Furloughs and Privilege

Furlough days at Oregon State University plus privilege by Robert P Garrett

It was almost two weeks ago when the Oregon State University faculty senate voted for furloughs for all faculty (grant-supported salary is exempt) in 2010. It should be noted that the Oregon State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors “came out in support of furloughs provided that a number of important principles be included in the resolution.” I agree with the OSU AAUP’s suggestions. The top income tiers for furloughs need to be modified so that people who make more than $14,000 per month take more furlough days. If you make $168,000 pre-tax, I think you can handle a bit more of a cut. If you can’t make ends meet, then perhaps you should hire me to manage your finances.

Speaking of privilege…OSU Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Robert P. Garrett, decided that the best way to address the furlough situation was to attack Oregon State’s multicultural support programs via a letter in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. According to “Bobby,” OSU’s programs that support underrepresented and/or historically marginalized groups represent a redundant financial burden on our predominantly white campus. In summary, a white male professor on a mostly white campus says that there are just too many campus groups that support women, people of color, and LGBT folks. I wonder how many groups/organizations/offices at OSU are made up of a majority of straight white men. Anecdotally, I would offer that there are a lot…more in fact, than the “redundant” orgs of which Robert writes.

Here are few of the choicest bits from Robert P. Garrett’s letter with a few added thoughts from yours truly:

Continue reading Furloughs and Privilege

Homophobia at the University of North Texas

Rainbow flag

University of North Texas students, voting in an online referendum, have rejected the possibility of same-sex couples running for homecoming court in 2010.

The measure was defeated, 58 percent to 42 percent, after a record number of ballots for a student government election were cast in last week’s referendum.

Although most Student Government Association elections have garnered 4 percent or less of the student body vote, 13.5 percent, or 4,895 of the 36,206 students enrolled at UNT, cast ballots in the referendum.

That means that 2,839 students at the University of North Texas voted to uphold heterosexism and maintain homophobia. It also means that 2,056 students at the University of North Texas voted against the homophobic and heterosexist majority.

I hope that this referendum is reversed. However, I do not expect the University of North Texas to be listed in the The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students: A Comprehensive Guide to Colleges and Universities with the Best Programs, Services, and Student Organizations for LGBT Students.

Expanding Hate Crimes Definition

House Votes to Expand Hate Crimes Definition:

The House voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protection to lesbian, gay and transgender people.

Under current federal law, hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction are defined as those motivated by the victim’s race, color, religion or national origin.

The new measure would broaden the definition to include those committed because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It was approved by the House right before a weekend when gay rights will be a focus in Washington, with a march to the Capitol and a speech by President Obama to the Human Rights Campaign.

via The New York Times

Tennessee schools restore access to LGBT content

Rainbow flag

The default Internet filter setting for the Tennessee state-wide public school system was automatically blocking LGBT-related web content. I’m guessing that Education Networks of America (ENA) does not have a default filter setting for heterosexual-related content. They really could use a filter for heterosexism…

Dozens of Tennessee schools have restored students’ access to online information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, just a few weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against two Tennessee school districts for what the ACLU claimed was an unconstitutional blocking of student access to such sites.

David Pierce, president and CEO of the company that provides internet filtering services to as many as 107 Tennessee schools–Education Networks of America (ENA)–confirmed to eSchool News that his company has adjusted the software to allow access to a variety of educational and political LGBT web sites that were blocked before the ACLU filed its lawsuit.

Continue reading Tennessee schools restore access to LGBT content

Iowa: Cooler than California

Iowa - Cooler than California since 2009
IOWA: Cooler than California since 2009

It is ironic to me that at the moment, the state of Iowa (my home state) provides access to marriage benefits for same sex couples while California does not. The state that I currently reside in, Oregon, does not provide access to the legal benefits of marriage (Civil Unions are not the same) to same sex couples. Iowa does. If Iowa can do it, than Oregon, California, and all the rest of the states in the U.S. can do it.

Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862, (Ia. 2009)Barring same-sex couples from marriage, the court ruled, violates the equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution. Equal protection requires full marriage, rather than civil unions or some other substitute, for same-sex couples.

Jay Smooth: Miss California & opposite marriage

via ill Doctrine

Jay analyzes the inherent patriarchal oppression present in beauty pageants, Renaissance Fairs, Miss California and “opposite marriage,” heteronormative nomenclature, time machines, teleportation, and flux capacitors. Excellent.

Sports Fans and Bigoted Attitudes

via Inside Higher Education: “Research links identification with college football and basketball teams and higher levels of homophobia and sexism.”

Higher education has an image of being among the more tolerant and progressive parts of American society with regard to gender and sexual orientation. Colleges pledge to combat sexism and homophobia — and take pride in a variety of polices and programs that reflect this commitment.

