But instead of staying angry, students on Wednesday put a positive spin on the incident by using it to help educate people about acceptance.
"One little word can make someone tear themselves down inside, and as we saw in the news lately with all the teen who die by suicide, it takes one little act of violence or hatred that turn the tables in their minds," said Hicks.
Rally organizer Jenn Rieskamp says that the incident shook the campus community.
"We like to pride ourselves in our community creed, and we like to say we have an open and just community where everybody is welcomed," said Rieskamp.
UCM president Chuck Ambrose says he's proud of the students for organizing the rally and letting people know that hate has no place at the university. Students also asked for input on what would make the university a better place, and say that they plan on turning over the suggestions to the school administration.
"We are going to support them with an action plan to make sure our culture and climate on campus is one that's safe and open and focuses on social justice," said Ambrose.
15. The Herald News, November 10, 2010
207 Pocasset Street, Fall River, MA 02722
UMass Dartmouth taking anti-gay slur 'very seriously'
By Staff Reports
An anti-gay slur spray-painted on an openly gay University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student’s car is being taken very seriously by the university police and administration in light of national incidents of bullying and suicides of gay students.
“This incident is a crime against an individual but also an affront to the very essence of our community,” Chancellor Jean MacCormack said in an e-mail to the university community Monday. She called on the university to answer the incident “with a thousand acts of kindness and respect.”
The co-chairman of the student organization Pride Alliance, Adam Lawrence, said the incident “came as a real surprise” because it was unusual for UMass Dartmouth. “We certainly condemn this act,” he said. “We’re hoping for the best outcome of an unfortunate event.”
The student found a slur spray-painted on his car Saturday, university spokesman John Hoey said. The university’s public safety department is investigating and is asking anyone with information to contact the department at 508-999-8107.
“It’s an issue we take very seriously,” he said. “I think most students think UMass Dartmouth doesn’t just tolerate diversity but celebrates it in all its forms.”
In her letter, MacCormack said the university is planning to open a center on campus for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students in the Campus Center in January. Plans for the center precede a rash of incidents across the country of bullying and other acts toward gays, Hoey said.
“As members of a community that highly values every person,” MacCormack said, “we must join together to condemn this cowardly act.”
16. LaCrosse Tribune, November 10, 2010
401 N. Third Street, La Crosse, WI 54601
Another hate-crime incident reported at UW-Whitewater
By Deborah Ziff
Just after dark, the freshman student walked near a cemetery on the north side of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus on Sunday.
Passing by on the sidewalk, a man shoved her and called her gay.
The incident - recounted by police Tuesday - was the second this semester at UW-Whitewater that police say could be considered a hate crime.
Both involved anti-gay harassment, an issue that has sparked a national movement at college campuses calling for compassion and awareness.
"We have something that occurred that is completely inappropriate," said UW-Whitewater police Chief Matt Kiederlen. "It's not something we want to see happen on our campus. We need help getting it solved."
The first incident at UW-Whitewater happened in September, when a student was punched in the face for wearing a "Legalize Gay" shirt.
Police say they do not believe the two assaults are linked.
But they followed a spate of high-profile incidents nationally in which teenagers and college students committed suicide after being bullied for being gay.
That has prompted universities to bolster support for students - and emphasize a rejection for such harassment. At UW-Madison, students and administrators held a vigil last month to talk about bullying.
At UW-Whitewater, they gathered for a press conference Tuesday afternoon to stress that the incidents are not representative of the school's atmosphere.
Tom Rios, vice chancellor for student affairs, said he wants people to understand hate crimes aren't commonplace at UW-Whitewater, but when they occur, "we won't tolerate it."
"I don't want potential students to look at Whitewater and say, ‘is this a place I want to go to school?' " said Andrew Whaley, student body president. "This is an academic atmosphere and that's what we want it to be. We don't want people to feel afraid to learn."
The UW-Whitewater police department said it would increase its presence on campus, but the assaults are scary to some students.
