Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2011.02.06
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Inside Higher Ed - Quick Takes: Hope College Issues Statement on Sexuality
2. Blue & Gold (Centralia College) - Homophobia in America
3. The Bell Ringer (Augusta State University) - Gay-Straight Alliance Strives for Equality, Education and Support
4. The Tufts Daily - Impact on ROTC of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal unclear
5. The Signal (Georgia State University) - ‘Queering His Dream’ highlights social activists
6. The Daily LSU Reveille - Website launches system to rank schools by LGBTQ-friendliness
7. The New York Times - Chick-fil-A Protests at N.Y.U. Are Muted
8. The Advocate - Ivy Leaguers Fight ROTC for Trans Rights
9. The Wellesley News - College appoints new LGBTQ advisor
10. The Ithaca Journal - Tompkins Entertainment watch: LGBT film series at Ithaca College
11. The Harvard Crimson - ROTC Faces Uphill Battle
12. The Huffington Post - Gay Rights and University ROTC Policy
13. The McGill Daily - BSN and Queer McGill event addresses race, sexuality
14. The Windsor Star - Dan Savage bringing It Gets Better message to University of Windsor
1. Inside Higher Ed, January 31, 2011
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Hope College Issues Statement on Sexuality
Hope College's board has adopted a new statement on sexuality that affirms the legitimacy of scholarly examination of sexuality, even if that examination does not adhere to the teachings of the Reformed Church in America, with which the college is affiliated. "Hope College promotes the indispensable value of intellectual freedom and recognizes that there are Christians who take scripture seriously and hold other views. Hope College affirms the scholarly examination and discussion of all issues surrounding human sexuality even if they differ from the institutional position," says the statement. The board studied the issue and released the statement amid criticism over the college's decision last year to block an appearance on campus by Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter for the film "Milk" and an advocate for gay rights.
While the new board statement affirms the right of professors to examine issues of sexuality, it is not clear that student groups could invite someone like Black to appear on campus. The board statement says: "Sexuality, including longing and expression, is a good gift from God and a fact of our existence affirmed in the Christian scriptures and by the Church throughout the centuries. This biblical witness calls us to a life of chastity among the unmarried and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.... Accordingly, Hope College will not recognize or support campus groups whose aim by statement, practice, or intimation is to promote a vision of human sexuality that is contrary to this understanding of biblical teaching."
2. Blue & Gold (Centralia College), January 31, 2011
Homophobia in America
By Sarah Peterson, B. Eric Stak
It is impossible to know how many people in the US are homophobic. Many people are homophobic without even realizing it. Of course many people also are outspokenly homophobic. And there is the age-old self-justification for discriminatory remarks, "I hate gay people, but I'm not homophobic. I have a gay friend, Bob, the guy down the street." In other words, many are socially programmed to dislike a certain type of people, but when they actually meet that type of person they find that the person is not as bad as the social programming leads them to believe. Even so, knowing a person demonized by society is often not enough to change one's behavior, speech patterns, or attitudes.
So, does it bother you to hear a comment about someone being gay? For instance, the phrase, "That's so gay!" People often make these comments with no regard for how it makes others feel.
How do you feel when you see a flamboyantly gay person? What do you think? Many people feel uncomfortable; perhaps even "homophobic."
When people have a "phobia," it usually means they are afraid of something; so one can assume the definition of homophobic is a person who is "afraid of gay people." Wrong! Most people aren't really "afraid" of homosexuals, the way the word is used today means to "hate" gays.
Last year, nine out of ten LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender) students reported that they were harassed during school. According to thinkb4youspeak.commore than one-third of LGBT are physically assaulted.
"My children are gay and it's me who doesn't feel safe," a young mother stated. "My daughter lost her job because people at work were harassing her, and I kept calling to have something done about it."
"And my daughter was almost raped by her roommate because he believed that it would make her choose men over women," lamented the young mother.
On another occasion, the local paper came to Centralia's Gay Pride Parade and interviewed a young man. They published his picture and the fact that he was gay without permission. His family did not previously know about his sexual orientation, so that "public outing" caused a lot of grief for him and his family.
Situations like this need to be taken seriously because there are people who might take an opportunity like this to hurt gays. Many gay people publically exposed like that end up hurt, or even dead.
Last year, in just three weeks, five teens committed suicide because they could not handle the stress and harassment from being gay; and those are only the cases that made headlines! There is no way to tell how many gays have actually taken their lives.
"People need to learn how to deal with homophobia and why it is offensive," Genesis Leal, Director of Social Issues at Centralia College, said.
Leal believes the problem with most homophobes is the need to be more open-minded. "People are entitled to disagree, but they need to be more respectful of others feelings, not just their own," she said.
"I feel that people who make derogatory comments toward gays are basically ignorant. They have not been taught to accept people who are different from them. They think it is okay [to think that way] because they are what society considers normal. I think it is pretty disrespectful in the end," a young man who preferred to remain anonymous, said.
It is unfortunate that due to the circumstances of the times and setting, most of the individuals interviewed did not want their names to be used in this article because they are afraid it will only increase the constant harassment they receive.
One person said he understands that when people say things like "That's so gay!" they just mean that "something is stupid."
"Even though I know what they are talking about, it is still hurtful," he said.
Many around campus feel that it is wrong when people are treated differently because they are gay.
