Tag Archives: LGBTQ

FUSION members thrive in Los Angeles

During Valentine’s Day weekend, the Human Rights Campaign made history with their first ever “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas, Nev. and Linfield sent four students from Fusion to attend.

The conference’s goal was to educate its patrons on how to help protect and support the LGBT community.

“Too many LGBTQ youth face significant challenges to being supported and empowered in their communities, schools and even homes because of who they are. I’m grateful Time to THRIVE is bringing people together to raise awareness and find solutions to ensure every young person can be empowered, for their future, and ours,” said Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Hilary and Bill Clinton, who spoke during the conference.

Linfield students were able to listen to keynote speakers and attend workshops to further their awareness and cultural competency.

“We brought back a ton of information,” sophomore Connie Mathews, Fusion co-president, said. “We got more aware of some issues in the community and we got tons of resources, a lot of information, a lot of contacts that we can utilize so that we can help make the Linfield community more inclusive and safer for the LGBT community.”

The conference, with its 600 attendees, has been the focus on several news stories, most of which focusing on actress Ellen Page, who publicly came out at the conference during her key note speech.

The conference featured several other speakers.

“They had a lot of different speakers. They had Constance McMillen who protested at her high school because she couldn’t take her date to prom… There were just a lot of cool people that came out to inspire us and since it was such a low-key conference, we actually got to talk to some of them one on one,” Matthews said.

Fusion itself was inspired by the conference to further its mission in making the campus safe and accepting.

“We had a pretty strong last semester. This year the leadership is focusing on doing things that we haven’t done before,” Mathews said. “I know that some people have reported that campus isn’t the most inclusive and isn’t the most safe place, so with the gender neutral bathrooms that we’re having on campus, we have learned how to approach gender neutral bathroom and pretty much establish that it is an option and learned where we can go from there in terms of making campus more gender neutral.”

Fusion is currently working very hard towards Sexuality Week, which will take place April 7-11, which includes Day of Silence.

Paige Jurgensen / Columnist

Paige Jurgensen can be reached at Linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com

(From left) Juniors Caitlyn Hertel and Ariana Lipkind, director of multicultural programs Jason Rodriguez, freshman Robin Seiler-Garman and sophomore Connie Mathews represent FUSION at the Time to Thrive conference in Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of Jason Rodriguez

Guest presents on being gay, Greek

Though being in a fraternity and being gay may seem to be polar opposites, both lifestyles helped Thomas Durein become the person he is today.

Durein is a graduate of Oregon State University and a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.

He worked as a Greek life student advisor at the University of California-Berkeley from 1997 to 2003 and is a supporter of the values of Greek life.

Durein shared his life story with audience members on Oct. 10 as one of the two events the gay-straight alliance group FUSION hosted at Linfield. These events were a part of national coming out day, a day celebrating the choice of members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) to share with their family and friends that they are not heterosexual.

In his experience as a gay man and member of a fraternity, Durein has learned how to incorporate all parts of his personality in a unique way.

This is a main point in the guest lectures he gives at college campuses, which focus on how Greek life can provide a safe and open environment for members of the LGBT community.

“We have a lot of similarities,” Durein said, regarding the Greek and LGBT communities. “We’ll all be a lot better when we can figure out how to support each other.”

After a troubling attempt to come out to his family, Durein left for college in 1984, a time when the AIDS epidemic was synonymous with the gay community.

In this climate Durein felt it was impossible to make friendships if people knew his sexual preference.

“Going to school meant stepping right back in the closet,” Durein said. “And although it was difficult, it worked for me in the end.

“I made friends with 90 guys in my fraternity who liked me for nothing that had to do with my sexuality and that felt good.”

After college Durein felt it was necessary to come out to his five closest friends in his fraternity.

With each acceptance it became clear that his brothers didn’t care if he was gay because they cared about him.

He recalled a time when one of his brothers told him he loved him on the phone right before hanging up.

“I called that sucker right back and said ‘I love you too,’”Durein said, with emphasis on the word “love.” “Love is about respecting the dignity of every individual.”

Social media and the internet have allowed for more transparency in the lives of young people today.

Durein explained how social media can be both empowering and terrifying for a person struggling with how to define their sexuality.

“So much is happening in the lives of young people before they even get to high school these days,” Durein said. “There can be so much bullying and questioning, and this can lead to worse things, like attempted suicide. It’s important that people feel supported by their peers.”

Linfield has four sororities and four fraternities on campus, many of which had a presence in the audience at the lecture.

There is support for FUSION in Greek life, especially in the Sigma Kappa Phi sorority.

Both FUSION presidents are member of the sorority. There is, however, a history of Greek life for being predominately heterosexual-focused.

