Emory Report
October 24, 2005
Volume 58, Number 8


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October 24 , 2005
LGBT opens transgender intitative at October meeting

BY eric rangus

The President’s Commission on the Status of LGBT Concerns (LGBT) has begun a project in partnership with the Office for LGBT Life to ensure the Emory campus is inclusive of transgendered people in terms of policies, housing facilities and administrative practices, it was announced at the commission’s most recent meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 18, in 400 Administration.

Called the Trans Initiative, the project is just under way, but it will continue throughout the academic year.

In other commission business, the results of a spring survey related to the President’s Commission on the Status of LGBT Concerns (LGBT) and the Office of LGBT Life were presented by graduate student representative Jakub Kakietek. Those results were contained in a 16-page report. Data were compiled from a sample of 84 respondents, the majority of whom were targeted by campus LGBT listservs. The survey included demographic questions (gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and occupation), membership in LGBT student organizations (if applicable), as well as questions specific to the utilization of resources offered by the commission and Office of LGBT Life.

According to the survey, 45 percent of respondents had never used the LGBT commission as a resource. Of the respondents who answered “very true” to the question of whether they did utilize commission resources, more than half were Emory staff. The prevalence of staff was seen as a good sign, as that could mean the commission is employees’ first source of information about LGBT concerns.

Kakietek said the data also could indicate that the Emory LGBT community at large is unaware they can utilize the commission as a resource. He said the commission needs to better publicize its work.

Further discussion led to questions about conducting a census of Emory’s LGBT community, so that a wider sample of people could be used for future studies, as well as developing a communication tool so that the commission could know more about its constituents. The feasibility of such a census will be explored.

Members also discussed the possibility of a campaign to educate the Emory community on the implications of a state law to ban gay adoptions. It would be similar to the commission’s work last year to fight the “gay marriage” amendment to the state constitution.

The commission also reviewed its September meeting, which featured President Jim Wagner as a special guest. He asked the commission to act as an adviser on issues such as the effects of the adoption ban on Emory’s LGBT community, and he encouraged commission members to act as individual citizens to fight the ban.

The next commission meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 16, in 400 Administration.

If you have a question of comment for the LGBT commission, send e-mail to chair Paul Towne at paul_towne@bus.emory.edu.