Big-time athletics may be a little different. Even on campuses with large gay student groups, for example, openly gay male athletes are a rarity — and pretty much unheard of in football and basketball. Fans at universities that take pride in their inclusive campus environments think little of taunting Duke University basketball players with anti-gay slurs. At the University of Virginia, students debate why many of them feel obliged to assert their heterosexuality with a cheer at a key point when the song that follows Cavalier touchdowns makes a reference to “gay” (not in the sexual orientation way).

Research presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association suggests a possible reason: College students who are serious about their identification with their institution’s football and men’s basketball teams are more likely than other students to have homophobic and sexist attitudes.

Here’s the abstract from the AERA Annual Meeting presentation:

College athletics, particularly football and men’s basketball, plays a large role in the experiences of students and the cultures of many institutions. A long line of research and theory suggests that athletics is the domain of hypermasculinity, sexism, and homophobia, and this study examines how those values manifest themselves in fans of college athletics. From a sample of 454 college students, identification with the athletic teams at their institutions predicted higher levels of both sexism and homophobia in the students. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.

Burlington, Iowa and LGBT Rights

Burlington Iowa

Gay, transgender ordinance headed to vote“.

This was the title of a recent headline story in the Burlington Hawkeye, the newspaper of Burlington, Iowa. Why I am reading the Hawkeye? Well, it just so happens that the majority of my family lives in or near Burlington. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Burlington is the epicenter of my familial roots.

The basic gist of the article is that the Burlington Human Rights Commission wants to add language “to the city code that would list sexual orientation and gender identification as protected classes.” A city councilman, let’s just call him Jim “I’m not a homophobe if I say I’m not” Davidson, has argued against adding the protection language due to his discriminatory belief system:

Davidson said Wednesday that adding language to protect gays and transgender people would be an endorsement of “lifestyles that are unacceptable.”

“I’m not for anybody being discriminated against,” Davidson said. “But in the past decade, the agenda of homosexuals has been to make their lifestyle acceptable when it is an abhorrent lifestyle. There are a lot of people in this community that feel the same way as me.”

At a work session Monday, Davidson called homosexuality a choice. That being the case, he said, it should not to be treated the same as other protected classes.

“If I were a black person or a Jew or any other minority, I would be very upset to hear that homosexuality is considered the same as me, because it’s not. A person is black not because they choose to be black.”

Davidson is against anybody being discriminated against as long as they are not gay. His logic will make your head spin. Jim, if being gay is a choice, as you say it is (I believe that it is not a choice), wouldn’t that mean that religion should be removed from the list of protected classes? You know, religious beliefs being a choice and all… Oops. Probably didn’t get on the logic sit ‘n spin before you opened your mouth. You are probably correct about the fact that Burlington, like a lot of towns in the U.S., unfortunately, is populated with a lot of homophobic people.

Council member Matt Murray said he respectfully disagreed with Davidson’s position. He argued the council should not parse words, but take a stand against all forms of discrimination.

“What are you afraid of?” Murray asked the council. “No one should have to face discrimination here in Burlington.”

Exactly. Matt Murray for the win. And then, the mayor showcases how he completely doesn’t get it. Not even close…

Continue reading Burlington, Iowa and LGBT Rights

Federally Recognized Gay Marriage

The first federally recognized same-sex marriage will happen on the Coquille reservation in Oregon


[T]he Coquille Tribe on the southern Oregon coast has just legalized marriage on their land. And Kitzen and Jeni Branting, in a committed lesbian relationship since high school, will soon be legally wed.

Though most Native American cultures have been fairly accepting of a wide range of genders and sexualities, sometimes honoring “two-spirits” as shamans, contemporary tribal laws have mostly banned same-sex marriage.

According to Brian Gilley, anthropology professor at the University of Vermont and author of the book, Becoming Two-Spirit: Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country, “Because the Coquille is federally recognized, a marriage “occurring within the tribe would actually be federally recognized.”

via OregonLive

Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm pt. 2

Faris responded to several of the comments on his letter to white LGBT siblings at OSU. Scroll down to number 27 for some Farisian awesomeness. I’ve excerpted a few choice sentences…

Below, I will address the claims made in the above comments.

Before I do this, though, I want to make something clear about what I wrote in this column. In the above comments I read that I called people racists or that I resorted to personal attacks. This column did no such thing. I wrote, “I believe that for a white person to host a party themed “Cowboys and Indians” is racist.” No where in this sentence does it state that I believe that someone who holds this party is racist. I wrote that the ACTION of holding this party is racist. If we break down the above sentence, the subject is “to host a party,” which is an action.

This is a subtle distinction, but one that needs to be made. I don’t believe that calling someone racist does any good, as we are all affected by institutional racism and prone to racist acts when we do not think critically about our actions.

Nor was this meant to be a personal attack: I was not attacking the personhood of who hosted this party or the people who attended. I was attacking and critiquing an ACTION. It is imperative, I believe, to keep this distinction in mind.

Continue reading Homonormativity + Dominant Paradigm pt. 2