"The only difference, in my opinion, is that they can't make babies," Rebecca Painter, a CC student, said.
The Student Activities Admissions Team recently held a "Chat-N-Chow" titled, "That's So Gay!" Seven staff members and fourteen students attended, and everyone had helpful comments and felt the meeting went well.
"We chose to discuss ‘That's so Gay' because we believe that the campus needs to have an open table concerning this issue; a time to sit down and talk about this problem," Genesis Leal said.
Sara Kaiser, a student attendee added, "In the ‘now' generation, when we say something like ‘That's so Gay,' it is because we are looking for something to describe how we feel, but we don't think about how it will make someone else feel."
Dani Chang directed the Chat-N-Chow. She is the Student Director of Student Activities from Green River Community College. She held a presentation at the NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) and the SAAT team found her to be very motivating and a clear speaker.
Chang emphasized, "Education is Key!"
"You won't know how to handle a situation or how it really makes someone feel when you say gay comments unless you put yourself in their shoes. It is common sense," Chang said.
Gay people who feel hurt by someone making rude comments regarding gays should confront them (in a safe environment). Using calm language can help prevent retaliation and taunting. Never bully back and stoop to that level of ignorance, which can only make the problem worse.
Using any type of vulgar language can be hurtful; but making comments directed toward the LGBT community is without question inappropriate. Ugly comments hurt people. People should take a moment to consider how they treat others, and most importantly, think before they speak.
3. The Bell Ringer (Augusta State University), February 1, 2011
Gay-Straight Alliance Strives for Equality, Education and Support
By Shawna Freeman
Campus club lambda Alliance offers support to homosexual students while promoting equality for both gay and straight individuals.
Lambda Alliance is an on-campus club with a mission to promote equal rights for both gay and straight students. It is often referred to as the Gay-Straight Alliance.
“We believe that rights are even rights, no matter who you are,” said lambda Alliance club treasurer Julie Hudson, a public administration graduate student. “You don’t have to be gay to believe in gay rights. There are all kinds of issues that affect every facet of the community, but disproportionately affect gay people.”
Robert White, the club secretary and a freshman early childhood major, is homosexual, and said he told his family about his sexual orientation when he was in middle school.
“It felt like a big burden on my shoulders- a secret that I had to tell someone,” White said. “So I eventually got up the nerve to write my mother a letter… and I taped it to my bedroom door… And eventually, I came out to everyone, and it felt so great not to have that burden on me.”
White said that although he and his partner of seven years have encountered some stares over the course of their relationship, his experience at Augusta State University has been largely accepting.
“I think ASU is pretty accepting of homosexuals,” White said. “I took a speech class and all of my topics were about homosexuality. I am very open about my homosexuality… Many people need to know that homosexuality is not a choice, contrary to popular belief.”
Hudson, who is heterosexual, said she initially joined lambda Alliance to show support for her nephew who was having trouble coming out of with his homosexuality. In the process, she said the club was able to help him feel more comfortable and unashamed of his sexuality.
“To see his face and how happy it made him to see that there are other people (like he is) was amazing,” Hudson said. Hudson said the environment of the club on campus is what really stood out to her and kept her an active member. According to Hudson, people on campus are mature and welcoming about the club and its values. “We found that everyone who joins lambda Alliance is already out,” Hudson said. “But they all have their stories; they all have their struggles.”
Lambda Alliance also participated in community events like the Augusta’s first official Pride Parade in 2010. White and Hudson expressed that they hope to be able to reach more people on campus and in the community.
“I would really like to do outreach into the school system,” Hudson said. “I think that’s really important because of things like the recent events of kids killing themselves from bullying. Of course kids before that and after that are still being picked on. Whether they are gay or straight, they are because they don’t prescribe gender roles. They should have every right to be who they want to be without going home everyday and feeling bad about who they are.”
Following the club’s first meeting of the semester on Jan. 26 in the JSAC, White and other members encouraged students to attend the Parents, Families and Friends of lesbians and Gays (PFlAG) meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta on Jan. 29. According to White, the new Augusta chapter of PFlAG is an “advocacy, education and support organization” that shares “similar core values and goals” with lambda Alliance.
Hudson and White both said they hope to see membership rise even higher this semester and they are always sure to remind people that lambda Alliance is a club for the gay, straight, tall, short, black, white and all between.
“I really want people to remember that no matter who you are, be who you are,” Hudson said.
For more questions about lambda Alliance and its events, contact Julie Hudson at email@example.com and Robert White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. The Tufts Daily, February 1, 2011
PO Box 53018, Medford, MA 02155
Impact on ROTC of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal unclear
By Sarah Strand
While many Americans were preparing for holiday festivities, the nation's lesbian, gay and bisexual community had another reason to celebrate: President Barack Obama on Dec. 22 signed into law the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT), the policy barring service of open homosexuals in the United States military.
With preparation for the implementation of the repeal slated to begin as early as this month, questions remain about the policy's nationwide impact on Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program, the college−based officer−commissioning program that requires a post−graduation active duty commitment. The military grants ROTC participants merit−based scholarships or living expense stipends.
In addition to prohibiting gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly, DADT created significant tension between the military and colleges across the United States; many universities — though not Tufts — banned on−campus ROTC battalions and courses during the Vietnam War and have cited DADT as a factor preventing the program's restoration.
