Waking up on the morning of November 9, 2016 was a challenge. I sat in bed and reread CNN headlines over and over again, thinking to myself “is this real life?” The misty morning didn’t help with the fogginess that overcame my brain. The dreary weather only added to the feeling of complete despair and hopelessness.
With just two weeks to go in the 2016 race for the presidency, we have seen just about everything haven’t we? Three of the most spectacular debates that have been “highlighted” by brutal remarks like “she’s a nasty woman,” a parade of a dozen women with charges of abuse following “the tape” and remarks that have led many Republicans to publicly declare that their own candidate is not fit to serve as president. All candidates have flaws and there are in fact low approval ratings for both candidates. Wikileaks of emails sprinkling out daily have confirmed the hard-ball politics played by the Clinton campaign and these have apparently underscored low approval ratings that she is taking into the election. Under any “normal” election, with a traditional candidate on the GOP side, we might see the tightest of races now. But would we see a tight race really? What does this rather tumultuous moment in politics mean for the future of politics and our two political parties?
Happy Pride! It’s been a great pleasure to have the opportunity for the University of Baltimore to contribute to this special column “Out on Campus.” Our institution is committed to civic engagement, diversity, and social justice among the day-to-day work of excellence in higher education. We have been periodically described as a “hidden gem.” We are a great institution doing great things in Baltimore, but we don’t want to be described as “hidden” again. We wanted to tell you a bit about our College of Public Affairs and let you get to know us a bit. By reaching out this past year, we have formed so many new, exciting relationships and community partnerships. Many partnerships are having an impact on students’ lives and careers but also on our neighbors here in the city.
I am a newcomer to Baltimore. I joined this fantastic city and the University of Baltimore with my family last June. Prior to becoming the dean of the College of Public Affairs, I was a professor and director of the Masters of Public Affairs program at Western Carolina University (WCU). We lived in this quite progressive and gorgeous city of Asheville, North Carolina, which has a substantial LGBTQIA population and is the headquarters of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE). If you don’t know CSE, you should really read about them (Southernequality.org ). They have been fighting the battle for LGBTQIA rights on the front lines with love and a healthy dose of challenging discriminatory laws and protest. They are among the most impressive civil rights organizations I have ever known and are known for bringing couples together in Southern cities to ask (and be denied) a marriage license. They are heroes who raised awareness and also paved the way for legal challenges.
Facility issues among the LGBT population have been present over a long period of time and continue to be a struggle today. Whether it be the availability of restrooms or in the case of fitness centers, locker rooms, it is not always an inviting environment. A recent article chronicling the addition of a gender-neutral locker room at Utah State University detailed a student’s experience as a transman and how he worried who might see him and how they may be uncomfortable, ultimately making it uncomfortable for the individual. Additionally, the student described how the creation of a gender-neutral space eliminated his concern of getting in trouble for being in the space he was most comfortable in. This exemplifies the ongoing challenges of facility utilization by the LGBT population.
REACHING OUT TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
ADVERTISE IN BALTIMORE OUTLOUD WITH PRIDE!
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