Penn State Continues to Defy Label of “Best University for LGBT Students”

I’ve mentioned this before. CampusPride included Penn State University among their Top 25 Universities for LGBT students.

Praising the top 25 list was Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. “Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus,” he said in a statement.

When I inquired why Penn State was not eliminated from this based on the horrors of the Jerry Sandusky cover up, I was pretty much smacked down by PSU alumni affiliated with CampusPride. But no one would address the overwhelming elephant in the room – had Joe Paterno participated in recent cover ups of gay bashing? He had a history of this action with his protection of former women’s basketball coach Rene Portland, who openly espoused an anti-lesbian policy and was verbally abusive to players who perceived as lesbian. He used his power to protect her until she resigned and there’s little evidence to suggest that the Administration investigated his role in decades of gay bashing.

Does Penn State roll out the rainbow carpet as this photo from their LGBTQ office suggests?

Paterno then went on or at the same time continued to cover up and protect Jerry Sandusky’s rape of boys. As far as I can tell from the Freeh Report, no one has investigated the impact of the cover up on the SAFETY of LGBT student. In fact, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that LGBT athletes are harassed twice as often when compared to their heterosexual peers.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender athletes are harassed twice as frequently as their heterosexual peers, leading to a negative campus environment that affects their academic success as well as their athletic identity, a new report says.

If we assume that the LGBT leaders at Penn State and among alumni had conducted a thorough and exhaustive investiagtion into these issues, it is inconceivable that it could have been completed by the time the honor of being a top 25 was bestowed.

Frankly, I don’t know why they gave Penn State this honor. I personally find it a slap in the face to youth in Pennsylvania, survivors of child rape and sexual assault and the victims of Rene Portland. Having had my life touched in very deep and painful ways by THREE pedophiles, I take this very seriously. The fact is that CampusPride cannot in good faith claim that PSU is safe for LGBT students, especially student athletes. It is a very conservative environment and the response of those loyal to the Paterno legacy have swung the pendulum even further to the right.

I think CampusPride made a poor decision not to disqualify Penn State at least during this academic year.

Now we learn that College Republicans are bringing in one of the most divisive figures in America – Ann Coulter. Now I have no problem and fully support a student organization bringing in their own speakers with their own funding – I’m not suggesting the University vet speakers. But the decision to invite Coulter to PSU reflects the values of this group of organized students and suggests a cultural leaning on the campus is not favorable to LGBT students. Coulter most recently tweeted “National Disown Your Gay Son” – intended as a joke, but reflective of a complete lack of appreciation for the situation of thousands of LGBT youth who are rejected by their families. At least pick on the adults, Ann.

Rather than laud and tout the gains – I admit that they have made some – the LGBT adults and their allies should be raising a hue and cry to investigate the full situation, including Portland’s abusive behavior.  I think they are so terrified of the awful meme that pedophiles are gay that they’ve turned their back on the issue. Because what if some of the kids raped by Sandusky are gay? They weren’t turned gay by the fact that they were raped, but they also don’t have their experiences validated by the leaders of the Universities LGBT community.

Parents sending their LGBT students off to State College are IMHO making a poor decision. The culture of Paterno denial is in full swing and a dominant meme at the University. PSU should have been disqualified given the magnitude of the cover up and the extent of the violent assault on children. Give them a year to work on continuing to improve the University culture and let the impact on the University’s culture shake itself out – then reward them

That would have been a reasonable response that’s reflective of the realities at the University and not a kneejerk desire to bury heads in the sand over slurs. That’s not safe for anyone, Mr. Windmeyer.



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