Part of being an ROTC member in the greater Boston area includes completing training and taking classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which serves as the host institution for the Paul Revere Battalion, encompassing close to 90 cadets from the ROTC programs at Tufts, Harvard University and Wellesley College, among others.
For Tufts, the lack of a separate ROTC battalion and courses is strictly a logistical and fiscal issue, according to Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences James Glaser, though both Massachusetts law and Tufts policy prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"The military isn't interested in establishing a separate unit here on campus," he said. "It's cost−effective that way."
Glaser added that Tufts does not offer cross−registration with MIT, preventing students from procuring credit for ROTC courses taken there.
Despite the lack of direct relation between the DADT repeal and Tufts' ROTC program, Glaser supports the policy's abolition.
"I have been a supporter of ROTC all along, but I didn't like ‘don't ask, don't tell,' and I'm glad it is in the past," he said.
Some colleges that previously banned their own ROTC battalions have now expressed willingness to reconsider. In a statement to the Boston Globe, Harvard President Drew Faust said that she "look[s] forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard's full and formal recognition of ROTC."
Administrators at Yale and Columbia Universities have publicly expressed similar sentiments.
What remains to be seen is whether the opportunity for gays and lesbians to serve openly will impact nationwide ROTC interest and enrollment.
"ROTC develops and trains cadets and commissions officers … to serve as officers in the Army. We have a proven leadership development program. I do not see that changing," Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Hall, commander of the Paul Revere Battalion, said in an e−mail to the Daily. "As far as participation goes, the choice to serve is deeply personal. I have no way to predict whether there will be more participation or not."
Glaser saw a possibility for increased ROTC involvement on the part of gay and lesbian Tufts students who had never previously considered military service as a feasible option given the sacrifices mandated by DADT.
"Maybe more of our students will find the military to be a career path because they won't have to compromise their identity to be a part of it," he said.
Sophomore ROTC cadet Sam Chapin was indifferent to the impact of DADT on the Paul Revere Battalion.
"Personally, it won't really affect me or those I'm around," Chapin said. "I think it has been made more important by the media than it really is."
Senior Sean O'Loughlin, also an ROTC cadet, noted that the distinction between ROTC and actual military service renders DADT somewhat irrelevant to active ROTC cadets.
"We live in ‘cadet land,' not the life of an actual soldier." O'Loughlin said. "We are students first, and it creates a different culture that might not be true to the army as a whole."
5. The Signal (Georgia State University), February 1, 2011
44 Courtland Street, Suite 200, University Center, Atlanta, GA 30303
‘Queering His Dream’ highlights social activists
By Suchi Sajja
As a part of the 2011 MLK Se ries, Georgia State's student organi zation, BlackOUT, designed a display entitled "Queering His Dream." The display highlighted activists such as Angela Davis, Audre Lord, Marlon Riggs, and Gloria Wakins, also known by her pen name bell hooks. Located on the first floor of the Student Cen ter, the display will stay up from Jan. 21- Jan. 31.
Angela Davis was a political ac tivist and author who associated her self with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s. Davis joined the Communist Party in 1968, following Dr. King's assassination. She focused on promoting women's rights and ra cial justice.
Audre Lord, a writer, identified herself as "a black feminist lesbian mother poet." Her work focused on racial issues and lesbian feminism.
Marlon Riggs was a poet, film maker and gay rights activist. Best known for his documentaries, his films discussed homophobia and confronted racism. The National En dowment for the Arts, a government agency, sponsored Rigg's works, while many people protested them. Riggs died of AIDS in 1994.
Gloria Watkins, also known as Bell Hooks, was a writer as well. Watkins focused on the idea that race, class, and gender were inter connected and that they needed to be dealt with together.
"Queering his Dream" is a time line that highlights a trajectory of activists who have not only worked for racial and economic justice, but also gender and sexual liberation," said Onyekachi Ekeogu, a member of BlackOUT. "In effect, the display will acknowledge how gender, sexuality, and race influence inequality and in tersect in ways that continue to influ ence the lives of minorities such as queer people of color."
BlackOUT is comprised of lesbi an, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, and questioning students of African descent," said the Women's Studies Institute webpage. According to their Facebook page, BlackOUT aims "to create a safe space on the campus of Georgia State University for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning people and their allies, foster dialogue that promotes consciousness-raising, par ticularly around the intersections of racial, sexual, and gender identities and oppression, develop program ming that fosters understanding and awareness of the culture(s) of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning people, and to promote social and academic justice through collabora tive efforts with other groups who are engaged incomparable goals and objectives for the betterment of the campus of Georgia State University and the downtown community."
"The concept of the wall was to offer a trajectory of critical activism that has influenced Black queers," said Lamont Riggs, a member of BlackOUT who helped create the display. "We focused on folks who have struggled for racial/economic justice as well as gender/sexual lib eration. The project is far from being complete, so BlackOUT has decided to make "Queering His Dream" a se mester-long project.
6. The Daily LSU Reveille, February 1, 2011
Website launches system to rank schools by LGBTQ-friendliness
By Kate Mabry
A number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students are beginning to choose their school based on its LGBTQ-friendliness rather than the school's academic reputation.
Campus Pride, a national non-profit organization established in 2001, recently launched its "Campus Climate Index," which ranks some of the country's highest and lowest LGBTQ-friendly colleges.
