The Chronicle’s View: A step in the right direction?

By and

In the immortal words of The Beatles, “It’s getting better all the time,” or at least it is for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center community.

According to recent information, there may be reason to believe that alternative-lifestyle students are becoming more accepted on the U campus lately.

However, there is also reason to believe that this is not necessarily the case.

The statistics are promising, if querulous: Over the last 11 years there have been 33 reported incidents of sexually oriented hate crimes reported to campus police. There have been no reports of such crimes thus far this year. Also, as opposed to the LGBT center’s first year in existence when 30 of the 50 posters up on campus advertising the center-sponsored Pride Week were torn down, virtually no posters have been disgraced this year.

The logical inference here is that there are less reported instances of sexually oriented hate crimes because there are simply fewer crimes being committed. But, while this might be the most optimistic way of viewing the issue, the fact remains that mitigating circumstances may prove that the statistics are misleading. Police officials said that it is possible that the reason fewer crimes have been reported could potentially be because people are just not reporting them, not necessarily because the crimes are no longer happening.

This leaves U students in a paradoxical position: On the one hand, we ought to be proud of ourselves for becoming, at least on paper, a more tolerant and abiding campus. On the other hand, we can’t necessarily pat ourselves on the back quite yet when the true nature of the circumstances is yet to be determined.

In other words, we should take heart in our progress but make sure not to let our perspectives slip into apathy, lest we ironically make things worse for alternative-lifestyle students when we think everything’s getting better. Even if the statistics do prove to be valid and not the result of misinformation, there is still much work to be done.

So where to begin?

For starters, U students can continue to hold both themselves and their classmates accountable for their actions. Honestly, what does it say about a person when they are so threatened by a civil-rights issue such as gay tolerance that they feel the need to violently tear down signs to show just how opposed they are to a cause? It says that person is insecure and scared to accommodate differing lifestyles, and that is how such actions ought to be viewed.

Secondly, it’s not enough to just be indifferent to the plight of others. Students cannot adopt an “I don’t care, it doesn’t affect me” mentality because, simply put, it very much does affect you. Like it or not, alternative-lifestyle students are as much a part of this campus as every other heterosexual, non-minority student, and they deserve every benefit and opportunity traditional students are afforded. As such, students would be well-advised to try as hard as possible to understand where these alternative-lifestyle students are coming from. Even if you don’t agree with them, it makes you a more well-rounded individual to do everything in your power to see that their fight is as deserving and legitimate as any other on campus. Such understanding is in the best interest of not only the slighted students at hand, but of the greater campus as a whole.