"I've talked to a lot of people who are afraid and don't want to be out on campus," said Katka Showers-Curtis, a senior who is vice president of IMPACT, the campus group that supports lesbian, gay, transgender and allied students. "Myself, I'm not. No one can look at me and know what my sexual orientation is. But a lot of people are scared and I think it's important to be there for them as well."
UW-Whitewater is not identifying the victim. She was not physically harmed.
The man who attacked her is described as white, more than 6 feet tall, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. He was with another white man, about 5-foot-6 and also wearing shorts and a T-shirt
Tips can be sent anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (262) 723-2677.
17. The Fairfield Mirror, November 10, 2010
Fairfield University, Box AA, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Candlelight Vigil: Proving “Princeton Review” Wrong?
By Laura OReilly
Gathered in front of the Egan Chapel, shivering from the wind, clutching a thin white candle, a voice from the crowd suddenly breaks the cold November silence. “May we not just pray for it, but let us act as well.”
The call to action came Wednesday night at the Candlelight Vigil for Acceptance at Fairfield University — only months after the “Princeton Review” ranked the University #19 on the national list of most unfriendly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) campuses.
Did the month-long series of LGBTQ events that took place throughout October create a more hospitable climate for Fairfield University’s gay community?
Meredith Marquez, the Associate Director of Student Diversity Programs, believes that the events did have an impact on campus. “Overall, the events were well attended – especially the lecture by Hugo Benavides and the Gilbert Baker event,” the administrator said. “The film series had about 25-40 people at each movie which I was pleased with.”
Walking around campus there are many signs that suggest Fairfield is more open to LGBTQ issues than it is thought to be. For example, anyone who enters the Barone Campus Center will see a large rainbow flag hanging from the second level.
Also, if a student happened to glance down at his feet last Wednesday afternoon while walking to class he may have noticed an announcement of the candlelight vigil in bright and multi-colored chalk on the sidewalk.
Many doors in the residence halls have a Safe Space sticker on them, indicating that owner is part of the Ally Network, a campus-wide resource available to students who are in need of support about their sexuality.
Students say they feel that there is no legitimate problem on campus. After attending the vigil last Wednesday, Kristen Rydberg ’12 and Brittany Jenney ’13 said that they have never personally seen violence or unfriendliness towards the LGBTQ community at Fairfield. Instead of outright violence, they have sensed “an unwillingness” towards the LGBTQ community because it is a topic “not in everyone’s comfort level or not ever talked about.”
Other students grappled with the issue, including Alaina Andreozzi’13, one of the many students recently involved in Safe Space training on campus.
“For the two years I have been at Fairfield I haven’t personally witnessed unfriendliness towards the LGBTQ community on campus,” Andreozzi said, “so my first inclination is to say that it’s merely a stereotype, through Safe Space training I realized that the reality is that up until recently, this stereotype was true.”
“That being said, Fairfield University is making great strides as a community. Change doesn’t happen overnight but we are going in the right direction,” Andreozzi said.
When asked about the accuracy of the “Princeton Review’s” ranking, Marquez said: “I don’t think that the ranking is fair because I’m not sure what it was based on and so it comes across as very arbitrary. I feel many college campuses still have work to do in creating inclusive, accepting environments but I feel that Fairfield has taken steps to do just that.”
An article on the “Princeton Review’s” website entitled “How to Tell if a College is LGBTQ-Friendly” outlines the standards of a LGBTQ- friendly community. The “red flags” are no LGBTQ center, support groups or anti-harassment policy.
Marquez evaluated Fairfield University using these standards, and said, “While we do not have an LGBTQ center, the issues of LGBTQ students are explicitly stated as the responsibility of the Office of Student Diversity Programs. We do have support groups including Alliance and the Coming Out, Being Out group, run out of the Counseling Center. Sexual orientation and gender identity are mentioned in both our anti-discrimination and harassment policy in the student handbook. It would seem that a school that had only “1 red flag” as the Princeton Review defines them should not be listed on the least LGBTQ friendly list.”