According to the index, Emory University in Atlanta was ranked the top LGBTQ-friendly school in the South. However, many schools, including LSU, have not submitted any information to the website yet and have not been added to the database.
Chaunda Allen, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said she wasn't familiar with the index but thought the concept was interesting.
"We'd definitely be interested in looking into completing a questionnaire and seeing what the website has to offer for our students," Allen said.
Elaine Maccio, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, said she believes students are better off knowing more information about their school choices before enrolling.
"LSU would be doing a great service by providing as much information as possible, and all colleges should want students to find their best-fit school," Maccio said. "However, it's also important to consider the credibility of the website, who runs it and what their intentions are."
Spectrum, an activist and support group for LGBTQ students as well as questioning students and their supporters of the LSU community, is one of the largest student-run LGBTQ organizations on campus.
Spectrum's goal is to create an inclusive and social environment for LGBTQ students to network while also leading activist and educational projects that identify the needs of the LGBTQ population at LSU, said Kat Barry, Spectrum president and English senior.
"We have monthly meetings, social activities, political activism and education and outreach opportunities," Barry said in an e-mail. "We also work very closely with the Office of Multicultural Affairs while providing individual students with support and resources through programs like First Contact, where new students are paired up with a peer mentor."
Spectrum is currently working on an assignment with Residential Life and Multicultural Affairs to begin a residential community project. The main goal will be to help students connect in their living communities and to increase the level of support and protection in ResLife policies, Barry said.
"For example, we want to ensure transgender-friendly housing policies. Something like this has never been done at LSU, and it will be an important connection of departments and organizations across campus," Barry said.
The University has made a lot of progress, and there is a momentum of students being out and being active as leaders in the community, Allen said.
However, while Spectrum does what it can for students, many feel it's the University's responsibility to invest more in the safety and growth of its LGBTQ students.
"While LSU is not an openly hostile environment for LGBTQ students and we have a very active and enthusiastic student organization and strong support from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, LSU could do a lot more to protect and support LGBTQ students, faculty and staff in official and institutional ways," Barry said in an e-mail.
Barry said the most important next step for the LGBTQ student population at the University is to have a full-time staff member devoted to queer issues, and the OMA is working on a new LGBTQ initiative that will launch this semester.
"We are hopeful that this project will include a staff position because only then will the adequate levels of LSU-wide support begin to surface at LSU," Barry said in an e-mail. "These are the sorts of steps that must be made before we see something like an LGBTQ resource center in the future."
The University includes sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy, but Barry said gender identity and expression are not included in the policy, which means transgender employees are not protected at all from discrimination based on those identities.
Even many conservative colleges include domestic partner benefits, but in this case, the University is "behind the curve, and we'd like to see it change," Maccio said.
Maccio said she thinks there's still room to grow.
"We could always use a group for LGBTQ graduate students, LGBTQ students of color, or even LGBTQ students within colleges or even individual departments," she said.
Contact Kate Mabry at email@example.com
7. The New York Times, February 2, 2011
620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018
Chick-fil-A Protests at N.Y.U. Are Muted
By Patrick McGeehan and Meredith Hoffman
On some college campuses, students are agitated about the presence of Chick-fil-A, a purveyor of Southern-style chicken sandwiches that has run afoul of some proponents of same-sex marriage. But at a New York University cafeteria, the only place in the city where a craving for Chick-fil-A can be sated, the squawking has been limited.
Some N.Y.U. students have complained to the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center, said John Beckman, a university spokesman. And a Facebook group Remove Chick-fil-A from NYU (and thus NYC!) is up and running.
But so far, the food court in Weinstein Hall continues to serve the chain’s fried-chicken nuggets, sandwiches and waffle fries, he said.
Elsewhere, gay-rights advocates have stoked opposition to Chick-fil-A since one of its outlets in Pennsylvania lent support to marriage seminars, scheduled for next week, that were arranged by a group that has been outspoken against same-sex marriage. At Indiana University’s campus in South Bend, a student group persuaded the university to ban Chick-fil-A products briefly. On Monday, that university’s chancellor invited Chick-fil-A to return to campus on Wednesday.
The president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, has said that the company was not endorsing the seminars, merely providing food at them.
At N.Y.U., JJ Bishop-Boros, a member and former officer of the university’s Queer Union, said the group had decided against pressing a boycott “that focuses only on Chick-fil-A and gay marriage.” Instead, he said, Queer Union hopes to meet with other campus groups to examine the practices of each food distributor on campus, from the wages they pay workers to environmental issues.
“If we only criticize Chick-fil-A, we’re almost justifying other businesses’ practices,” he said. “It would be hypocritical.”
In the dining hall, students who were lined up for Chick-fil-A food said they were unaware of the controversy.
“Chick-fil-A’s great, and it’s the only one in New York City, which makes it even cooler,” said Morgan Ingari, a sophomore, as she reached for a bag of waffle fries.
But behind her, J. P. Borum, a writing professor who was making her first foray to Chick-fil-A, reversed course after hearing about the flap. “I’m gay and Episcopal,” she said, opting instead for a salad from another station. She said she had “never heard a peep about this from students.”
At N.Y.U., the complaints have not been brought to the university senate for discussion, Mr. Beckman said. He said that the products of another Atlanta-based company, Coca-Cola, had been banned from campus for a few years after students protested against the company’s labor practices.
