A 'gay-friendly' Macalester leaves much to be desired

By Danni Sigwalt

Macalester is “gay-friendly.”And that is the problem. Between the gendering of Kirk bathrooms and the recent vandalism done to a student’s car with a heterosexist slur, we need to start thinking about what “gay-friendly” really means in our community. Yeah, we’re Princeton Review’s top pick for “gay-friendly” campuses, but is some external qualifier of elitism really how we want to gauge campus climate?

In-depth identity analysis aside, the word “gay,” to me, a queer woman of color, communicates gender normativity and homo-normative assimilationism. White gay men want their in to privilege and are willing to further alienate other marginalized people so they might be seen as “normal.” This isn’t my ideal of acceptance or friendliness. [Not all the queers on campus are white males from upper (middle) class backgrounds, after all].

I like to think that the majority of community members share a common goal of inclusivity.

Above all, for a community to truly achieve inclusivity, we all have to examine our privilege. It’s no secret that the majority of people on campus are white, heterosexual, cisgender folks. If you don’t know what cisgender is, you’ve just proven my point.

People in positions of privilege are rarely forced to examine their own identity and the way it affects the greater community. It’s because of this that they are able to believe to the core that their preferences and beliefs are “normal.” Maybe we need to deconstruct why it is, exactly, that the idea of having someone of the “opposite” gender in the bathroom while we’re showering is threatening.

Since hearing about the regression in gender neutral living at Kirk, I have been stuck on this one thought: most of the students who have worked the hardest these past couple of years to make living situations more comfortable for students rejecting gender norms graduated in May.

Is this the kind of legacy that my work toward acceptance in the community will receive when I graduate this May?

For the record, cisgender is a term used for people who identify and/or perform gender identities that are deemed by greater society to be “fitting” with the sex that they were born, or “non-transgender.