“I think Greek life has always been an organization built on traditional male and female gender roles,” said senior Margo Ackerson, a member of Alpha Phi sorority.

Durein believes that there is a great potential in the Greek community to be leaders on campus to support the LGBT community.

But first they need to acknowledge the issue and educate themselves.

He urged the audience to attend an upcoming Safe Space training on Oct. 14 to learn more about how to help support an open environment.

“Greek communities have the potential to be the most important student groups on campus, but they need to open themselves up and realize the wide variety of life choices that are here at Linfield and any college campus,” Durein said.

The Safe Space training will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 14 in Riley 201.

Olivia Marovich / News editor

Olivia Marovich can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Transgender advocates visit Linfield community

Three students invited a transgender advocacy and education group to speak at Linfield on Nov. 29 as part of a project for their Health Education Methods class.

Seniors Cora Hall and Mckenna Pyeatt were at a health education conference where the non-profit organization Transactive was presenting. They saw the importance of awareness of transgender youth in the health field.

“We really liked what they shared at the conference, especially since most of us are going to be health educators,” Hall said. “We’re going to see these kids, and they’re problems we’re going to have to solve now. It’s important to be equipped to deal with those.”

With the help of Fusion, Hall, Pyeatt and junior Julie Schoettler hosted the Transactive presentation. Transactive volunteers Griffin Lacy and Lissy Richards spoke about the importance of educating the public and advocating for transgender youth.

“We’re excited to be at Linfield because this is a population we don’t always reach,” Lacy said. “Transgender people are a population I think are underserved.”

Transactive is a Portland-based organization that provides services, education, advocacy and research for transgender youth and their families. It is the leading national organization, and the only Oregon organization, that focuses on the youth.

“There aren’t enough agencies doing this work,” Richards said.

Hall was struck by the importance of the subject, especially with regard to bullying and children.

“I haven’t been exposed to trans issues before. It’s never been addressed in any of my student teaching, or when I was in school,” Hall said. “This is the first time that opened my eyes to what is really happening, to how big and broad it really is.

“We hoped for a better turnout, but we wanted to get the word across campus that bullying is out of control, especially with youth,” Hall said. “We wanted people to be aware of the trans community and the fact that they’re people too. It shouldn’t be a big deal. Everyone should be able to be themselves.”

The volunteers from Transactive showed videos of success stories from transgender youth, but explained that this is not always the case for most transgender youth. They said 35 to 73 percent of youth report often being verbally abused by parents.

“Some parents allow trans children to express themselves at home, but not in public. Their identity has to be a secret,” Richards said.

“I thought it was a great presentation. That made me more bummed that there weren’t more people there to hear it,” Hall said. “I think it’s still a scary topic for a lot of people, just being uncomfortable and not really understanding.”

Hall praised Lacy and Richards for their passion and ability to get the message across.

“I love Transactive,” she said. “I think what they’re doing is fantastic. Sometimes I get really discouraged because I don’t feel that I can make a difference. But they encouraged me that one person can make a difference.”

Kelsey Sutton

Managing editor

Kelsey Sutton can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com.

Same-sex marriage debate sparks 
students’, community’s interest

samesex_ONLINE

Samantha Sigler/News editor
Pamela Karlan (left), the Kenneth and Montgomery professor of public interest law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, argued during the same-sex debate why Oregon voters should allow same-sex marriage.

A debate was held discussing whether Oregon should recognize same-sex marriage Nov. 26 in Ice Auditorium. After Oregon voted to approve Measure 36 to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in 2004, the topic often leads to heated debate.

The debate featured Pamela Karlan, the Kenneth and Montgomery professor of public interest law and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, and Justin Dyer, assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

Karlan began the debate by stating that yes, she believed Oregon law should recognize same-sex marriage.

“We’re talking about Oregon law,” Karlan said. “I think that’s important to understand that what we’re talking about here is not whether particular religions have to recognize marriages that they don’t want to solemnize.”

She also explained that the decision to recognize same-sex marriages might come before Oregon has the chance to vote again. At the moment, the Supreme Court is being faced with cases dealing with same-sex marriage in California and if the federal government should have to recognize marriages that states recognize, even same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s important to understand what it means to say that the law recognizes marriages,” Karlan said.

Karlan emphasized the idea that the issue during the debate is whether the people of Oregon should democratically recognize marriages, regardless of the sex between the two people in the marriage. In this aspect, she stressed that it is imperative to understand what recognition means in regard to marriage.

“It’s important to understand the consequences of treating a relationship as a marriage versus treating it as something else,” Karlan said.