Along with the low ranking for friendliness, “Princeton Review” also voted Fairfield University #2 on the list of least diverse schools. Providence College #4 and Boston College ranked #9. Both Boston College and Providence also made the LGBTQ unfriendly list, with Boston College being ranked #10 and Providence ranked #18.
These three schools and a majority of the 20 colleges ranked LGBTQ unfriendly are religiously affiliated. Unaffiliated schools like New York University and Emerson College were ranked most accepting of the gay community.
Marist College is an independent Liberal Arts College located in New York with no religious affiliation. While ranked one of the Best Northeastern Colleges by the “Princeton Review,” it doesn’t appear on either the least diverse or LGBTQ unfriendly lists.
However, an openly gay sophomore currently attending Marist College said that while “no one is mean to me, that sense of belonging just doesn’t exist.” This individual, who asked not to be identified, feels that change will only occur “when you interact with gay people, when you know someone first hand.”
The events at Fairfield University followed in the wake of many tragedies striking the LGBTQ community over the past two months. Nationwide there have been many suicides as a result of anti-gay attacks on individuals. Most recently an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington Bridge after a video of him engaging with another man was posted on the Internet.
However, on the Rutgers University website, the school boasts: “Rutgers is listed as one of the nation’s top 100 campuses for the LGBT community in the Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students.” Rutgers University is a state school, not affiliated with any religion, and is very diverse, breaking the stereotype that LGBTQ unfriendly schools are both of these things.
Yet, a horrible act of invasion of privacy and homophobic bullying was found on the same campus. Unfriendliness and violence can happen anywhere at any time.
James Fitzpatrick, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, said that while he has noticed a “genuine effort” on campus, we still have room for improvement. “As an alumnus, I’m pleased in the direction the University is going,” he said.
At the Candlelight Vigil last Wednesday night, the names of those who have taken their lives due to homophobic bullying were read one by one. As each name was announced, Gabby Pelle ’13 couldn’t help but imagine the name of her close friend being added to the list, just because of his sexual orientation.
As the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played in the background, Pelle joined 50 other participants at the vigil – students, faculty, and administrators – in trying to commit themselves and the school to moving beyond the low ranking and to be a more accepting and open community.
18. Chicago Sun-Times, November 11, 2010
401 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-3583
Wedding announcement costs gay educator her job
By Kim Janssen
A gay educator lost her job at a Catholic university downstate after she posted a wedding announcement for herself and her lesbian partner in the local paper.
Laine Tadlock, 60, says bosses at Benedictine University in Springfield knew she was a lesbian and fired her from her post as director of education programs only after she placed the wedding notice in Springfield's Journal-Register this summer.
The university says keeping her in the role “would not be consistent with the university’s mission as a Catholic institution” and that “aspects of her lifestyle are incompatible with fundamental Catholic beliefs.”
In a written statement Thursday, Benedictine officials said Tadlock effectively resigned Oct. 27 when she refused to be reassigned as director of accreditation, assessment and institutional effectiveness.
Springfield Bishop John Paprocki was consulted before Tadlock was given the ultimatum to accept the new job or leave, officials said. He said the school “is to be commended for its fidelity to the truth in upholding the faith and morals as taught by the Catholic church.”
Tadlock, who has held her post since 2007 and previously worked at public elementary schools, married Kae Helstrom — an adjunct professor who university spokesman Mercy Robb confirmed still teaches at Benedictine — in a ceremony in Iowa on June 12.
“The bishops were concerned about my influence over parochial school teachers," Tadlock said. "Helping students is my passion..."
Tadlock’s assistant director, Maureen Lavin, said she resigned her post in solidarity with Tadlock because “what the university did was wrong.”
19. CBS News, November 11, 2010
CBS Headquarters, 51 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019-6188
Experts Fear Tyler Clementi Suicide Copycats
Suicide prevention experts are worrying that the attention given to the September suicide of a Rutgers University student may be leading to copycat cases.
