Fight the Stereotypes: Never Apologize for Who You Are

By Morgan Paul

A cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

A cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

“You throw like a girl.” “Boys don’t cry.” “Be a man.” These are just a few of the phrases that are pounded into young boys’ heads, and they are great examples of how the patriarchy hurts everyone! Why do we feel the need to tell young boys that if they do not conform, they are a girl? And furthermore, what’s so offensive about being a girl? Then girls are told to “be a lady,” and stay pretty and polite. My niece is almost 2 years old and I don’t tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her that she’s smart and she’s funny and that I love her, and I hope that she never bases her self-worth on her looks because she is so much more.

While reading through something on my friend’s Facebook I found a quote that really stuck with me:

“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short and wear shirts and boots because it’s okay to be a boy; for girls it’s like promotion. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, according to you, because secretly you believe that being a girl is degrading.”—Ian McEwan.

Another cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

Another cartoon example of how degrading steretypes are. Image found on Google Images through Creative Commons.

While on one hand this was seen as progress for women, it was really telling them that if they wanted to be better then they must be like men. Yet if a man wants to wear a skirt he’s ridiculed, because who would want to be like a woman? (and don’t tell me that men wouldn’t want to wear skirts because they are comfortable!) So the best insults people can come up with are not about their intelligence but they’re poor attacks on their expression or unrelated insults calling them a “pussy” or “faggot” because being a girl or being gay is the worst possible thing they can think of. Then there are quite possibly the easiest insults: attacks on one’s appearance. In a society that already tells us that no matter what we do we’ll never be pretty enough, the last thing we need are our peers using our insecurities against us. Do you honestly think that I don’t know I’m “fat?” I am well aware. And you want to call me a “cunt” or “gay?” I won’t get offended. If you want to offend me then insult my intellect! But I will never apologize for who I am.

Movie Screening

Don’t miss ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Friday the 18th, at 6pm in the Student Union Theater. This event is sponsored by UMKC LGBTQIA Programs and Services and is to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance which is November 20th. This will be an awesome event and something you definitely don’t want to miss!

Pride & Prejudice: LGBT Students in Higher Education

By Devon White

Colleges across the country are looking for ways to improve the campus climate for their LGBT students, particularly in light of the recent suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi.  A new report by Campus Pride reveals some disappointing figures. The report on Campus Pride’s website titled, 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People, addresses the safety, visibility and advancement of the LGBT student body, staff, and faculty in our nation’s universities.

 A recent article by the Boston Edge reveals some of the survey’s core findings:

• A quarter of respondents reported experiencing harassment. More than 80 percent of those said sexual orientation was the reason.

• Just under 40 percent of transgender respondents reported harassment and 87 percent of them blamed their gender identity or expression.

• A third of those surveyed have seriously considered leaving their institution because of the challenging climate.

• More than half said they hide their sexual or gender identity to avoid intimidation.

• More than a third reported they fear for their physical safety.

LGBT people of color suffer a double whammy. They are significantly less likely to feel comfortable on campus because of racism and homophobia.

Only about 600 colleges and universities include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies, according to Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, the organization that commissioned the survey. The number that includes gender identity and expression is much lower: less than 200.

Given these eye-opening statistics, what can we do at UMKC to make our campus safer for LGBT students?  My answer starts with LGBT-inclusive educational programming and UMKC’s own Women’s Center and LGBTQIA Resource Center. The Women’s Center is a  Safe Space that is dedicated to promoting equity and welcomes conversations on how to foster an LGBT-friendly campus. Located in the new Student Union, the LGBTQIA Resource Center advocates for gender identity and sexual orientation equality through training, resources and student development—support in these areas can make a positive difference in the campus climate for LGBT students and staff. For more ways to get involved and help make our campus safer for UMKC’s LGBT community, check out:


Queer Alliance

UMKCs Division of Diversity, Access & Equity