01 November 2010

Exponent Opinion on Survey & Election tomorrow

Another one of my opinions was published in the Exponent today. The Queer Student Union voted to make the opinion from us as an organization. It can be found here, just scroll down some.

I am proud to live in West Lafayette where Gender Identity and Expression is covered by the Human Relations Ordinance, and hopefully in December Purdue University will also include Gender Identity and Expression in its Nondiscrimination Policy. There is still a lot of work to be done beyond these policies though, and I hope things will continue to move forward. Purdue needs to fix its paperwork to stop suggesting that there are only two sexes/genders at this university. Purdue needs to hire a Director of LGBTQ Affairs (change.org even has a petition for it!). Purdue needs to have more gender neutral bathrooms (a map of single use bathrooms can be found here, notice the appalling number that are still segregated). Hopefully one day in the future it will be able to have gender neutral housing (I think it is a legal issue currently though :( ). If you want a list of the tip of the iceberg for Purdue to fix their policies, please read the LGBTQ Advisory Board's white paper here. Purdue also really needs to better advertise its Bias Reporting Procedures (and QSU is going to start trying to play a role here).

Anyway, I think that is enough of a rant now.


I also want to quickly say a word about the election as well. Tomorrow are midterm elections, and I encourage all of those who are registered to vote to get out there and vote. I also urge you to consider voting Democrat. If you are here in Indiana, I think voting for Brad Ellsworth over Dan Coats is just a no-brainer. Overall though, I think the national discussion clearly shows the Republicans are going crazy. They are fighting for things like not letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, yet say they are anti-deficit. How can one be anti-deficit along with pro-war? How is it acceptable to spend trillions on war but not on the well-being of the people in our country? What is even more laughable is how anti-stimulus Republicans are when a Democrat is president, but practically ignore it when a Republican is president. Also, by the way, the private sector has seen job growth, and a lot of the job loss is in the public sector.

While the Democrats may not have gotten through many of the policies that we would like to see (A climate bill, immigration reform, DOMA repeal, DADT repeal), many of these policies have been completely blockaded by Republicans, and Democrats have only been in power for around two years. Republicans even fought to blockage policies that were just no brainers like extending unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are one of the best forms of economic stimulus because it gives money to people who need it and are just down on their luck. Instead, Republicans want to put more money in the hands of the rich.


  1. I can see how you can justify saying Purdue needs to broaden its nondiscrimination policy, but demanding it create more "gender neutral" bathrooms and saying they must hire a Director of LGBTQ Affairs? How can you justify this? Does any other group on Purdue's campus receive equivalent treatment? And how does the current male/female bathroom setup place you at a disadvantage?

  2. Jake,

    We can look at these issues from a variety of standpoints, I think recruitment and retention is one huge one. If people don't know that one group of people is protected, how can they know that they are protected?

    For the Director of LGBTQ Affairs, Purdue has lots of people tasked with handling the affairs of a particular group of people. The college of engineering alone has its own Minorities in Engineering program (with 4 staff members), and Women in Engineering program (with 6 staff members). The university as a whole has many different offices with affairs staff. There are offices such as the Woman's Resource Office (with 5 staff members), the Disability Resource Office (with 14 staff members), nontraditional students have an affairs staff person, there are three cultural centers (Black, Latino, and Native American), there is a China Center, there is an International Student Services Department, there are veterans affairs staff, et cetera.

    Affairs staff is quite a common practice. All of our peer institutions have LGBTQ affairs staff. In the corporate world, many companies even have people or divisions working on LGBTQ affairs. This is also a recruitment and retention issue. People may (and do) choose not to attend/work or leave Purdue because of this lack of staff focusing on Queer affairs.

    As for the gender neutral bathrooms, being a cis-gender person (my biological, social, and legal sex/gender match), it isn't as obvious why it effects me personally. I feel completely comfortable using the men's restroom, and though I am Gay very few people have a problem with me using the male restroom either. We can look at this from a productivity standpoint though. Is it really productive to have a single use bathroom that only a percentage of the population can use? In other words, is it okay for their to be a line at one single use restroom while the one next to it sits empty?

    Single-use unisex bathrooms are nice for a lot of reason. They give a level of privacy some people have to have. They allow somebody who may not be comfortable using one bathroom or another (I know people who have been forcibly pushed out of bathrooms) to use a bathroom without concern. They are also almost always disability accessible. We have an appalling number of single-use bathrooms that are sexed on this campus. How much harder would it be to make them unisex. What problems does a unisex bathroom even create compared to a gendered single-use bathroom? Beyond productivity and comfort, gender neutral bathrooms help with families. Little kids often end up going into a bathroom with their parents.

    Overall, Purdue is behind its peers and that hurts Purdue.