09 May 2011

The Indiana State Legislature is Hurting All of Us

Hello, I am Nicholas Goldsmith, a 21 year old from Indiana and a Boilermaker - and the current Republican-controlled Indiana State Legislature is hurting me, my friends, and my family.

While I was born outside of DC, I have lived in Indiana for all of my living memory. My parents grew up in Indiana, and my grandparents grew up or lived out their days in Indiana. Yet I am afraid Indiana is slowly losing its home feeling. I can’t say I am planning my future to be in this state, because I am not. Not with the direction it is headed. That saddens me, but I suppose we all have to face reality.

While it has been against Indiana state law for some time now, the Indiana General Assembly feels the need to rub salt in our wounds and try to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage with HJR-6. It is crushing to see our elected representatives call us, our neighbors, our friends, and our families immoral and corrupt. Plus, it isn’t just marriage they are after. They want to block us from ever having civil unions or domestic partnerships. They feel any form of recognition for same sex relationships is too much to handle. It is crushing to see this happen. It makes me worry about my state. It makes me worry about its future. I have known I was Gay for a long time. I have been a committed relationship for two and a half years. But the Indiana State Legislature has decided that is wrong. They have decided that who I love is wrong, and that everybody should know it.

What is worse is myself and my LGBTQ friends and family are not alone. The Indiana State Legislature is on the attack. I have friends who were born in the United States, legally became citizens, are legal resident aliens, or even who are undocumented immigrants who fear for their safety because of the passage of HB 1402 and SB 590. One of my friends at Purdue from Columbia is worried that she will be subject to frequent police stops if this passes. I have friends who worry they won’t be able to get an education because of this law. I worry about my friends. I want them to have a good life. I want them to have opportunities, and I don’t want them to live in fear. Purdue is a major international university. How will it be able to attract the best and brightest if those from other countries are afraid of our laws?

I also worry about my teachers. How will they fare under all of this? Haven’t schools already given enough? How much more abuse can our educational system take? What will this mean to future Hoosiers? How will they compete in a globalizing society?

I worry about my friends who work. I have friends who work hard, long hours and depend on Union protections. How will they fair with the Indiana legislature?

I worry about many of my female friends. I have a number that depend on Planned Parenthood for their contraceptives. I have many friends who have taken advantage of Planned Parenthood’s STD Testing. What will happen to them? What will happen to the STD rate, and their treatments? I have even taken advantage of Planned Parenthood’s free HIV testing. The service was important to me. What will happen to these services if Republican control of Indiana’s legislature continues?

If we think of all of these issues as separate, we are fooling ourselves. The same people that seek to ban same-sex unions are also seeking to defund Planned Parenthood and their vital services such as STD and HIV testing. The same people seeking to pass a papers-please law are seeking to end the rights of workers to unionize. And these are the same people that are going after our schools. We can’t allow this to continue.

We have to put our hope into the Democratic process, and to do that we have to inform ourselves. We have to organize. We have to get people registered to vote, we have to let people know what the legislature is doing, and we have to vote. We can’t sit and wait for change. We have to be the change.

I am Nicholas Goldsmith, and I will vote against those who vote against me, my friends, and my family.

05 May 2011

Queer at Purdue: Student Organization Fliers

Event posters are an important way for student organizations to get their name out. Unfortunately, the Queer Student Union and its sibling organizations have an almost constant battle to keep up fliers. QSU spends far more money than it should on posters just because of the need to frequently reflier those that are removed.

While I understand that it is easy for organizations to accidently cover up others fliers, there have been cases in the past when certain organizations were targeted. One of these stories was compiled by a Jen McCreight, who noticed that the Queer Student Union, Society of Non-Theist, and Delta Pi Rho fliers were being placed in certain configurations. You can read more of that on her blog at http://www.blaghag.com/2009/08/more-school-drama-flyers.html

The QSU president before me, Jessica Lee, often told a story of a flier she had seen that had been through quite a bit. After it had been posted, the flier was removed, torn in half, and left on the ground. This story luckily has a somewhat hopeful ending, with somebody picking up the two halves of the flier, taping them together, and reposting it.

Whenever QSU has complained about the difficulty of keeping our fliers posted, we have been told nothing can be done unless we catch somebody. This is especially frustrating when entire buildings are sometimes stripped of our fliers. It can also be quite clear when our fliers are selectively removed. We often joined forces to flier with Delta Lambda Phi, Gamma Rho Lambda, Ally Association, and NOGLSTP. It was quite clear when the QSU and NOGLSTP fliers (that boldly have an LGBTQ message) are missing while the DLP and GRL fliers remain (which often have a much more hidden reference to sexual orientation and gender identity in the fine print). Once, NOGLSTP even caught a janitor removing Queer Student Union, NOGLSTP, and Society of Non-Theist fliers claiming they contained objectionable material (merely because they included Gay messages and Atheist messages respectively). NOGLSTP did report this incident.

The removal of fliers has required the LGBTQ organizations (and Society of Non-Theists!) to devote extra time and money to advertisement. I hope one day these advertisements will not be so quickly removed, and that QSU can devote some of that wasted time and money to the events themselves.

02 May 2011

Queer at Purdue Update

For those of you who are interested, I have visited the Office of Institutional Equity about the College of Agriculture awards issue (due in part to the number of you who contacted me). While I am not choosing to report at this time, it is now on record with the university.

I also wanted to make a note here. While I have told many students how to report, and encouraged people to do what I just did which was to talk to the Office of Institutional Equity even if you don't choose to report, I had not done it until today. I was even being somewhat hypocritical as I had not talked about a situation I had felt. I have now gone to the office and talked even though I have not reported. I now feel it even more important to urge people to go talk to the Office of Institutional Equity. It is not difficult, and took me about a half an hour. The person I talked to was really nice, and she merely asked questions. It is not difficult, and once you start it is no longer intimidating. You can find more information on the Office of Institutional Equity at: http://www.purdue.edu/ethics/oie/

I also have to add that it is really cool to see the new Nondiscrimination and Antiharrassment policies laid out in front of you in an official capacity. I was given a booklet and several print-outs because they haven't been able to print the new booklets yet. The Nondiscrimination Policy was such a huge change here, and I am glad I could be a part of it.