The station serving Chick-fil-A’s food has been a popular part of a food court in the dining hall on University Place in Manhattan since the fall of 2004, Mr. Beckman said. Chick-fil-A won out in a student taste test when the dining hall was being revamped by its operator, Aramark, he said.
Mr. Beckman said the food court was open only to students and others with university identification cards, but as food bloggers have written, this policy does not seem to be heavily enforced, and on some food-oriented Web sites like Yelp.com, outsiders have shared tales of their incursions spurred by serious cravings for fried chicken and pickles on a buttered bun.
“Thank God for this hidden treasure!” one reviewer wrote on Yelp. “Yes it’s in an N.Y.U. dining hall. But if you feel too weird eating with students you can get plastic bag and take it to Washington Square Park.”
8. The Advocate, February 2, 2011
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Ivy Leaguers Fight ROTC for Trans Rights
By Michelle Garcia
Students at Stanford and Harvard are taking a stand to keep the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) away from their campuses until the military is completely inclusive and allows transgender people to join its ranks.
Alok Vaid-Menon, President of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, said in a statement, that now was the time to make such demands, as the U.S. military prepares to repeal the ban on openly gay and lesbian troops.
“A re-introduction of ROTC on college campuses (including Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia) that include ‘gender identity’ in their non-discrimination clause is a fundamental violation of policy and an endorsement of discrimination,” Vaid-Menon said.
The group from Stanford and the Harvard Transgender Task Force wrote a joint statement to their college administrators asking them to consider not being so fast to welcome the ROTC back after a moratorium during the enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell."
The Transgender American Veterans Association released a statement Tuesday in support of the students' efforts.
"Allowing military recruiters and ROTC programs back on university and college campuses would not further equality under the law," the statement read. "This is because that along with sexual orientation, most universities and colleges have non-discrimination policies that include gender Identity and/or gender expression. Allowing ROTC programs back on university and college campuses before allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military services would violate the intent of antidiscrimination policies these universities and colleges currently have in place to protect transgender people from discrimination.
9. The Wellesley News, February 2, 2011
300 Billings Hall, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481-8201
College appoints new LGBTQ advisor
By Lesley Thulin
Dr. Leah Fygetakis has been appointed the new Director of LGBTQ Programs and Services. She began work this January.
Fygetakis holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the Ohio State University and a graduate certificate from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Fygetakis worked as a trained psychologist at Boston University for the past 18 years and served as the director of the University's Counseling and Wellness Center for 14 of those years.
Student-led LGBTQ organizations Spectrum and Wellesley for Equality each had at least one representative involved with the hiring process for the new Director of LGBTQ Programs and Services.
"We are very happy to say that we were able to say who would best fit our needs," Spectrum president Ariana Zarate '11, said in an e-mail. "Because we got to read through and vote on the applicants and meet finalists, we feel that Leah's appointment as the new LGBTQ adviser was an example of administration and students working together."
As Wellesley's Director of LGBTQ Programs and Services, Fygetakis expects to collaborate with the administration and student organizations to create programs "in a model of celebrating diversity for all." Fygetakis also plans to reach out beyond the LGBTQ community to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues.
"Leah is very perceptive and will be meeting with students, faculty and staff here at Wellesley to make her own observations about the needs of our community," Director of Residential & Campus Life Kristine Niendorf said. "The ultimate goal is to reach as many students as possible, and I know she will have creative ideas to do this work."
Fygetakis has committed to regularly holding open office hours for students. "I want students to tell me what they think the campus needs and what they need," she said. "I'd [also] like to hear from faculty and staff," she added.
According to Zarate, the best way to determine the campus needs is through a survey. Mission Change, an LGBTQ organization made up of both Spectrum and Wellesley for Equality members, conducted a survey two years ago that Zarate believes should be replicated.
Moving forward, Zarate has at least one other specific goal in mind: she hopes to work with Fygetakis to deal with how the Admissions Office handles LGBTQ issues. "The people with whom I've spoken feel like the Admissions Office tries to ignore or downplay the gay community at Wellesley," she said. "As Leah familiarizes herself with Wellesley and listens to the concerns of the students, I think that eventually we will be able to work together on this conflict."
Fygetakis also recognizes that some students face "extra layers of challenge."
"I know that our students of color [who identify as LGBTQ] sometimes face this split in their identities," she said. "It's hard to feel that you belong in either community." She hopes to work with Harambee House and the Assistant Dean of Latina Students.
Fygetakis can attest to struggling with identity from personal experience.
"I was very challenged when I came out to myself in being Greek and being a lesbian," she said. "I have a profound appreciation for what it's like when one strongly identifies with their ethnicity and [the ethnicity's] culture is not open to the concept of sexual orientation. It's a work in progress. You have to move through the world with that full identity and be prepared for disappointments and surprise within [your] ethnic community."
According to Fygetakis, people expected it to be easy for her to come out as a Greek lesbian. Citing Sappho, they would claim that Greeks practically "invented homosexuality."
But that is "hardly the culture at all." According to Fygetakis, 97 percent of Greeks identify as Greek Orthodox, including herself. Fygetakis experienced conflict with the highly traditional Orthodox Church while she was writing a chapter for a book about Greek-American lesbians' coming-out process. While she wanted to directly quote the Orthodox Observer, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's monthly newspaper, she needed permission to exceed the word quota for her published article. When she contacted her editors, however, the issue turned from simple mechanics to the content of her publication.
