Thursday, January 27, 2011

QNOC Digest 2010.12.26

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.12.26

Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to

1. ESPN - Belmont players discuss gay coach's departure
2. Inside Higher Ed - Goodbye DADT, Hello ROTC
3. Daily Camera - CU-Boulder grad discharged over 'don't ask, don't tell' wants to re-enlist
4. Austin-American Statesman - Gay ACC student pleased by repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
5. The Herald-Journal - USU official lauds gay ban repeal
6. Inside Higher Ed - Quick Takes: Tyler Clementi's Parents May Sue Rutgers
7. UPI - Rutgers: No fault in gay student's suicide
8. Global Times - Gay students find acceptance
9. The University of Arizona - Pride Alliance's Queer Film Series questions social norms

1. ESPN, December 19, 2010
545 Middle Street, Bristol, CT 06010
Belmont players discuss gay coach's departure
By T.J. Quinn

Click link for video.

Late last month, Belmont University women's soccer coach Lisa Howe told her team she was a lesbian, in a committed relationship and that her partner was pregnant. When the players returned to the Nashville campus of the private Christian school after Thanksgiving break, they soon learned Howe was no longer their coach. T.J. Quinn dives deeper into this story for ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

2. Inside Higher Ed, December 21, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Goodbye DADT, Hello ROTC
By Dan Berrett

Presidents of some of the nation's highest profile colleges and universities, where the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program has been barred for decades, said that the U.S. Senate's vote Saturday to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" will usher the return of the program to their campuses -- though the exact procedure remained unclear.

"This is an historic development for a nation dedicated to fulfilling its core principle of equal rights," Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, said in a statement following the vote this weekend to end the 17-year-old policy forcing gay and lesbian members of the military to hide their sexual orientation in order to continue serving. It is likely to be signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday.

"It also effectively ends what has been a vexing problem for higher education, including at Columbia -- given our desire to be open to our military, but not wanting to violate our own core principle against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," continued Bollinger. "We now have the opportunity for a new era in the relationship between universities and our military services."

Though college bans on the ROTC date back to the unrest that roiled campuses (including, notably, Columbia) during the Vietnam War, the military's discrimination against gay people emerged as a key sticking point that blocked the program's return in the years since that war ended. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- the compromise measure put in place in 1993 that allowed gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they hid their sexual orientation -- carried particular symbolic weight. The resurgence of ROTC on campuses has been championed by figures from across the political spectrum, with supporters saying it will benefit the military, colleges and students. Advocates have included Defense Secretary Robert Gates and, as a senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, issued a statement casting the Senate's vote over the weekend in historic terms. "It affirms American ideals of equal opportunity and underscores the importance of the right to military service as a fundamental dimension of citizenship," said Faust, an historian of the Civil War and the American South, who said previously that the end of the policy would clear the way for ROTC's return to Harvard. "It was no accident that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation not only guaranteed freedom to Black Americans but at the same time opened the Union Army to their participation. Because of today's action by the Senate, gay and lesbian Americans will now also have the right to pursue this honorable calling, and we as a nation will have the benefit of their service."

For all the rhetorical celebration, it remains unclear in many cases precisely how ROTC will return to the nation's campuses. Faust said in her statement that she was pleased that "more students will now have the opportunity to serve their country" while being somewhat vague about the way forward. "I look forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard's full and formal recognition of ROTC," she said.

Bollinger said during an April visit to his campus from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a "crucial divide" keeping ROTC from returning. Before the program does return, it must be approved by the university senate, he said, adding, "There has to be faculty and student debate about this." Five years ago, the university's senate overwhelmingly rejected an effort to bring it back, with many faculty members citing anti-gay bias in the military as a reason to maintain the ban. Still, Bollinger predicted that the campus in general would prove to be a much more hospitable place to the military than it was more than four decades ago.

Columbia's Senate on Monday announced the creation of a "task force on military engagement" in light of the end of the military's policies barring openly gay people from serving. The committee plans to hold hearings and conduct a student survey on a possible return of ROTC.

Mullen, during the same visit to Columbia, also cautioned against expecting too much too soon in hoping for ROTC's return, and suggested that not every campus that wants a program will necessarily get one. “There are limits to how many we can actually create," he said. "We are a much smaller force than we were way back when. We can’t just snap our fingers and make it happen.”

