If you've had your ear to the grindstone, you may have heard the uproar over Texas Rep. Wayne Christian's Amendment 143 last month, which proposed that equal amounts of funding be provided for both campus GLBT Resource Centers and what he termed "Traditional Family Values Centers," providing the obvious indication that the two are somehow antithetical to each other. The folks who support this idea are the same folks who feel that homosexuals are out there destroying families, as exhausting as that sounds. Who finds the energy to go out there and wreck American families? Is this a spare time hobby or a full-time gig? What does that job advertisement even look like?
"HELP WANTED! Family next door super annoying! Too perfect! Need homosexual to come drive over their white picket fence and/or lawn gnome. DESTROY THE JONESES."
Whenever I initially hear something like this being proposed by our elected representatives, I cringe, then my inner logic keels over and dies, possibly from sheer embarassment. The concern about something of this nature passing and being made a reality is an omni-present reality, but moreso, my fears are always the lingering ripple effects. In this case, it didn't take long for those to start up.
Cue SB 63-106, what the student senate of Texas A&M University call the "Sexual Education Equality in Funding" Bill. The objectives are identical to Amendment 143, and it passed with a vote of 21-21 (the Senate Speaker broke the tie in favor of the bill). Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and Student Body President Jacob Robinson vetoed the bill, sending it back to the senate where it failed to garner the 2/3 majority vote required to override Robinson's decision.
The fight is over, right? Hardly. The ripples linger on across campus, having longer-lasting effects on the already poor climate regarding GLBT issues and the GLBT community. Most notably, the Texas Aggie Conservatives became the most vocal about fighting against the GLBT Resource Center on campus. Nearly every post they have made about Campus Reform has somehow turned back to various ways that the Resource Center is sucking the entire Texas A&M campus dry, both fiscally and in terms of values.
Basically, TAC is positing that GLBT Resource Center Director Lowell Kane is a liberal vampire, and not even one of those sparkly, fun vampires that get the tweens all excited. No, he's the Bram Stoker variety - the kind with hairy palms who sleeps in dirt, waking only in the twilight hours to devour conservatism by discussing progressive changes, human rights, pride, and all that other liberal ballyhoo. Be forewarned that he may talk to anybody. If he sees you - yes, you, specifically - he might be willing to talk to you. He's that personable and passionate about his work.
But what's the issue here? Why do we need a Traditional Family Values Resource Center? What are they providing that fills that void our GLBT Resource Center is not currently filling? According to the student senate and the TAC, having this TFV center fulfills the university's obligation to remaining neutral. If we let the GLBT center keep talking about homosexuality all the time, we need another place that can talk about heterosexuality just as much! And we should be spending the exact same amount of money on both!
Huh. What say you, Center for Campus Free Speech? The GLBT Resource Center meets all requirements for existence on this campus and viewpoint neutrality does not in any way, shape, or form indicate that we most devote equal funding to all ideas, all the time? Well, there goes my exclusive, members-only "People Who Enjoy Dressing Like Cats" club. Guess I'll just hang the old ears up for good. I can use this newfound spare time to read more facts from some burgeoning young bloggers who seem to know their stuff.
Since the demolishment or harm of the GLBT Resource Center seems pre-destined to not happen, there was an obvious expectation for a public show of support. A definitive "We got your back, guys" followed by a "One Love" from the university's administration. Perhaps even the chunking of "le deuce" before they retired back to their respective offices.
And to be fair, it did happen, from a variety of sources. But prior to that gust of fresh, linen-scented air, there was an uneasy silence. Any support came from publically-called and poorly-advertised meetings designed for reassurance and brief Q&A. It took a little prodding to get something in writing.
Don't misunderstand me - the show of support Allies received last week was exactly what we needed. It was a shot of confidence; the validation that this is something that matters to those in power. It should have happened immediately.
We communicate just as much in the things we don't say as in the things we do. I still believe in Texas A&M. They are making many of the right moves. I'm just hopeful that everyone remembers that we must walk the walk and talk the talk.