"It went from editor to supervisor to the archbishop himself," she said. "Ultimately the editor told me, ‘I'm sorry, but you cannot quote from our paper.'"
Fygetakis' intent was not to paint the Church in a bad light. "I didn't want to interpret the article. That's why I directly wanted to quote it."
Fygetakis described the experience of getting refused as "deeply difficult." She experienced similar difficulty when organizing the baptism of her twin sons through the Greek Orthodox Church. "I wanted to do it with full understanding [of the structure of her family]." But this understanding quickly proved evasive.
"I can't tell you how many doors were shut on me," she recalled. Fygetakis eventually found a Greek Orthodox priest in Portsmouth, N.H., who welcomed her.
Outside of Wellesley, Fygetakis works part-time as an executive coach in leadership development with the Social Innovation Forum, a philanthropy program of a consulting firm that mobilizes non-profit organizations. Since her appointment as Director of LGBTQ Programs and Services, she has been impressed with the leadership opportunities open to students on campus.
"Students [at Wellesley] are empowered," she said. "If [they] want to do something, it seems that you just start it up and do it and staff are here to help support in any way. There doesn't seem to be a lot of layers of bureaucracy."
10. The Ithaca Journal, February 3, 2011
123 W.State St., Ithaca, NY 14850
Tompkins Entertainment watch: LGBT film series at Ithaca College
The eighth annual "Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen" film series continues at Ithaca College with screenings throughout the spring semester.
Sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Education, Outreach, and Services, the film series this year explores the theme of History and Heroes of the movement.
The series will present a total of six films during the spring semester. All are free and open to the public with shows beginning at 7 p.m. and held in Textor 102. Information about the screenings is available at http://www.ithaca.edu/sacl/lgbt/events/sfs10/
-Feb. 16: a double feature screening in observance of Black History Month. First, at 7 p.m. "Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @100", followed at 8 p.m. by "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin"
-March 9: "Word is Out"
-March 23: "The Times of Harvey Milk"
-April 6: A double feature in celebration of Math Awareness Month. First, at 7 p,m. "Decoding Alan Turing", followed at 7:20 p.m. with "John Nash: A Beautiful Genius"
For more information on the series, contact Lis Maurer at 274-7394 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. The Harvard Crimson, February 3, 2011
14 Plympton St., Cambridge, MA 02138
ROTC Faces Uphill Battle
By Tara W. Merrigan and Zoe A. Y. Weinberg
It is unlikely that Harvard will be able to boast a full Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in the next three to five years, according to Chairman of Harvard Advocates for ROTC Capt. Paul E. Mawn USNR (Ret.) ’63.
Many observers expected Harvard to officially recognize ROTC after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but the University has not publicly recognized the military training program.
The University must take several steps and overcome obstacles if it wants to host the ROTC’s three programs—Army, Navy, and Air Force—Mawn said.
University President Drew G. Faust met with Admiral Mike Mullen in November shortly before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prohibited gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military, while he was visiting the Institute of Politics, University spokesperson John D. Longbrake said.
Despite the University’s expressed interest in bringing back the program—which withdrew from Harvard’s campus in 1969—“nothing concrete has been done yet,” according to Mawn.
The unit’s return to the University faces a series of hurdles including questions over funding and whether—despite the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—the military might still be in violation of Harvard’s non-discrimination policy.
Openly gay and lesbian individuals are expected to be able to serve after top government officials certify the policy’s repeal, but transgender and intersex-identified individuals are still not permitted to enlist because the military considers gender identity disorder—the psychological classification that describes transgenderism—and intersexism to be medical disqualifications.
Members of the Harvard queer community have said that the University—with its policy of non-discrimination—would be taking a hypocritical position if it allowed ROTC to return to campus.
“I think it’s wonderful that gay and lesbian folks can serve openly and can take on their right to serve, but ROTC and the military still openly violate Harvard’s non-discrimination policy,” said Harvard College Queer Students and Allies Co-Chair Marco Chan ’11. “Harvard needs to uphold our fundamental ethic of equal opportunity.”
Additionally, the lack of student interest in ROTC poses a major challenge for the unit’s return to campus because low enrollment would not justify having a unit on campus, said Isaiah T. Peterson ’12, who is in Air Force ROTC.
“Harvard needs to open up dialogue about what it means to train leaders,” said Associate Professor Kevin Kit Parker, who is a Major in the active US Army Reserve and a combat veteran.
In order to increase student interest, Mawn said that Harvard would have to refocus its admissions policies by actively recruiting and prioritizing students who exhibit an interest in military service.
But Parker said that this is the wrong way to increase ROTC enrollment at Harvard.
“I don’t think that we should re-look at the way that we admit. Harvard should endeavor to have the best ROTC program as part of endeavoring to be the best university. We will draw the very best ROTC students if we have the very best program,” Parker said.
Attempting to bolster the level of student interest in ROTC raises larger questions about the role of military service in the lives of Harvard undergraduates, who, Mawn says, do not consider the military a form of public service.
An attitude shift needs to occur and “Harvard has to show good faith in the process,” Mawn said.
