Letter to the Editor: The Meaning of ‘Sexual Minority’ Explained

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The assertions made in The Chronicle’s Feb. 27 editorial, “What the Heck is a ‘sexual minority?'” are unfounded and incorrect. To begin, The Chrony asks, “what exactly is a sexual minority?”

Here is the definition: A sexual minority is a person of a sexual orientation that is not part of the majority, i.e. heterosexual. This includes gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. It is not difficult to define the meaning of the term sexual minority. We are confident that the university community was not confused, puzzled or bewildered by the term.

College students are capable of understanding the meaning of “sexual” and “minority” and, consequently, “sexual minority.” If we had focused on ethnicity issues and used the term “ethnic minority,” we are sure The Chrony would not have been so perplexed.

The Chrony also claims that the Diversity Board “invented the term[‘sexual minority’]”. Unfortunately, The Chrony did not undertake any research before releasing its editorial. When typing “sexual minority” into the Google Search engine, I retrieved over 11,000 Web sites. Clearly, someone else had invented the term long before we supposedly had. For instance, The Chronicle has already used the term sexual minority in a 2001 article, “Union Makes Space for Gays, Lesbians.”

Additionally, The Chrony believes that a term like “LGBT,” rather than “sexual minority,” would offer improved clarity to students.

Repeatedly, however, we have heard of people confused by the LGBT term. Often, even gays and lesbians do not even know what it means. LGBT might be more specific, but not more understandable than the term “sexual minority,” and certainly even less inclusive.

Attacking the Diversity Board has been a favorite activity of The Chronicle this year. No matter the quality and effort of the board and its activities, The Chrony appears to inappropriately question the board’s efforts, but ironically reveals its own lack of awareness and prejudices.

The most interesting thing about the editorial is its lack of reasoning, support and impartial judgment. It contained only one point–that we supposedly used the wrong term: sexual minority. It is astonishing that The Chrony could suggest our activities to be a “source of embarrassment” and a “disservice to U students” when it cannot even create a decent argument to supports its claims.

Unfortunately, the only disservice done to U students is when editorials like this are published. It effectively dissuades future leaders from joining and representing groups like the Diversity Board when their activities are continually undermined and berated.

David Peterson

Diversity Board, Associate Director