The Chronicle’s View: Lavender graduation’s message may be misconstrued

On May 5, the U’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center will hold a slightly different type of graduation.

The center’s Lavender Graduation ceremony will be an opportunity for students who feel excluded from the larger student body to have a more specialized graduation event.

The Lavender Graduation will take place separately from the U’s traditional graduation ceremony on May 7.

The reasoning behind the center’s decision to hold an alternative graduation ceremony is legitimate, but the potential outcome may be less than positive.

Representatives from the center have said that the Lavender Graduation ceremony offers some students an opportunity to congratulate themselves on their academic and social accomplishments without feeling alienated from the larger graduating class due to differences in lifestyle.

This is a legitimate concern, as all students deserve an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance on their day of graduation, but there is an ironic contradiction to this logic that may have been overlooked and deserves attention.

One of the primary goals of the resource center has always been to foster an atmosphere of inclusion-no students are turned away from the center if they have dilemmas with which the center can help.

So, for the center to organize a graduation ceremony that immediately draws a line of distinction and alienation between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students and the rest of campus seems contrary.

If a true sense of inclusion and acceptance is to be established, there needs to be true inclusion and participation on the parts of all groups involved.

Aside from the seemingly contradictory messages being purported here, there is also concern that the Lavender Graduation may have an adverse affect on student-center relations because its message could easily be misconstrued.

It would be easy for students and U affiliates not associated with the center to see the establishment of a specialized graduation ceremony as an effort to disassociate one specific campus demographic from all others.

While these were most likely not the center’s intentions, it ought to be careful what types of images are being placed before the public’s eye. Unjust and invalid stereotypes abound in regards to the largely misunderstood LGBT community. If there is ever to be an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance at the U, it is necessary that divisions between the populace at large and the LGBT community be removed.