Yale University, however, mapped a very clear path forward. President Richard C. Levin said his administration will be discussing the matter with faculty during the spring semester. He added that he had asked General Counsel Dorothy Robinson, Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer and Yale College Dean Mary Miller to consult with officials in Washington early in the new year to determine the military’s interest in establishing an ROTC unit at Yale. "We are very hopeful that these discussions will enable us to begin a new chapter in the long history of Yale’s support of the U.S. Armed Services," Levin said in a statement.

Such a clear map is not yet possible at Stanford University, where the decision rests with the faculty. In March, the faculty senate anticipated changes coming from Washington, and established a committee to look at the issue. Among its first contributors were Stanford professors David Kennedy, the historian, and William Perry, secretary of defense under President Clinton. The faculty will make the decision because it must evaluate the rigor of the military science curriculum that accompanies ROTC, said Lisa Lapin, a spokeswoman for Stanford. "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was a hurdle, so this will probably be helpful," she said. "(But) it’s not the only consideration."

Officials at Brown University did not go as far as others in predicting a return of ROTC. Marisa Quinn, vice president of public affairs at Brown University, said via e-mail: "The repeal of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell will likely stimulate additional conversation about ROTC on the Brown campus, a conversation that has occurred from time to time among the university's alumni, students, faculty and administrators. The university welcomes conversation on this and other important social and political questions." She added, however, that "the university's decision to phase out Air Force ROTC (1971) and Naval ROTC (1972) centered on academic issues, including whether ROTC units should have departmental status and whether courses offered by those units should carry academic credit. Those issues are matters for faculty discussion. Any academic issues raised by a potential return of ROTC instruction at Brown would require a vote of the faculty."

It is also worth noting that the ban of ROTC from campuses has not barred students from joining the program -- though it does make the prospect more difficult. Students can -- and do -- participate in ROTC through nearby host campuses, though the numbers are often small. Four Yale students participate in ROTC through the University of Connecticut. At Harvard, there are 19 such students, who do so through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Meanwhile, other elite institutions, such as Duke, Cornell and Princeton universities, have kept ROTC on campus without incident.

It will also be some time until the policy is formally eliminated, in practice, from the military. The Pentagon must certify that the groundwork has been laid for troops to be trained and taught to adapt to the change in policy. Obama, Gates and Mullen must write to Congress to assure its members that the new policy will not compromise troop readiness, cohesion, or recruitment and retention. A 60-day review will follow.

3. Daily Camera, December 21, 2010
PO Box 591, Boulder, CO 80306
CU-Boulder grad discharged over 'don't ask, don't tell' wants to re-enlist
By Whitney Bryen

With President Barack Obama set to sign legislation repealing "don't ask, don't tell" today, University of Colorado graduate Mara Boyd -- twice arrested this year for protesting the Clinton-era policy -- is ready to re-enlist in the military, seven years after being discharged from the Air Force for being gay.

"I have every intention of going back," Boyd said. "I would love to be able to serve openly. I would love to help facilitate the transition, to be part of the change. I want to finish something I started."

Boyd was discharged in 2003 after telling her commander that she was gay. Since then, she has been advocating for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and was arrested during protests outside the White House in April and November.

With the Senate having voted Saturday to repeal the policy -- which allowed gays to serve in military, as long as nobody knew they were gay -- Boyd, 29, said she now plans to re-enlist, if she can "negotiate some hurdles," such as getting an age waiver to rejoin the Air Force, which cuts off enlistment at age 28.

While Boyd said she will be working hard to re-enlist after the policy is repealed, military veteran Michael Holiday said he doesn't expect to see a significant increase in overall enlistment once "don't ask, don't tell" is history.

"If you want to go in, you're going to go in," Holiday said. "I don't think the repeal is going to cause any repercussions for recruitment."

Holiday, who was in the Army for 22 years before working with veterans services, said gays and lesbians who truly wanted to serve did so under the constraints of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. He said he does not expect the number of gay military members to drastically increase.

