Posted by | February 12, 2011 00:36 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Cate Regan

For gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer students and their straight allies all over the country, clubs like Seattle Pacific University’s Haven provide much-needed comfort. Students create accepting environments-safe spaces-so that they can more freely engage in mature dialogues on issues that affect LGBTQ communities.

Unfortunately, it seems that Seattle Pacific’s administration has decided that LGBTQ students don’t need Haven’s support. According to the school’s newspaper, The Falcon, Haven leaders say that the club, which has never been officially sanctioned by the university, “no longer exists.”

That is how Haven leaders are interpreting the results of a Jan. 25 meeting with Jeff Jordan, associate vice president for academic affairs.

At that meeting, Jordan informed Haven leaders that they will no longer be granted the right to reserve rooms on campus for group meetings. In addition, Jordan told the student leaders he will no longer discuss the possibility of official club status for Haven, a group dedicated to discussing sexuality, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer issues.

I know from experience that clubs like Haven are incredibly important for LGBTQ kids. I was a member of a gay-straight alliance (GSA) in high school and led the group during my senior year. In high school especially, kids can be awful to each other, so having a place to talk about queer issues without being subjected to standard homophobic nonsense can really help kids feel more comfortable about their sexualities and gender identities.

Late last year, the media reported extensively on several gay teens who had committed suicide. I heard it called an epidemic, a trend, a phenomenon, you name it. The truth is, LGBTQ teens have always been killing themselves. The bullying and the rejection and the pain felt by these kids are not new things. They are, and have always been, a part of our culture.

But if you’re an administrator at a school or university–and you are concerned about teen suicide–then maybe you might not want to disenfranchise kids who are four times as likely to commit suicide as their straight counterparts. Maybe you might want to embrace them.

Tell Seattle Pacific University to make Haven an official university club.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Cate