At least six young people who were gay or taunted for being perceived as gay have killed themselves since Tyler Clementi's death became a cause celebre. One Pennsylvania teen left behind a note saying he wanted to bring attention to bullying.
Clementi killed himself days after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on him during an intimate encounter with a man.
Experts say it's important to report on the issues that have been getting attention since his death: suicides among gay youths and the impact of bullying.
But they say young people in similar circumstances need to know that they can get help.
20. News Channel 5 WTVF, November 11, 2010
474 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, TN 37219
Sexual Orientation Question Could Be Added On College Apps
By Kim Gebbia
For many high schoolers, sexual orientation is a very private topic. Some gay or lesbian teenagers come out to their family and friends, others aren't quite ready at that age.
But now more than 400 universities in the US, including three here in Nashville, could ask students to declare their sexual preference during the admissions process. At Vanderbilt, students said diversity is key to their collegiate experience.
It includes different races, ethnicities, religions, social classes, and hometowns. And students are well aware that all of this is being documented on during the admissions process when they are required to fill out the University's Common Application Form.
In the future, there could be an additional defining box to check on that paper: a student's sexual orientation.
"I think the message is clear, the U.S. population is not strictly composed of heterosexual individuals, gay, lesbian, transgender population deserve to be represented," said H.G. Stovall the head of the Tennessee Equality Project.
Stovall supports the proposal put forward by the Common Application non-profit group. It is used by more than 400 Universities across America including three in Nashville: Fisk, Belmont and Vanderbilt.
It could include a question that asks students to check gay/lesbian, bisexual, straight/heterosexual, or another identity.
"I think it would definitely be controversial I don't know if it's necessarily the same thing as diversity I think it's kind of a hard thing to classify," one Vanderbilt student said.
"I am sure there will be some students who might not be comfortable and I am sure there will be a way to avoid that box all together with a choose not to answer the question," Stovall added.
For those that do want to answer the question, it will create a new statistic of the student body and one that can be used to determine just how diverse a campus really is.
"A box for transgender? Go ahead, it will make Vanderbilt a more diverse place than it already is," said a Vanderbilt sophomore.
The Dean of Admissions at Vanderbilt said they will discuss the issue after the common application board votes on it in January.
21. The State Journal-Register, November 11, 2010
P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705-0219
Benedictine defends actions leading to gay woman's departure
By Dave Bakke
Benedictine University on Thursday issued a statement defending its actions in events that led to the departure from the school of Laine Tadlock, former director of the university’s education program.
That was followed Thursday afternoon by a statement of support for the university from Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield.
Tadlock either resigned or was forced out — the sides differ on the terminology — because of the publication of a wedding announcement last summer regarding the marriage of Tadlock to her partner, Kae Helstrom. The two women were married in Iowa following that state’s Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage.
The statement says that, after publication of a story about the situation in Wednesday’s State Journal-Register, Benedictine, whose Springfield campus is at 1500 N. Fifth St., received numerous e-mails demanding that Tadlock be reinstated and the university apologize to her.
The State Journal-Register attempted to get comment from university officials and its attorney before publication of its story. The university declined to comment at the time, saying the dispute was a personnel issue. Normally, Benedictine’s statement reads, the university does not give any details of a personnel issue.
“However,” according to the statement, “Tadlock has chosen to generate publicity by disclosing information to the newspaper that otherwise would have remained confidential. Therefore, university officials are making public their essential position in this matter.”
That position is, in part, that the university did not fire Tadlock.
“The university, for valid and lawful reasons, decided that it would not be consistent with the university’s mission as a Catholic institution of higher learning for Tadlock to continue in the office of program director of its education program,” the statement says.
Instead, Tadlock was offered a different position at Benedictine, a position she refused because she says she isn’t qualified for the job. Benedictine’s position is that she is qualified. The school warned Tadlock that if she did not take the position, the university would consider that her resignation.
Paprocki reaffirmed the Catholic position on homosexual marriage in his statement about the situation.