And while it is unknown how the repeal will affect military recruitment, some believe there will be significant impacts for young members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Anne Guilfoile, chairwoman for the Boulder Valley School District's Safe Schools Coalition, said the repeal provides an opportunity for students to join Reserve Officers' Training Corps -- or ROTC programs -- without being forced to hide or lie about who they are.

"Lack of inclusion is a form of discrimination, which can cause gay, lesbian or transgender people to feel like they don't fit into society," Guilfoile said. "I think an important consequence of the repeal is that it says, 'Yes, the world does include me' to those students."

During a time when a young GLBT community is struggling with increased bullying and suicides, Guilfoile said there is no better time to pass a repeal and give hope to students who may have little left.

CU senior Kyle Inselman, a member of the GLBT campus community, said the repeal is a big step in the right direction.

"I know quite a few people who had to give up their dreams of being in the military because of the stress of lying to their fellow cadets or service members," Inselman said. "So for people to have the freedom to follow the path that they wish, this is great."

But Inselman said the repeal is not a victory for the transgender community, since "don't ask, don't tell" is only one of the reasons keeping them out of the military.

Being transgender is often considered a medical concern or a mental health condition in the military, according to the Service Members Legal Defense Network website.

"I think that to frame this as a victory for the GLBT community is wrong, because transgender people still cannot serve in the military," Inselman said. "We need to not forget about fighting for (transgender) inclusion in our military as well as gay, lesbian and bisexual people."

4. Austin-American Statesman, December 22, 2010
P.O. Box 670, Austin, TX 78767
Gay ACC student pleased by repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz

A gay student at Austin Community College is gratified that “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been repealed but remains in limbo regarding his own future.
President Barack Obama today signed the repeal of the ban on openly gay service members.
Omar Lopez, 30, said today that he “most likely” will re-enlist in the Navy, which discharged him in 2006 after he disclosed during a medical examination that he was gay.
Lopez tried without success in October to re-enlist during a court challenge to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“It’s very exciting,” he said today of the repeal, adding that he plans to look into whether he could sign on as an officer. He had been a culinary specialist second class, cooking and supervising the galley about a frigate.

5. The Herald-Journal, December 23, 2010
75 West 300 North, Logan, UT 84321
USU official lauds gay ban repeal
By Kevin Opsahl

Any student, regardless of sexual orientation, will soon be able to sign up for the military through Utah State University's ROTC program and not have to hold back the words, "I am gay."
Although those students aren't on campus to celebrate their victory, those who supported repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are celebrating. The bill, which creates a path for service members of all sexual orientations to serve openly in the military, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
That's no exception for Maure Smith-Benanti, who is the program coordinator of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Allied. The LGBTQA programs within the Access & Diversity Center to provide outreach to those faculty, staff and students.
The 17-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy meant that if service members revealed they were gay, they could risk expulsion.
"We've all been very excited today that this passed," Smith-Benanti said. "Anytime there is an advance that is positive towards LGBTQA ... we feel respected and energized."
Obama echoed those same praises at the signing ceremony on Wednesday.
The big vote that was seen as a watershed moment for gay rights was passed during a rare Saturday session of Congress. It was just one of several agenda items the Senate wants to take up before power is handed over to the Republicans on Jan. 3.
Over the years, more than 13,500 people were discharged under the policy.
"The old law gave a little bit of wiggle room for LGBTQA military service personnel to continue to service without have to worry about losing their job," Smith-Benanti said. "But now I believe we were basically asking our servicemen and women to lie about who they love, who they are. I think when we ask people to stand for our country and put on the nation's uniform, we should let them be who they are."
LGBTQA members, she said, thought it was a long shot when Obama came up with the idea to repeal the law. Now that the law is passed, it "really is a surprise to allot of people," she said.
But Smith-Benanti said she's been hearing some "concern and trepidation" about how the new policy is implemented.
Before the policy actually goes into effect, Pentagon officials must first complete implementation plans before lifting the old policy. Moreover, the president, defense secretary and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff must certify to lawmakers that it won't damage combat readiness, as critics charge.
"It seems like this would take forever, although President Obama has indicated he would not like that," Smith-Benanti said. "Hopefully those rollouts ... will be the best for our service members and won't cause any problems."
Tony Flores, USU Veteran Affairs program coordinator, believes that if the implementation is done right "(the policy) will work."
"I don't think the controversy will be widespread like some say it will be," Flores said. "I think it really is a matter of ... looking at timelines, not going in an changing it overnight, saying ‘we're going to implement this slowly over a period of time.'"
Flores also said he believes that combat troops may "have some reluctance" adjusting to the new policy because of the "macho kind of mindframe it entails."
USU has had an ROTC program for many years, but it has been suggested by political pundits and government officials that this law could very well open up the possibility for colleges and universities that don't have an ROTC program to look into having one.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

