University of Cincinnati Mega Fail for Queers

I recently received an advertisement email from my Alma Mater, the University of Cincinnati, for the LGBTQ Meet and Greet. I was disturbed, but not surprised at the number of errors. Community titles were misspelled, several were un-named, and university groups names were out-dated and inaccurate. Another group hasn’t been around for almost two years.

When I was a UC student I resurrected a movement to install a university funded full time staff person for the queer community and adding queer center or queer inclusive multicultural center (their choice) to campus life. Petitions were signed with over 1,000 student, faculty, and staff signatures in support, meetings and rallies were held… This was four years ago… The fight still goes on today.

Last year an appeasement piece was offered, a space documented as a temporary space for queer students until a permanent one could be established. It is literally a closet, not big enough for more than 11 people -standing room only with no furniture that is. The “LGBTQ Center” is run by the Women’s Center, which currently holds its toe over all queer recognition and legitimacy for the University. (Can someone say problematic?) The ‘center’ holds irregular hours and is closed more than it is open. The space offers no private space for consultation with a staff person – an untrained graduate student who works out of the Women’s Center and is primarily ‘staffed’ by student volunteers who have minimal if any training in any crisis support or resource education. Additionally, and equally as important, the space has never been recognized as a safe space for queers of color or international queer students. Such a space does not exist anywhere on campus.

The Univeristy of Cincinnati and the UC Women’s Center have epically failed at supporting queer students in every sense. They cannot provide comprehensive queer education, a private community space, or a reliable, accessible resource person for students. The University of Cincinnati has no excuse for its behavior towards queer students. It is time for the school to step into the modern world and support its students as equal, valued members of the campus. I never got my queer center. How many other students must creep through their college careers never feeling included, never feeling respected, and never feeling safe?

Bloggers Note: It is worth mentioning that queer students are not the only students lacking support and space, esp. international students, many students of color, student parents, and non-traditional students.

x-posted AmplifyYourVoice.org

No More Cincinnati GenderQueers

I have just found out that the radical, genderqueer activist organization I founded almost four years ago has reworded its description. What once described the group as “a radical queer group for all gender identities and sexualities, focusing on queer, trans, and genderqueer issues” now reads that it is a “queer social, support and activist group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied students focusing on gender issues.” In the year and a half I have been gone, GenderBloc has gone from being a genderqueer and trans focused, queer radical organization to a LGBTQ social activist group… and just like the rest of the movement gender has moved from the forefront to an afterthought.

I cried when I read it.

Now the current focus of the group is “LGBTQ rights, inclusion, and visibility” and that it discusses “topics of gender a lot particularly in regards [to] those people who have a non-normative gender identity such as transgender or genderqueer.” Well, at least they talk about gender “a lot.” They wouldn’t want to leave “those people” out. They need our money and our blood to power our movement machine. They need us to die on the front lines because they are too pretty to do it. They need us to stir their souls into knowing that there is more here than what we’ve all been told… but they’ll never tell anyone about it.

I realize that this is an honest attempt to make GenderBloc better. I realize this makes GenderBloc more packagable. I realize that some people feel queer isn’t good enough and need to separate us into an acronym. I realize that there aren’t hoards of genderqueers around Cincinnati so people think we don’t need help. And I’ve finally realized that GenderBloc isn’t my baby anymore…

Someone once said to me, “I love GenderBloc is because its a place to belong for people who have never belonged anywhere.” It was one of the best things anyone has ever said to me, and I’ll always have that.

x-posted Amplifyyourvoice.org