SDSU truly leads the way as LGBT-friendly school

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SDSU truly leads the way as LGBT-friendly school

by Madison Hopkins

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San Diego State is known for its inclusive stance towards diversity. The LGBT community, in particular, is a large and respected part of our campus, earning Aztecs a five-star rating on Campus Pride’s LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index. I find this to be a point of pride for the progressive nature of our university and a telling factor in our dedication to creating a positive college experience for all students. That’s why I found it disappointing and hard to believe that sometimes things can still slip through the cracks.

A few weeks ago, I was reading the same newspaper you are right now, and learned that a transfer student, who identifies as a transgender man, was unable to change his name on unofficial documents or his RedID at the SDSU Office of the Registrar. The student worried that retaining his old name would cause professors to unintentionally “out” him during roll call on the first day of classes. Unfortunately, both offices mentioned in the article were unable to find any transgender policy and were clueless on how to handle the situation. Therefore, they denied his requests.

Here lies my disappointment. I read this and thought, how could we, a school known for its amazing inclusive nature, overlook something like this? This can’t be the first time this has happened, right?

I went on a mission to find answers. I had a plan to expose our school for the hypocritical nature of its nonexistent policies hidden by a cloak of false promises.

Yet none of that happened. What I did find out, not only reassured me that the situation is being handled in the best possible way, but also broadened my knowledge on just how great our school is for the LGBT community.

In response to the transgender man’s registration woes, Associate Vice President for Campus Life Timothy Quinnan said, “One of the most cherished values that this university has is one of inclusion, we really believe … that everyone matters here … So when we hear about issues like this, we listen and we evaluate and we’ll come up with an appropriate institutional response.”

He went on to explain that the school has already looked into the policies regarding the Office of the Registrar and the Red ID and is deciding on an appropriate action going forward.

Director of the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities, Lee Mintz is teaming with Quinnan to eradicate the issue. “Personally, I’m thrilled the student brought it forward so we could look into it,” she added.

The two expressed a great interest in the topic and a determination to make every Aztec feel like he or she belongs. In addition to taking a strong and speedy stance on fixing issues, SDSU provides the LGBT community with a multitude of ways to feel at home on campus. Here’s how:

1. LGBT Major

SDSU is the first school in California and the second in the nation to create a LGBT Studies major. This may not seem like much, but the creation of the major represents an acknowledgement of the importance of the community. As the LGBT culture continues to be increasingly accepted within mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and specific needs will aid students in potential jobs and create mindful members of society.

“Students are realizing that having a minor or major in LGBT studies is a huge asset in getting them into medical school, law school or even the corporate sector. It really shows that they have a level of expertise that a lot of places want. Most places really like it if their employees have an understanding of diversity,” Women’s Studies professor and LGBT academic advisor Esther Rosthblum told SDSU Newscenter.

2. LBGT Student Organizations and Events

Each year, SDSU puts on a host of events to demonstrate its commitment to the LGBT Community. To recognize the beginning of San Diego Pride Week, SDSU has a Rainbow Flag Raising Ceremony each July. SDSU also offers a Lavender graduation ceremony each spring for LGBTQI students to celebrate with other members of the community.

As for student groups, Aztecs can choose from many different LGBT organizations, including LGBT fraternities and sororities and an LGBT student union.

3. The Future “SDSU Pride Center”

According to Dr. Quinnan, SDSU will open its first LGBT center, named “SDSU Pride Center” in the near future. Although he couldn’t reveal the details, Quinnan stated high-level funding has been set aside for both the project and a LGBT coordinator, who will be announced soon.

SDSU’s loyalty to students is a testament to the Aztec community at large. Our school officials go beyond a strictly academic relationship with students by taking an active role in their sense of belonging. And when that is threatened, the matter is taken with the significance it deserves.  Students at SDSU, regardless of sexual orientation, are the beneficiaries of ongoing efforts to form a school and individuals that are respectful and encouraging of a common community where everyone can find their place.

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