6. Inside Higher Ed, December 23, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Quick Takes: Tyler Clementi's Parents May Sue Rutgers

The parents of Tyler Clementi -- the Rutgers University student who killed himself shortly after he was filmed with another man in his dormitory room -- have filed a notice of intent to sue the university, the Associated Press reported. The notice says that "it appears Rutgers University failed to act, failed to put in place and/or failed to implement, and enforce policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts, and that Rutgers failed to act timely and appropriately." A Rutgers spokesman issued the following statement: "We at the university share the family's sense of loss of their son, who was a member of our community. We also recognize that a grieving family may question whether someone or some institution could somehow have responsibility for their son's death.... While the university understands this reaction, the university is not responsible for Tyler Clementi's suicide."

7. UPI, December 23, 2010
1133 19th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20036
Rutgers: No fault in gay student's suicide
United Press International

PISCATAWAY, N.J., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- New Jersey's Rutgers University denied responsibility for the suicide of an 18-year-old freshman secretly taped kissing another man in his dorm room.

It made the denial after being notified by the parents of freshmen Tyler Clementi they may seek damages from the university for their son's suicide, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

"We at the university share the family's sense of loss of their son, who was a member of our community," the university said in a statement.

"We also recognize that a grieving family may question whether someone or some institution could somehow have responsibility for their son's death," the statement continued. "While the university understands this reaction, (Rutgers) is not responsible for Tyler Clementi's suicide."

The claim notice, sent to the university Friday and first reported by The Star-Ledger, preserves the family's right to sue Rutgers for failing to act against two students who allegedly used a Web cam to secretly view Clementi kissing the man.

Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and Rutgers student Molly Wei allegedly spied on Clementi with a Web cam Sept. 19, and Ravi then sent a message on the Twitter microblogging service that he had seen Clementi "making out with a dude."

Clementi later jumped off the George Washington Bridge spanning the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City.

Ravi and Wei, both 18, were charged with invasion of privacy. They later left the university.

"Subject to further investigation, it appears that Rutgers University failed to act, failed to put in place, and/or failed to implement, and enforce policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts, and that Rutgers University failed to act timely and appropriately," the claim notice said.

No lawsuit has been filed and "a decision as to whether to file suit against Rutgers University in the future has not been made," Clementi family lawyer Paul Mainardi said in a statement.

By law, the family has six months after filing the tort notice to decide whether to file lawsuit, the Rutgers statement acknowledging receipt of the notice said.

8. Global Times, December 24, 2010
Add. 4/F Topnew Tower, 15 Guanghua Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, PC. 100026
Gay students find acceptance
By Wen Ya

Last week was a bittersweet memory to Hu Jun, a 21-year-old junior at Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan Province (SUC). As one of the three heads of Homoscu, a homosexual student association, Hu helped celebrate the association's seventh anniversary.

But despite its seven years and about 300 members, Homoscu is not been formally registered by the university. Thus Homoscu can't publicly recruit members and receive SUC financial assistance like other student associations, Hu said.

"Though there's no precedent for a homosexual organization to be registered in our university, it is tolerant to us and allows us to exist," Hu told the Global Times.

Homoscu's mission is to help gays and lesbians to make friends, HIV-AIDS education and prevention, help them feel safe and release pressure and to reduce discrimination, according to him.

"We are not different from others expect for our sexual orientation. Sex is a normal personal choice," he said.

Among the association's 300 members, about 80 percent are gays and the rest are lesbians and heterosexuals. Usually, they communicate with each other through seven QQ online chat tools.

Their offline activities include singing, watching films, all kinds of sports and engaging in HIV-AIDs prevention and education through peer education. Their funding comes mainly from donations from members and some NGOs, according to Hu.

