Four decades ago, a student wrote a letter to The Miami Hurricane decrying the university’s support of the Gay Alliance’s use of the Rathskeller for a Valentine’s Day dance.
On Wednesday night, the LGBTQ student organization SpectrUM took over the Rat once again – but this time for DragOut, the inaugural drag show put on to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community.
This is only one of many signs that our society, this country and the University of Miami have come a long way. No matter what kind of progress is made, however, it is still important for UM students to continue to embrace diversity in gender and sexual orientation, and for advocates like SpectrUM to push for this progress.
The Campus Pride Index, which looks at LGBTQ policy inclusion, student life and more, did not rank UM among the top 25 most gay friendly colleges. We received high marks in academic life, counseling and health, and policy inclusion, but there is room for improvement in LGBTQ support and institutional commitment, recruitment and retention efforts, and housing and residential life.
Looking at our achievements on this campus so far, we can see that the university is on the right path to becoming a top LGBTQ-friendly institution. UM offers a minor in LGBTQ studies, which it launched last year, and it offers scholarships to students who pursue it. We also welcomed Delta Lambda Phi, a gay, bisexual and progressive male fraternity.
SpectrUM has grown from holding secret meetings in undisclosed locations to prevent members from being “outed” to one of the most respected organizations on campus, with its own suite in the Student Activities Center.
The university has formed an LGBTQ task force to evaluate the campus climate and address any issues, and we are eager to discover what policy decisions this leads the administration to make.
In the meantime, DragOut was a creative way to hold an event that is not only entertaining but also educational. Not everyone wants to attend a lecture by a guest speaker, but a drag show can still bring up the conversation about social issues (like it did for The Miami Hurricane editorial board).
We encourage this type of large-scale, public collaboration between the university community and LGBTQ students and supporters on campus. Pride should be worn on our sleeves all throughout the year – not just one week out of the semester.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.