“The essential reason for the very existence of Catholic institutions of higher learning is to teach the truth,” said the bishop. “One of these truths is that God intended marriage to be a life-giving and loving commitment between a man and a woman until parted by death.
“Benedictine University is to be commended for its fidelity to the truth in upholding the faith and morals as taught by the Catholic Church,” Paprocki said.
In talks with Tadlock after publication of the wedding announcement, Benedictine president William Carroll said it wasn’t her homosexuality that was the issue, nor the fact that she was married in Iowa. It was publication of the announcement in the paper, which included the fact that she was working at Benedictine.
“… Some university officials were aware that Tadlock is a gay woman,” says the statement issued Thursday. “Tadlock acknowledged her awareness that some aspects of her lifestyle are incompatible with fundamental Catholic beliefs, particularly a domestic partnership with another woman.
“It was not Tadlock’s orientation, but rather the public disregard for fundamental Catholic beliefs which was the basis for the university’s decisions. These decisions were made only after full discussion with the appropriate diocesan officials.”
The university believes its decisions regarding Tadlock were made for reasons “both valid and lawful,” the statement says.
“In the event that Tadlock seeks legal redress,” the statement concludes, “whether on the basis of the supposed ‘termination’ or otherwise, the university will defend itself vigorously and believes it will prevail.”
Dave Bakke can be reached at 788-1541.
22. University of Louisville, November 12, 2010
University of Louisville, Office for LGBT Services, Louisville, KY 40292
Transgender Week of Awareness
By Brian Wesley Buford
U of L's Office for LGBT Services and several LGBT student organizations will once again join with the surrounding Louisville community to celebrate Transgender Week of Awareness November 14-20, 2010. The week is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of transgender people and to remember those who were killed during the year because of their gender identity/expression. Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated internationally on November 20 each year.
Community partners that are collaborating with U of L include Sienna, the Women's Center at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the Transgender Education Center (TEC), and Diversity Consultants. Student organizations such as commonGround, BlkOut, Transformations, and T2 are all planning events.
The university has made great strides in the last few years in creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for all people regardless of gender identity or expression. A nondiscrimination policy that includes gender identity, more gender neutral restrooms, nationally-recognized transgender keynote speakers, and two active organizations for trans students are just a few of the milestones from the last few years. Join us for this important celebration!
Activities planned include:
Sunday, November 14
7:00 p.m. (- 9:00 p.m.)
The Intersection, U of L's Red Barn
--an informal discussion of transgender experiences and issues, ranging from personal to political; a chance to "talk from the heart" as and with transgender friends and neighbors.
Sponsored by TEC
Tuesday, November 16
12:30 p.m. (- 1:30 p.m.)
Women's Center, LPTS
Welcoming My Neighbor -- Transgender 101
--an informal lunch-hour forum focused on building alliances between transgender and non-transgender through the medium of the community of faith
Sponsored by the Women's Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, More Light at LPTS
Room 201, Miller Information Technology Center, U of L
commonGround's Transgender Awareness Night
--Speak outs and personal stories from transgender activists who are also students at U of L
Sponsored by commonGround
Wednesday, November 17
7:00 p.m. (- 9:00 p.m.)
Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, U of L
Film and Discussion: Soldier Girl
--The story of Calpernia Addams and the tragedy that made her one of the most well-known transgender people in the country
Sponsored by T2
Thursday, November 18
12:00 p.m. (- 1:00 p.m.)
Entrance to Student Activities Center, U of L campus
TransAwareness in Action
--part performance art, part activism, part education and consciousness-raising, this event aims to dramatize, concretize and personalize the human dimension of trans-phobic violence
Sponsored by the U of L Office for LGBT Services
Thursday, November 18
5:30 p.m. (- 7:00 p.m.)
Campus Health Services, U of L
Trans Health Discussion
--a presentation on women's health issues, including those of special interest to transwomen
Sponsored by the U of L Office for LGBT Services
Friday, November 19
7:00 p.m. (-9:00 p.m.)
