17 December 2010

A Semester of Progress

This has truly been a semester of progress for the LGBTQ Community at Purdue.

The most important change to occur this semester for the Queer Community at Purdue is the addition of Gender Identity and Expression to the Nondiscrimination Policy. This was tried and failed in the past, but today became a reality. Purdue has joined its peers. This protection will go a long way in empowering Transgender, Intersex, and gender-nonconforming students, faculty, and staff to report incidents of discrimination and harassment. It also shows that Purdue stands for the inclusion of Transgender and Intersex individuals.

I can't mention the Nondiscrimination Policy without pointing out that Genetic Information (one of my pet categories) also got added. While this addition may seem odd, I think it actually is quite forward-thinking. But this is a post about the Queer Community, so I will add this for those it affects, but not go completely into my lecture.

Also, equally as important for Purdue and most important for West Lafayette, West Lafayette has expanded its Human Relations Ordinance to add Gender Identity and Expression. This reaffirms West Lafayette as an inclusive community. I hope that this makes people feel (and be) safer in West Lafayette.

Purdue has also been moving towards a more inclusive community in terms of surveys. The Housing Satisfaction Survey included the options "Transgender," and "Other," in addition to "Male" and "Female." Not long after this, and a battle that was also had in the past, was a change on course evaluations. Course evaluations no longer ask gender.

Purdue also had its first, university-sponsored, National Coming Out Day celebration. Dr Ronni Sanlo, a leading expert on LGBTQ issues on campuses, met with multiple groups to help move campus forward. World AIDS Day was recognized at Purdue, including the Bell Tower being turned red. Purdue Student Government sent a letter of support to a student body president on another campus who was harassed due to their sexual orientation. Gamma Rho Lambda became a part of the Panhellenic Association, and these are not even all of the progress that occurred!

There is still a lot of work that has to happen at Purdue, but we are several steps closer to a truly inclusive campus.

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