I could talk about what I found problematic with what went on in the Faculty Senate meeting, about how I felt the vote was rushed, that I felt that the Faculty Senate wasn’t educated enough (and they admitted it, too). I could criticize all of the shady deals that went on, like the subtle change to the nondiscrimination clause that added the word “unlawful” such that it no longer tolerated just “discrimination” but “unlawful” discrimination (which brings up the question of what counts as “lawful” discrimination). But honestly, that’s a conversation that I’m too emotionally exhausted to engage in right now.
Recently, an ad hoc committee consisting of Stanford students and faculty was formed in order to research the merits of the return of ROTC to campus. Last week this committee released a statement supporting the return of ROTC. Section 5.1 of the statement specifically addresses the argument of ROTC’s violation of the nondiscrimination policy.
I really hesitated about going back into politics in my column, as I’m not usually one to impose my political beliefs on others. But I had some major problems with what went on during elections, particularly with the issues surrounding ROTC.
On the topic of ROTC, our campus is divided. It is apparent with the emails on list serves, flyers, rallies, petitions, opinion editorials and conversations in our classes and dorms. At the ROTC town hall in January, it was clear that the two-hour discussion was more than just an intellectual debate — for many this was personal. In the final phases of this discussion leading up to the Faculty Senate presentation by the ROTC Ad Hoc Committee on May 12th, we must move forward as a community with an unprecedented level of sensitivity in our discourse, because the decision on ROTC will inevitably end up hurting part of our Stanford family.
At Tuesday night’s Undergraduate Senate meeting, Senator Ben Jensen ‘12 deemed it appropriate to make an analogy between the upcoming ROTC ballot measure and a hypothetical vote on allowing the Klu Klux Klan onto campus. Coupled with the recently launched “Campaign to Abstain,” urging voters to abstain on the grounds of civil rights on said ballot measure, I have had enough.
It was while reading that editorial I realized that there was no transgender voice within this editorial, or within any of the opinion pieces presented in any Stanford publication so far. And if transgender issues are going to be at the center of an issue like the military, then some transgender person is going to have to get a word in — thus, this week’s column.
So on Saturday I went to San Francisco for the San Francisco Equality Awards, a banquet event in which prominent figures in the LGBT community are honored. A staff member of Equality California, the organization holding the event, had read one of my columns, and she liked it, so she offered me a free ticket to the event. I, always a fan of both free things and LGBT people, certainly obliged to attend the banquet, which would be both free and filled with LGBT folk. It was the perfect combination.