LGBTQ at NCSU
N.C. State University trying to start a center like one at UNC-CH
by Erin Black
There’s been plenty of talk lately about the formation of an LGBT center at North Carolina State University. Have you been listening? If so, you might have heard the uproar of applause at the most recent public forum debating the necessity of an LGBT center at State. This applause was not in support of the center; instead, it was a response to an argument against the creation of an LGBT center, citing the disproportionate suicide rate for LGBTIQ teens. In short, those applauding were doing so because LGBTQ teens had killed themselves, implying that being LGBTIQ identified causes increased rates of suicide, not homophobia and heterosexism. Such reactions have characterized the behavior of those who do not support the LGBT center.
Some of what’s being said about the formation of the center might shock youor maybe not. After all, the same homophobic vitriol’s been spouted for years, whenever LGBTQ students and their allies seek to create safe spaces. State ranks 17th in the Princeton Review’s list “Alternative Lifestyles Not An Alternative.”
In early December of last year, N.C. State’s Student Government held an open meeting to discuss the center. While many brave people spoke in support of the center, detractors answered with the usual ideological drivel rather than sound reasoning. “Why do you need a center?” “How can you support this lifestyle?” “When is there going to be a Christian center?”
Even if there isn’t a church nearby, or if someone doesn’t associate with a particular denomination, there is no need for a Christian center. In our society, which regularly attempts to incorporate Christian ideology into its very laws, there will likely never be a need for a Christian center. Christians aren’t in the minority, and they certainly aren’t discriminated against. An LGBT center provides a safe haven for students, a place where they can relax and not worry about being physically or verbally harassed and threatened. Christians are in no danger of lacking such a space. I say this as a ChristianI have never in my life felt unsafe because of the faith I practice. In contrast, almost every LGBTIQ-identified person I am lucky enough to know has at some point felt threatened because of their sexuality.
In the midst of the religious arguments that detractors gave, there were few secular opinions. Romans 1:28 was quoted to some of those who supported the center. But quoting the Bible provides a purely religious stance which renders the argument invalid because State is a public university. As a public university, NCSU is a part of the state, and there is a very clear separation of church and state in our nation’s Constitution. In other words: This isn’t Duke, ya’ll. Oh, waitDuke already has an LGBT center. Sorry, State, looks like they one-upped you already. I find it very sad and nigh-unforgivable when the private, Christian university has beaten the state college to the punch on a secular issue.
It would make more sense to me if the objections were financial, but they aren’t. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Services at State are not asking for an entire building, merely a few offices and a safe common space. Student fees would not be increased. So what’s the big deal?
For those readers at State, I hope you receive the center you need. For those at other campuses or in the larger community, I hope you speak up. Don’t let illogical and homophobic people hinder the growth of a necessary resource. If anything, the homophobic remarks and cheers heard at State’s public forum highlight the need for such a center.