Multipurpose Room, Second Floork Student Activities Center, U of L
Night of the Legends
--a celebration the contributions of transgender people in our community, with performances and inspirational talks all designed to honor our champions
Sponsored by Sienna and BlkOut
Saturday, November 20
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Metropolitan Community Church
1432 Highland Avenue, Louisville
--an exhibit of photographic images reflecting the diversity and depth of the Louisville transgender community
sponsored by Diversity Consultants
Saturday, November 20
7:00 p.m. (- 9:00 p.m.)
Metropolitan Community Church
1432 Highland Avenue, Louisville
Transgender Day of Remembrance Community Observance
(Candlelight Memorial Service)
--a local, interfaith observance of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, to honor and remember lives lost to trans-phobic violence during the past year and to renew commitments to peace and justice for all people
a time of community refreshment and presentation of the Butterfly Award for service to the transgender community follows the service
Sponsored by the Women's Center at LPTS
23. Democrat Herald, November 12, 2010
600 Lyon St. S.W., Albany, OR 97321
Crude posters put up during film screening
By Steve Lanthrop
Linn-Benton Community College officials report that posters containing degrading and sexually oriented language were distributed on the Albany campus on Friday, Nov. 5, during the screening of a documentary.
According to Bruce Clemetsen, LBCC’s acting vice president of student services, the posters contained hateful words directed toward the gay and lesbian community.
LBCC and Oregon State University were jointly presenting the screening of filmmaker Joe Wilson’s “Out in the Silence” along with presentations by guest speakers — including Wilson — when the posters were put on campus bulletin boards.
Clemetsen said the posters were removed by campus security because they did not meet the school’s requirements for being approved for campus bulletin boards.
The film depicts the controversy that erupted in Wilson’s small Pennsylvania hometown after the local newspaper published the announcement of his wedding to another man.
Clemetsen said the presentation of the film at the Diversity Achievement Center was a response to recent hate-related events around the country directed at the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
Clemetsen said several members of the LBCC staff and student body feared for their safety as a result of the posters. The incident was reported to the Albany Police Department as a hate crime, and LBCC is following its student conduct process in an attempt to identify the person or persons responsible.
LBCC’s campus newspaper, The Commuter, reported that the posters claimed they were sponsored by the DAC and included the campus e-mail address and phone number of coordinator Toni Klohk.
A letter to The Commuter from the associate dean of student development, Lynne Cox, says the center was not involved with the posters.
“We bring various programs to campus to open dialogue about topics to challenge our thinking,” Clemetsen said. “Our hope is that, as a place for learning, we can open conversations that challenge us to reflect on our own understanding of the world. Promoting hate, intolerance, or fear is not conducive to the educational environment, hence this poster was not appropriate.”
24. Boston Herald, November 13, 2010
One Herald Square, Boston, MA 02118
Transgender people find their voice at NC school
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Nicole Hatch had spent six figures on her transition from a male to a female, including flying to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery and spending at least $20,000 on facial hair removal.
But her voice still gave her away — callers would refer to her as "sir" when she answered the phone.
So Hatch came to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where speech pathologists teach transgender people how to speak like the people of the sex they’re becoming or have become.
"To me, there’s nothing worse than seeing someone dressed as a woman, a beautiful woman," said Hatch, 57. "Then she opens her mouth and she sounds like a sailor. It’s very off-putting for people."
The former Florida chiropractor took eight private classes at UNCG, learning to redirect her voice through the front of her mouth instead of her throat or chest so that she sounds more feminine. "Voice is, I would say, 50 percent of being able to pass," Hatch said.
Each semester, speech pathologists within UNCG’s School of Health and Human Performance teach about eight of so transgender people in a program that began 12 years ago, says Dean Celia Hooper, who taught the transgender voice classes at UNCG for five years until she became dean in 2008.
The classes for transgender clients — people who want to live as the gender they weren’t assigned at birth — are a tiny part of the work of UNCG’s speech and hearing center. The classes concentrate a lot on pitch, but the clients also learn about loudness, quality of voice and movement, especially facial and hand gestures.
Women use more adjectives, and they gesture more with the hands and use their face more to express feelings, Hooper said. During one activity, clients describe the art on the walls.
"And women will say, ’that’s a beautiful picture, I see a bubbling stream ...’ They’ll really elaborate," Hooper says. "Men will just say, ’I see a house and a car.’ And then women add, ’it’s just a fabulous-looking house.’"
The differences in word choice are rarely more evidence than in the how-to-give-directions project. The teacher tells clients to give directions on getting from point A to point B. Then they get handouts that compare male directions to those given by females.
Women use landmarks, while men use a compass.
A woman might say: "When you get to the red house with the blue shutters, take a right, go three miles. You’ll go past the store, you’ll see a cornfield. You’ll see a beautiful fire station. It’s new, you know, they just built it last week. Then you turn left."
A man would say: "Go west three miles, take a left at this road, go four miles, take a right."
"It’s just minimal," Hooper said.
Movement is naturally constrained by what you wear. People wearing pants sit differently than those wearing skirts so clients wear different clothes in class to learn how to sit correctly.
"One thing we recommend, if you’ve never worn heels, probably your 40s and 50s are not a good time to start," Hooper said. "You can get cute shoes that are flat. So why be awkward and start doing that? Especially if you’re large and have big bones, heels aren’t for you."
Hatch says her life in the gay community — she lived as a homosexual man for about 10 years — meant she needed help only with pitch. So her eight private lessons — cancer treatments in nearby Chapel Hill prevented her from taking the classes — concentrated on moving from her natural gender-neutral voice to a more feminine one.
She learned to redirect her voice to speak from the front of her mouth, which raises the pitch.
"It’s my natural voice, but I’m just using different mechanics," Hatch said. "It’s probably one of the hardest things to do because it’s so easy to fall back into the habit of the way you’re used to speaking."
Although no one knows how many people are transgender, experts estimate the number is between .25 percent and 1 percent of the population, said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Not all transgender people surgically change to the opposite sex, although they may live as that sex either full-time or part-time. Some can’t afford the sex-change surgery, while others fear the social costs of transitioning. They are different from cross-dressers, who enjoying wearing the clothes of the opposite sex but don’t want to change their sex.
Keisling attended a similar program at George Washington University. The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., has taught voice classes for transgender clients for about three years, says Jack Pickering, an associate professor at the school. Private practitioners and colleges in other countries tend to be on the forefront of such work, including in Australia, and Belgium, he said.
Clients at UNCG attend one weekly two-hour class for a semester, and some attend for two semesters.
"Mostly, their first complaint is ’my voice is too low,’" Hooper said. The voice is more of a problem for men transitioning to women than women transitioning to men because testosterone makes the voice lower naturally.
So the speech pathologists evaluate each client’s voice to determine how high or low they can go and offer them a range of pitches to try to match.
"We look at voice. We look at fluency. We look at the language that they use, all the different characteristics of speech," Hooper said. "And we present to them, here’s what women do, here’s what men do. It’s on a continuum. One speaker may sound feminine and another ... it’s very subjective. So we talk about, what do you want to sound like?"
For Hatch, meeting other people like her was itself a revelation.
She credits an earlier trauma with giving her the courage to have the sex reassignment surgery in 2007. Six years earlier, while working as a man at a private hospital in Saudi Arabia, she opened a letter bomb addressed to her. Hatch lost an eye, a hand and was severely scarred on one thigh.
"I never really thought of myself as a strong person," Hatch said. "But now that I look back on what I’ve gone through, I think I’m a very strong person and a very courageous person for just standing up for myself and saying this is who I am and I have a right to be happy."
25. The Indy Channel, November 13, 2010
1330 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202-2364
Gay Fraternity Launches At IU: Sigma Phi Beta Expands To Bloomington Campus
Click link for video.
