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Warren J. Blumenfeld Headshot

New Centers Meeting Needs of Growing College Student Demographic

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Flickr: Mulad
Flickr: Mulad

Imagine this: Today is your first day at college. You have been looking forward to this day ever since you can 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 in your new 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? And what about your prospective professors and classmates? If they find out, how will they react?

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 supportive? 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 article in the newspaper talking about an action taken by the Texas House of Representatives, proposed by Republican State Representative Wayne Christian, which recently 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 (a.k.a., Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Centers) to provide equal funding and resources to establish and maintain "family and traditional values" centers as well (to promote heterosexuality and straight marriage).

According to news accounts in Inside Higher Ed, 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 Family and Traditional Values Centers. He said the new Centers could now sponsor programs promoting chastity and marriage between one man and one woman.

Hey, the Centers on publicly supported institutions of higher education could now even sponsor programming for heterosexual students to find and meet one another, to invite to their campuses heterosexual scholars to present information on the heterosexual experience, and help to diversify the curriculum by assisting those educators who so choose to include critical issues in heterosexual studies. They can also establish Heterosexual Speakers Bureaus and train heterosexual 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 will emerge throughout the state of Texas (which has the potential to trigger similar Centers throughout the nation) possibly we will see greater understanding of the heterosexual lifestyle. With this understanding, we might find fewer and fewer young people having to live in a closet of fear, fewer hate crimes resulting in injury and premature death, and greater chances for students to concentrate more on academics rather than on physical and emotional safety concerns. 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.

Oh yes, Texas certainly is on the right track! Other states need to take note, or they will be left behind in this new and exciting trend that will have far-reaching implications.