Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Out Lesbian Chancellor at UW-Madison: The Importance of Out Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans Role Models in the Academy

I have taught at five institutions of higher education, a.k.a., colleges, universities, and I never worked with an "out" gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans person. Granted, there were other LGBT people in the administration or staff, or in another department, division, or school (in the case of a university). In one case, there was one "out" lesbian who taught before I arrived to teach, but she was denied the chance to teach a course not because of the content of the course, but because she is a lesbian.

Because of the paucity of out-LGBT people, I knew that my being out was a sure-way of getting axed. When I was outed, and subsequently blackballed by one institution, this prediction or hunch was proven true.

Upon the news of out-lesbian Dr. Biddy Martin, being named Chancellor at the Univ. of WI-Madison, I found the first university or college I know I could teach at without fear of harassment or denial of promotion because I am a gay man. That is how significant her choice is to those of us who are out-LGBT people. She is the "canary in the cave," letting those of us who are LGBT and trained to teach in college know that it is a "safe place" to teach. She is the embodiment of a large "Safe Zone" sticker on the entire university campus.

Click here for more.



No comments: