Where is tea?
Charles O'Leary | Thursday, October 8, 2009
I was excited to read Melanie Fritz’s letter (“Clause needs updating,” Oct. 6) regarding Notre Dame’s non-discrimination clause and its failure to address the issue of sexual orientation. She is certainly not the only one to have taken notice of this problem, and that is encouraging in itself. However, Notre Dame’s failure to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination clause is only the tip of the iceberg. Although the Core Council honorably attempts to support GLBQ students, it fails to even acknowledge transgender students as needing support. Further, the University has failed time and time again to officially support a gay-straight alliance on campus. Meanwhile, Core Council’s closed membership and lack of true club status (they’re a “special interest group”) fails to truly meet the needs of those students struggling with their sexuality or gender identity.
This heterosexism also exists in more implicit settings: The University’s practice of only offering single-sex housing assumes heterosexuality and encourages the view that heterosexuality is the “default setting” instead of just the more statistically-common orientation. This is not to say that the University isn’t trying to move towards global acceptance. Certainly, the vast majority of students and faculty that I’ve interacted with are accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. It’s telling, though, that the University feels that sensitivity training sessions like CommUnity are necessary. In their current format, they presuppose homophobia among the student body by assuming that students need to be taught how to accept a minority group.
Quite frankly, today’s modern generation of students is far more accepting and progressive than the administration might like to admit. Despite generally progressive attitudes on campus, the total acceptance of GLBTQ students will never occur until the administration offers its full, sincere and complete support. Failing that, they could at least allow Core Council to replace that silly GLBQ acronym with something a little more open-minded and a little less ridiculous.