ROTC may also face resistance from the faculty because of concern that military courses would not meet Harvard’s academic standards. A school that hosts ROTC is obligated to accept into the faculty any military instructors that are chosen by the Pentagon, according to Mawn.
Nathaniel G. Butler ’68, a Navy veteran and board member of the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, believes that this opposition may simply be an attempt to delay the return of ROTC.
But Mawn does not foresee this as a significant hurdle, in part because many of the dissenting faculty are preparing for retirement, he said. “We can work around that.”
Though the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” passed last November, the measure is unlikely to be implemented until next fall as the Pentagon puts in place a plan to roll out the new policy without detracting from military readiness.
Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at email@example.com.
Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. The Huffington Post, February 4, 2011
Gay Rights and University ROTC Policy
By Jonathan R. Cole
In lauding the legislation that ended the "don't ask, don't tell" [DADT] policy that will allow gay and lesbians to serve openly in the American military, President Barack Obama in his second State of the Union address called "on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation." While the legislation that ended the hypocritical DADT policy was surely welcome and a step forward, and although legislation already existed (the 1994 Solomon Act) that forced universities to open their campuses to military recruiters, the president made a mistake in equating (even implicitly) an end to an opprobrious military policy with basic equal civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans.
In fact, even the DADT policy left many inequalities between gays and straight members in the military. But more broadly, the legislation failed to address the broader inequalities that continue to haunt gay couples in America. As one who would like to see the military be able to recruit the brightest young people interested in entering the armed forces or intelligence services, and thus hoping to see the day when programs like ROTC might return to Ivy League and other campuses, I continue to believe that moment has not arrived because basic civil liberties that conflict with fundamental university anti-discrimination policies continue to haunt our military and our nation.
Most universities like Columbia University have broad anti-discrimination policies. It is one of its core values. Columbia's states, for example:
[Columbia] does not discriminate against or permit harassment of employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression)... or any other legally protected status.
The problem is that gay couples simply have not achieved equal protection under the law and they suffer sharp disparities from not being permitted to marry- which until relatively recently was a matter left to individual states. Consider only a few in the military and more widely in the general society. A former marine who commanded troops in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, Zachary J. Iscol, reminds us that, "Without repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]... the spouses of gay and lesbian troops are ineligible for military benefits... gay spouses will remain ineligible for death benefits or for extension of citizenship to surviving spouses of those killed. They ... also will not be entitled to the same medical benefits or the extension of emergency leave to visit an immediate family member.... [If your gay spouse or partner] is killed in combat, [w]ill someone even bother to knock on your door?" In short, the idea that the Domestic Partners and Obligations Act, which repeals DADT, produces true equality even in the military is simple false.
But the inequalities between married couples and gay couples continue in almost all laws involving marriage passed by the federal government. Spouses of married couples who are federal employees can receive Social Security benefits for retirement and survivor benefits, gay couples cannot; those who file joint federal income tax returns have advantages over those who must file individual returns. Since DOMA does not recognize the traditional domain of control by states over marriage, it determines who is eligible for federal benefits. Consider a few other of these. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, the federal government grants up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for one's spouse. This is not available for gay couples. Gay individuals are often refused entry into hospitals to see their ill partners, which is never denied married couples. In matters related to raising children, same-sex couples have virtually no guarantees. The federal government will not permit gays or lesbians to sponsor their partner for immigration purposes. Most states are not much further along in their legislation than Congress. Some, for example, forbid gay couples from adopting children. If a gay person is in a relationship with another who has a child by a previous relationship, the legal status and rights of both parents and children are very much in limbo. As far back as 2004 the U.S. Accounting Office cataloged 1,049 federal statutory provisions under the United State Code that were "contingent on marital status or in which marital status is a factor."
In sum, we are far from achieving minimal guarantees of "equal protection" under the laws for gay and lesbian couples. While universities have made progress over the past decade in providing health and other benefits to gay couples on an equal footing to married couples, there continue to be many ways in which gays and lesbians do not have equal rights on our campuses. We need to get our own house in order as well as demand that the federal government repeal DOMA and explicitly guarantee gay couples the right to marry with full benefits from the states and federal government. The federal government has the right to deny certain benefits to people, but it should not be able to discriminate against one class of people in doing so. That is the situation that we continue to face today as we press toward true equal rights for gay couples.
Accordingly, I think it is entirely premature to provide the nation with the false impression that the repeal of DADT has satisfied the fairness and anti-discrimination values that are held by our our universities and colleges. The Obama administration and Congress have taken a first step. Now we need to do the right thing: repeal DOMA and assure gay and lesbian couples equal protection that ought to be explicitly acknowledged as part of their constitutional rights. In fact, university professors who believe that fundamental rights of gay couples remain abridged should become actively involved in pressing their own universities for full equality and the Congress for equal protection legislation. It would be nice to have extremely bright university graduates in the military and particularly in the intelligence services -- and some of those can be supplied through ROTC. But it remains unwise to acquiesce to President Obama's call for us to forget past battles and "move forward" until the United States Congress and the President really move us forward toward equal protection for gay couples.
 Zachary J. Iscol, "Pause for Celebration." Source: The Huffington Post blog entry posted on December 23, 2010.
 Letter from Dayna K. Shah to Senator Bill Frist, Majority Leader, United States Senate. Shah was the Associate General Counsel, United States Accounting Office, Washington, DC 20548, January 23, 2004
Jonathan R. Cole's latest book is: The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected (Public Affairs, 2010). He is the John Mitchell Mason Professor at Columbia University and was its provost and dean of faculties from 1989-2003.
