With the help of other members of the Princeton LGBT Task Force (a faculty-staff-student committee which addresses LGBT policy on campus), I wrote an op-ed that appears in today’s Daily Princetonian. It argues that we don’t need marriage equality to lessen homophobia and transphobia here in our own community:
You may wonder why members of the Princeton community have to worry. Don’t lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on campus have community resources, such as an LGBT Center? Aren’t many students, faculty and staff out of the closet? Yes — but to mistake this for evidence of a safe, fulfilling and welcoming environment is to mistake tolerance for acceptance. Those of us who are LGBT at Princeton have the benefit of some institutional support; threats of physical violence against our community are no longer the predictable routine they were 30 years ago. But Princeton is far from an accepting climate in which to be queer, and many members of the University community remain closeted. Marriage would help matters. It would give same-sex relationships the legal and symbolic status of opposite-sex ones, and, practically speaking, it would make less complicated the lives of Princeton employees who live in New York, which recognizes same-sex marriages (but not civil unions). With that option now off the table, however, it’s time for us at Princeton to look inward. There’s much that we can do in our own community to change policies and attitudes, make it easier for students, faculty and staff to come out of the closet and move from relative tolerance to full acceptance of LGBT members of our community.
Go and read the whole thing, please, and for once I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. I don’t know what they did with my bio—did they confuse me with the editors of Equal Writes?—but that doesn’t diminish the value of the column.