Coming out

"It's difficult for our association to get recognition from others outside campus. Before joining Homoscu, some members didn't dare to accept their sex orientation, " Hu said.

Another SUC student surnamed Wang, outed himself during a public activity after joining Homoscu.

"After my public announcement, most classmates and teachers support me. I'm not as depressed as before," he told the Global Times. "Homoscu is really like my home."

However, not all the homosexual members are willing to come out of the closet. Few members told their families and most haven't made it public, according to Hu who has done so.

Among them, lesbians usually keep a lower profile. None of them are willing to accept an interview with the Global Times.

"We don't encourage or discourage them to come out because it's a personal choice. But that choice is closely related to the society's attitude to homosexuals," he said.

No longer a 'disorder'

Homosexuality was defined as a "mental disorder" until April 2001, when it was deleted from the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders.

Chen Zhouchao, a 20-year-old computer sophomore at SUC, is straight and working for Homoscu.

"Homoscu is significant to me. Most of the members are very capable and their personalities are good," he told the Global Times.

But some of his close friends criticize him for being so close to gays but he dismisses it.

"After all, my sexual orientation won't be influenced by others," he said.

Gay-friendly Chengdu

Homoscu is not the only homosexual society among Chengdu college students. There are three other similar organizations: Chengdu Gay College Student Alliance, Sunny Sky Group and Longquan Sunny Group.

The existence of the organizations owes to the city's tolerance towards gays and lesbians. Chengdu is even nicknamed "a city of gays" by some.

There are about 40,000 homosexuals in Chengdu and 40 percent of them are college students, according to Zheng Que, 23, a member of the Chengdu Gay Care Organization, which works frequently with the college gay groups.

Liao Wancheng, 20, a broadcasting and hosting arts sophomore from Chengdu University of Technology, is a gay and one of the heads of the Chengdu Gay College Students' Alliance.

Self-acceptance needed

As closeted individuals, some homosexuals are afraid of discrimination and some even look down upon themselves, Liao said.

"Many homosexuals live in a closed space. If they join homosexual associations, they will easily find friends and happiness," he told the Global Times. "What we need is not others' help, but others' understanding. I hope they accept us as common people. "

Though social organizations provide support for college homosexual students, universities should do more for them, sex sociologists said.

"Almost all Western universities have their own public and legal students' homosexual associations. China universities should do the same," said Li Yinhe, a socialist at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

At individual basis, homosexual students should be more tolerant of themselves and accept themselves for who they are, she added.

9. The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
Pride Alliance's Queer Film Series questions social norms

Blockbusters? Yes! Sneak previews? Of course! The Union’s Gallagher Theater has these in abundance, as any good Wildcat knows. But many Wildcats may not know that Gallagher also showcases films and presentations that raise awareness about a number of issues for campus organizations.

A perfect example is right around the corner: from January 26-March 30, the Pride Alliance is sponsoring a Queer Film Series. Mark your calendars for these films, which may just challenge you to think some different thoughts. Do we do provocative? Yes, we do – it’s a college campus. You’re supposed to think.

January 26, 7pm
A documentary about the closeted lives of secretly gay politicians who vote against pro-gay legislation, told through the eyes of Michael Rogers, a gay rights activist. “Outrage” exposes the secrets and hypocrisy of “individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them.”

February 16, 7pm
The topic is Miss Gay America in this documentary that highlights the similarities and differences between the pageantry that mainstream America knows, and the Drag culture that Miss Gay America glorifies.

Training Rules
February 23, 7pm
The training policies of Penn State University’s women’s basketball coach, Rene Portland, are examined here. Portland is famous for three rules- no drinking, no drugs, and no lesbians. Basketball player Jen Harris experienced the discrimination imposed on lesbian athletes at Penn State and ultimately decided to take action with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema
March 30, 7pm
This film is a close examination of the LGBTQ community’s various triumphs: experimental films, indie films, sex scenes, the transition to mainstream Hollywood drama, and more.

The film series is done in partnership with LGTBQ Affairs, ASUA, the Women’s Resource Center, and the Dean of Students Office.

For more information on this or any cultural events around campus, always keep an eye on the Student Union Calendar!

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

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