Imagine this: Today is your first day at college.
You have been looking forward to this day ever since you could remember. Excited about living away from home for the first time with the expectation of experiencing new people and new adventures, your feelings are tinged, however, with a nagging and constant anxiety from which you can’t seem to escape. For quite some time, you have held a secret deep within the recesses of your soul. Here at your new college home environment, you don’t yet know whom you can trust.
Can you tell your dormitory roommate, and if you do tell, what will happen to you?
- Will your roommate tell others?
- Will you be thrown out of your room, or even worse, will you have to leave school?
- And what if your parents find out?
- Will they disown you?
- Will they cut you off financially forcing you to drop out of school?
- And what about your prospective professors and classmates?
- If they find out, how will they react?
- And how will this possibly affect your chances for future employment?
Does your school have any resources and support systems for you? What if anything does your school have available to make your transition to college less worrisome and more accommodating? Overall, what will campus life hold for you?
For you have had heterosexual feelings and your gender identity matched your sex assigned at birth (cisgender) even before you entered puberty, but because you live in a hometown and a larger society that doesn’t understand or even rejects your emerging sexuality and gender identity, you hide away in a closet of denial and dread fearing to come out into the light of day. Now you have a chance to make a new start in your home away from home.
These are the reasons why you decided to attend this particular college campus in this particular state. Back when you were researching possible campuses to attend, you came across an online article focusing on an action taken by the Texas House of Representatives, proposed by Republican State Representative Wayne Christian, which in 2011 passed precedent-setting legislation by a margin of 110 to 24 requiring all public colleges and universities in that state with a student center on “alternative” sexuality to provide equal funding and resources to establish and maintain so-called “Family and Traditional Values Centers” as well (to promote heterosexuality and straight marriage).
According to Rep. Christian’s amendment to the Texas budget for higher education:
“…It is the intent of the Legislature that an institution of higher education shall use an amount of appropriated funds to support a family and traditional values center for students of the institution that is not less than any amount of appropriated funds used by the institution to support a gender and sexuality center or other center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning, or other gender identity issues.”
Representative Wayne Christian admitted that he would rather have seen the existing “alternative” sexuality centers defunded and, therefore eliminated, but decided that the bill had a better chance of passage by proposing the funding of so-called “Family and Traditional Values Centers.” He said the new Centers could now sponsor programs promoting chastity and marriage between one man and one woman.
Wow, it’s about time for the mandating of these Centers, don’t you think?
These Centers on publicly supported institutions of higher education could now even sponsor programming for heterosexual and cisgender students to find and meet one another, to invite to their campuses heterosexual and cisgender scholars to present information on the heterosexual and cisgender experience, and help to un-diversify the curriculum by assisting those educators who so choose to include critical issues in heterosexual and cisgender studies, which now only comprise 99% of the curriculum. They can also establish Heterosexual and Cisgender Speakers Bureaus and train heterosexual and cisgender students to talk about their experiences in classrooms on request in order to counter the stereotypes, the scapegoating, the fear, and the ignorance surrounding their lives.
Because of the new Family and Traditional Values Centers that have emerged throughout the state of Texas (which has the potential to trigger similar Centers throughout the nation), possibly we will see greater understanding of heterosexual and cisgender lifestyles. With this understanding, we might find fewer and fewer young people having to live in a closet of fear, fewer hate crimes targeting people simply because they are heterosexual and cisgender resulting in injury and premature death, and greater chances for students to concentrate more on academics rather than on physical and emotional safety concerns due to their emerging heterosexual and cisgender identities. We might also find, as a result, closer family relationships, greater chances for career success, and overall, a new generation experiencing greater feelings of self-esteem and developing positive identities at earlier ages than ever before. These Centers will give students the needed support and guidance when “coming out” heterosexual and cisgender. What a great and needed service these Family and Traditional Values will provide!
Oh yes, Texas certainly is on the (political) right track!
Other states need to take note, or they will be left behind this new and exciting trend that will have far reaching implications, I suppose. And since we already have October set aside as “LGBT History Month,” I would imagine it’s not very far in the future that someone in the Texas legislature will propose the setting aside of a month, maybe December, dedicated to HSC (Heterosexual, Straight, & Cisgender) History Month. However, if that were to happen, the legislature would have to vote first to decertify the full year each and every year as HSC History and Pride Year as it currently stands.Sean MacEntee/Flickr