13. The McGill Daily, February 5, 2011
3480 McTavish St. Rm. B-24, Montreal QC, H3A 1X9
BSN and Queer McGill event addresses race, sexuality
By Erin Hudson
The Black Students Network (BSN) and Queer McGill (QM) co-hosted their first joint event, “Is it Dark in the Closet?” last Wednesday evening.
Featured speaker Rinaldo Walcott, a Sociology and Equity Studies professor from the University of Toronto, spoke about the need for “anti-racist queer politics” to address black queer history. He asked the fifty-person audience to consider black queer people as “a part of a much longer history of black disenfranchisement and marginalization.”
Rojarra Armbrister, a BSN executive member, explained the idea behind the event’s focus on homosexuality within the black community.
“There is a lot of homophobia within the black community itself, and people want answers. We don’t know where it stems from,” Armbrister said.
She noted that homophobia is present in “this generation especially,” and explained why she felt last night’s event could contribute to finding answers.
“It’s more [about] educating ourselves and educating those around us about where this comes from and what we can do to fix it,” Armbrister added.
About fifty people attended the event. Gisele Ishema-Karekezi, a McGill student originally from Rwanda, also noted the uniqueness of the event.
“This is the first time they brought up the gay issues in the black community, so I was very excited,” said Ishema-Karekezi. “It’s not really talked about in the African community.”
According to Ryan Thom, a QM co-administrator, a long discussion between BSN and QM was devoted to, “How the space will be shaped so that it [would] be a place that both racialized black students could imagine themselves at and a place where queer students who aren’t necessarily black could also imagine themselves having a place at.”
According to Thom the discussion was “delicate but really productive.”
“We don’t always have the experience or perspective to come at [issues of race], and that’s something that all the progressive organizations, including Queer McGill, work toward,” Thom said. “That’s why we have these collaborations, that’s why we work together – to draw in a different audience.”
BSN will be collaborating with QPIRG for an event this week, and will be running several events in honour of Black History Month.
“I do anticipate that you will be seeing a lot more of these events.” Armbrister said regarding the club’s future plans.
14. The Windsor Star, February 6, 2011
Postmedia Network Inc., 167 Ferry Street, Windsor, Ontario N9A 4M5
Dan Savage bringing It Gets Better message to University of Windsor
By Jeff Bolichowski
WINDSOR, Ont. -- It’s a message of hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children that’s spreading swiftly across the Internet.
Chin up, guys — once you get beyond the bullying, life gets better.
The words of support have come from hundreds of contributors on YouTube, but the brains behind the It Gets Better Project is U.S. columnist and author Dan Savage. He’ll bring his message to the University of Windsor Tuesday night for a free lecture.
Sure, almost every kid gets bullied, Savage said. But for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children, it’s often tougher to cope because many have fewer places to turn.
“Geeks and nerds aren’t dragged off to churches on Sunday where they’re told that God hates geeks and nerds,” he said. Often the bullying follows LGBT children home, where parents who don’t accept their sexuality are the worst bullies of all.
The consequences of bullying can be lethal, he said. LGBT kids are four to six times more likely to commit suicide than straight kids, and eight to ten times more likely when they’ve come out to their family and been rejected. Many are thrown out of their homes by furious parents.
“Trying to bully your kid into accepting heterosexuality is a dangerous presumption,” said Savage. “You’re really playing with your kid’s life.”
Savage, who is gay, authors the syndicated sex advice column Savage Love. He kicked off the It Gets Better Project in September after an Indiana teen, Billy Lucas, killed himself in the face of homophobic bullying at school.
Since its inception the project has drawn hundreds of videos assuring LGBT children that life improves eventually. Most are posted by everyday people who have faced homophobia and bullying in school, but even U.S. President Barack Obama has contributed.
In Canada the project has spawned videos featuring a handful of openly gay notables, among them satirist Rick Mercer and former deputy premier of Ontario George Smitherman.
But Savage said it’s the videos from regular people that hold the most power.
“For the kids to see all these lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults backing up what their parents are telling them really helps,” he said.
Some of those stories, he said, are being organized into book form.
Even Windsorites have jumped in on the action. One video, posted by Windsor man Brett Ashley, recounts his struggles with growing up gay.
“I remember seeing guy friends just being buddy-buddy and joking around as some guys do, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to be able to be like that,’” Ashley, now living in Vancouver, says in the four-minute YouTube video posted in October.
But his eyes were opened, he says in the video, when he went to Toronto and met an openly gay man with a boyfriend and an apartment, living a normal life.
“Things will improve. You’re going to be okay.”
Savage said things are a little better in Canada, where same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since 2005, than in the U.S. But homophobia is still there.
Among the first steps to clamping down on homophobic bullying, he said, is cutting out casual racism — in particular the comfort some feel in saying flagrantly homophobic things when with their friends.
He said people should challenge homophobia when they see it.
Still, things are improving, Savage said. More and more schools are hosting gay-straight alliances — many started by straight kids — where those in need can turn for support.
“It doesn’t get perfect,” he said. But even when it gets average, he said, that’s better than facing bullies.
“It gets better even when there are challenges. You move through them.”
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