Indiana University, home to one of the oldest and largest college fraternity systems in the country, is now also home to the first openly gay fraternity on its campus.
Sigma Phi Beta held its first initiation on campus Saturday, marking a milestone for the university and the organization, 6News' Rick Hightower reported.
The fraternity's national chapter began in 2005 at its home base at Arizona State University. IU is its first expansion. Fourteen students were initiated.
The organization touts a vision to create a "uniquely diverse safe space for gay men within the traditional Greek system."
"The reaction has been way more positive than I thought it would be, because, you know, it's Midwest America," said Alex Eakle, a member of the fraternity. "I thought we'd have a lot more resistance, but everyone has been really positive about it."
The fraternity's national president, Nathan Arrowsmith, came to Bloomington to officially open the colony, as it's called, as the group pursues chapter status in IU's Greek system.
Arrowsmith said the organization provides belonging for young gay men who have been bullied in both high school and college settings.
"I think Sigma Phi Beta is so crucial for young gay and allied men, because it offers them a space where they can just really be themselves and be accepted and not have to worry about what people think of them," Arrowsmith said.
Member Jeremy O'Neal said he's had low moments in his life attributed to his lifestyle. He believes the organization will aid students who have considered suicide.
"I feel like with this, it will create that safe space we need for people to be equal and not be judged by any means," he said.
Representatives of other fraternities and sororities said they think the campus Greek community will be accepting of Sigma Phi Beta.
"I hope they're not met with resistance. I think it's awesome that we're being that open at Indiana University, especially with the Greek community, to people no matter what their sexual orientation is," said student Keetin Marchi.
"I'm sure there's going to be some resistance, but I hope not much," said student Robert Hult. "Personally, I think it will be a good thing to have."
26. The Temple News, November 14, 2010
1755 N. 13th St., Room 243, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Massachusetts leaders debate gay marriage on campus
By Sean Carlin
Two Massachusetts leaders debated the subject of gay marriage in front of students in the Great Court of Mitten Hall on Nov. 11.
John H. Rogers, the Democratic House Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Cheryl Jacques, a gay rights activist and the first openly-gay state senator in the history of Massachusetts, debated the issue of gay marriage for nearly 90 minutes in front of a nearly full room of students Thursday night.
Both Rogers and Jacques made sure to state in their openings that the debate would be a “policy discussion” and nothing more. As Rogers said, “I’m not going to quote from the bible.”
Rogers stated that his position is that gay marriage should not exist, but that civil unions should be created for gay couples that incorporate the same rights afforded to married straight couples.
“A decent and ordered society can and should provide new systems, new institutions to protect same sex families and their children in the same way that [straight] families are protected for marriage,” Rogers said.
Rogers referred to an amendment he proposed to the Massachusetts Constitution that would afford the same rights for gay couples as straight couples, but through a civil union instead of marriage. He called this “separate, but equal.”
“Though different, we are equal,” Rogers said. “And though equal, we are different.”
He went on to say that his reasoning for “separate, but equal” is to not upset what in his belief is the definition of marriage.
“America need not change the time honored definition of marriage or the clear meaning that marriage imparts in order to provide some [segments] of this nation the legal benefits and legal status that the institution of marriage confirms,” Rogers said.
Jacques complimented Rogers on his job as a legislator but said, “He is wrong.”
Jacques compared the struggle for gay civil rights to the struggle for civil rights of other demographics, such as women’s and African-Americans’.
“Gay people don’t want special rights, they want equal rights,” Jacques said.
Jacques went on to shoot down Rogers’ claim that civil unions and marriages are “separate, but equal,” and compared it to how “separate, but equal,” was ruled discrimination in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.
“It’s not separate, but equal,” Jacques said. “It’s separate and unequal.”
Jacques also said the struggle for gay civil rights has a lot to due with the misconceptions of gay marriage, imploring students to educate people they know about gay marriage.
Sean Carlin can be reached at email@example.com.
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