by Eirn Black
There’s been plenty of talk lately about the formation
of an LGBT center at North Carolina State University. Have
you been listening? If so, you might have heard the uproar of
applause at the most recent public forum debating the necessity
of an LGBT center at State. This applause 'was not in support of
the center; instead, it was a response to an argument against the
creation of an LGBT center, citing the disproportionate suicide
rate for LGBTIQ teens. In short, those applauding were doing
so because LGBTQ teens had killed themselves, implying that
being LGBTIQ identified causes increased rates of suicide, not
homophobia and heterosexism. Such reactions have character
ized the behavior of those who do not support the LGBT center.
Some of what’s being said about the formation of the center might
shock you—or maybe not. After all, the same homophobic vitri
ol’s been spouted for years, whenever LGBTQ students and their
allies seek to create safe spaces. State ranks 17th in the Princ
eton Review’s list “Alternative Lifestyles Not An Alternative.”
In early December of last year, N.C. State’s Student
Government held an open meeting to discuss the center. While
many brave people spoke in support of the center, detractors
answered with the usual ideological drivel rather than sound rea
soning. “Why do you need a center?” “How can you support
this lifestyle?” “When is there going to be a Christian center?”
Even if there isn’t a church nearby, or if someone doesn’t
associate with a particular denomination, there is no need for a
Christian center. In our society, which regularly attempts to in
corporate Christian ideology into its very laws, there will likely
never be a need for a Christian center. Christians arent in the
minority, and they certainly aren’t discriminated against. An
LGBT center provides a safe haven for students, a place where
they can relax and not worry about being physically or verbally
harassed and threatened. Christians are in no danger of lack
ing such a space. I say this as a Christian—I have never in my
life felt unsafe because of the faith I practice. In contrast, al
most every LGBTIQ-identified person I am lucky enough to
know has at some point felt threatened because of their sexuality.
In the midst of the religious arguments that detractors
gave, there were few secular opinions. Romans 1:28 was quoted
to some of those who supported the center. But quoting the Bible
provides a purely religious stance which renders the argument
invalid because State is a public university. As a public university.
NCSU is a part of the state, and there is a very clear separation
of church and state in our nation’s Constitution. In other words:
This isn’t Duke, ya’ll. Oh, wait—Duke already has an LGBT
center. Sorry, State, looks like they one-upped you already. I find
it very sad and nigh-unforgivable when the private, Christian uni
versity has beaten the state college to the punch on a secular issue.
It would make more sense to me if the objections
were financial, but they aren’t. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
and Transgender Services at State are not asking for an en
tire building, merely a few offices and a safe common space.
Student fees would not be increased. So whats the big deal?
For those readers at State, I hope you receive the
center you need. For those at other campuses or in the larger
community, I hope you speak up. Don’t let illogical and ho
mophobic people hinder the growth of a necessary resource.
If anything, the homophobic remarks and cheers heard at
State’s public forum highlight the need for such a center.