Since the ’50s, Karlan explained that people have viewed marriage as a romantic relationship between two people. However, she also explained that marriage is more than just romance.

Karlan referred to marriage as an “economic relationship,” as there are many economic benefits that come along with marriage.

Karlan also discussed the importance of marriage law in cases of divorce, as half of marriages in America end in divorce today. The marriage law helps protect the spouse when the marriage dissolves, Karlan said.

Although Oregon does have civil union laws, Karlan explained that it doesn’t provide recognition in all other ways that marriage does. For example, the federal government is forced to recognize marriages but not civil unions.

Karlan also argued that it is difficult to explain to people what exactly a civil union is.

“It doesn’t have the same resonance. It doesn’t tell people the same thing,” Karlan said.

Karlan referenced the Supreme Court’s case, Loving v. Virginia, a case in which an interracial couple went to the Supreme Court after being denied the ability to get married. The Supreme Court struck down the law and allowed interracial marriages to be legalized.

“At the time the Supreme Court struck down that law, Americans were just as divided about interracial marriage as they are today about same-sex marriage,” Karlan said.  “It’s about equality.”

Karlan also discussed that marriage is not always about children, a common argument of why marriage should remain restricted to opposite-sex couples. She pointed out that even a few Justices on the Supreme Court have no biological children of their own.

“Marriage is not just about children. It’s also about a life with a spouse,” Karlan said.

In contrast to Karlan’s argument, Dyer began his argument by stating that as someone from Missouri, he felt uncomfortable telling Oregonians that they should vote yes or no on same-sex marriage. Instead, he
wanted to give the audience a few things to think about in regard to same-sex marriage.

“I agree with [Karlan] wholeheartedly, I don’t think this debate is about religion,” Dyer said. “I think primarily the debate is about marriage, and what marriage is.”

Dyer agreed that marriage is changing in American society, and stated that marriage has become something that does not live up to its purpose.

“What we’re saying is not what marriage has become, it’s something that doesn’t fulfill its public purpose well,” Dyer said. “A lot of people on the traditional side have been saying for years that we need a stronger marriage culture, a better marriage culture.”

Since the ’60s, divorce rates have increased, Dyer said. This leads to children growing up in broken households, which Dyer said is an issue in today’s culture.

“Regardless of what happens with this debate, I would like to see marriage strengthened in American society today,” Dyer said. “I think that the logic of same-sex marriage is against that and would lead us to different places.”

Dyer pointed out that the traditional public purpose of marriage is to unite a set of social goods that lead back to legal and social support. Those goods include sex, procreation and childbearing.

Dyer also brought up the idea of same-sex marriage undercutting norms surrounding marriage. About 50 years from now, Dyer believes that people may potentially be debating marriage and monogamy altogether.

To make his point, Dyer brought up the court case Baker v. Nelson in which two men were the first to apply for a marriage license in Minnesota and were denied.

According to Dyer, the dictionary definition of marriage is the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex. Although he said that definitions could change, he stresses that it’s important to understand why that definition was created in the first place.

Dyer went on to say that marriage is a sexual union, and procreation plays a large role in why marriage is between opposite sex.

“When children don’t have moms and dads that are connected to each other, that’s a huge social problem,” Dyer said.

Toward the end of the debate, the two participants were allowed to ask each other questions to further explain their own points.

Karlan began the questions portion by asking Dyer whether he thought it was odd that the main argument against same-sex marriage was that straight men are “rogues” who can’t be trusted to stay around their children, thus marriage provides them a foundation to stay.

“It’s not about who’s worthy and who’s not worthy,” Dyer said. “The case is that straight men are rogues who may not stick around their kids without having good legal and social support. And that might be a good reason why we have marriage, and why it may not apply in the same way to same-sex couples.”

In response, Karlan pointed out that same-sex couples only have children if they both agree on having children, in which case they would be more willing to stay around than “rogue” straight men.

Dyer then asked Karlan why monogamy and sexuality play a part in marriage, referring to the idea that by allowing same-sex marriage today, it may lead to more changes to marriage in the future.

“There’s always the slippery slope argument,” Karlan said. “And I think that you can’t give an answer in the abstract, because where you draw the line is always going to in that sense be artificial. And I think what we can say is that in our culture today, [with] the idea of pair-bonding that is connected with sexual expression, that you can draw the line where we draw it.”

After the debate had ended, the audience had mixed opinions on how the debate had gone.

“The affirmative side was simply brilliant,” sophomore Lindsey Anderson said. “While her opponent struggled to distinguish his position on same-sex marriage, [Karlan] had an aura of unshakable confidence.”

Samantha Sigler

News editor

Samantha Sigler can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.