- It was good while it lasted…
- “Obama Supports Gay Marriage & Abortion. Do you? Vote Republican.”
- Homosexuality & Religion
- Blood, Bathrooms, and Blogs – Community Engagement at Baruch
- Let’s Learn Something
- NYC 2012 Pride Parade – powerful messages
- Same goal, different blogger =)
- Reflections on A New Beginning
- You are all invited !
- Depression in Black Gay Men – panel
February 14th, 2013 by ar124803
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted and there has been quite a lot of changes! First off, this will be my last post because I have graduated from Baruch, which means I no longer am an active member of the Dare to Engage Committee. My dear friend Farzana Ghanie will be taking over the blog for the remainder of the school year. She is a highly qualified person who is a wonderful leader in the Baruch community and I strongly believe that she will do an excellent job with the blog! Before passing the blog site onto Farzana, I would like to say a few closing remarks.
To begin with, my experience with the D2E committee has been so amazing. Not only did I meet a group of wonderful people, I learned a lot! I remember Jordan asked me to join the group because I was/am openly expressive of my opinions and when Baruch first started launching events to bring awareness of the LGBTQIA community, I attended these events and made it clear that I believe a person’s sexuality should not and does not define them nor is it something to be “fixed.” Now this view has not changed, but what has is my knowledge. I’ve grown to learn more about the LGBTQIA community and about not being ignorant in general. Why am I telling you this? Because as I close off my part of the blog, I want to leave you guys with this in mind, supporting a community, doesn’t just help those in the community; it helps you! Joining D2E not only helped me to actively support a community that I think is mistreated, it helped me to learn and grow as a person! So let’s stop being close minded because how far can one truly get if they don’t expand their horizons?
Next, not to preach on, but to reiterate what I have been saying since I have been blogging on this site, let’s make Baruch a better place for everyone! Let’s stop the discriminating and let Baruch be everyone’s home where all members of the Baruch community can feel safe being EXACTLY who they are and not having to hide themselves. Recently, Jordan sent me a link to a video of a high school student who “came out” while accepting an award at his schoool (I’ve posted the link/video below). Anyways, this got me thinking, imagine how hard it is for you or someone you know to tell everyone, especially those closest to you a big secret that you aren’t sure how they would react? For instance, what if you had to tell your parents you’re pregnant/got someone pregnant??? How long would you walk around stressing about telling them and about how they would react? Or what if you have really strict parents who insist on you majoring in business but you know deep down you are meant to major in art and want to do art. How much would this bother you??? Well think about members of the LGBTQIA community who spend years, even decades hiding who they are because they are afraid people won’t accept them or will treat them differently. Imagine Jacob Rudolph’s (the senior in the video) struggle as he tries to do his best in school and gets along with everyone but all the while no one knew who he really was so he couldn’t freely express himself. Imagine how that stress can hinder someone’s life. Now, as I close this blog, I’m asking you to go out there and make yourself one less person who adds to that stress. Make yourself one less person that someone has to hide from. Be that comfort that someone needs. And remember, not only are you helping them, you’re help yourself.
November 5th, 2012 by ar124803
“Obama Supports Gay Marriage & Abortion. Do you? Vote Republican.”
By: Anonymous D2E Member
Upon first seeing this ad I thought, is this election really so simple that it can be boiled down to one or two platform points? Surely not! Then I considered what this kind of ad assumes about how people make a voting decision. It assumes that people will pick the candidate whose platform matches their personal opinions. So where to personal opinions come from? Messages from family? School? Culture? Religion? What about science? Do we more often populate our values and opinions with our best guess of what most people think, or what we think we should think, or do we ever consider what is scientific fact?
Gay people exist. Fact.
Gay people want equal marriage rights. Fact.
Research supports the benefits of gay people having equal marriage rights. Fact.
For a casual summary of such findings, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage.
It then occurred to me that if you’re not in favor of gay marriage, this says a lot about your personal relationship with science, your ability to make data-driven decisions, and what you think carries more weight, your opinion, others’ opinions, or what science has to say. Perhaps it is indeed appropriate to base a vote solely on the issue of gay marriage. I don’t want a president with “opinions,” I want a president who is an academic, an educated and frequent consumer of research. I’d like my president to keep religious choices in holy places and personal opinions at home. These have no place in government. That presidential candidates are even disclosing their religious beliefs is antithetical to the separation between church and state we’re supposed to have in this country. Why does it even matter? It matters because tons of people value their own opinions over others’ opinions or the scientific method.
A president willing to put personal beliefs aside and go for what science has found to be true is the president for me. This fundamental concept applies down the line to all issues in any election. Why would anyone want a president who ignores science in lieu of “going with their gut.” That’s lumping a lot of trust into someone who isn’t taking science seriously. What if they’re using this same kind of non-scientific reasoning on other issues like the economy and foreign policy? Sounds like trouble to me.
So whether you support gay marriage or not, what matters more, what you think or what is right? Please vote accordingly.
October 4th, 2012 by ar124803
Religion has always been seen as a sensitive topic to discuss and so has homosexuality. But what happens when you’re discussing the two together? It gets heated!!!!
I recall about a year or two back when the Dare the Engage committee started hosting events on religion and homosexuality, I went to quite a few of these events, and I think that’s why Jordan thought I would be a good choice for a D2E member!
Religion comes in all different forms; Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and so on. Beyond these different religions, many have different sects. So it all comes down to what is religion because obviously what’s religion to one person is not religion to another. What one Christian may see as right, another may see as wrong. Therefore, who even comes up with the rules of right and wrong in religion? See why I say it’s a sensitive topic and a complex one because frankly there is no right answer!
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, religion is “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” Note the word personal!!! Meaning an individual! Even if we want to focus on the institutionalized part of the definition, is it talking about all institutions? No, it’s a certain institution’s beliefs. Therefore, why should anyone be imposing their religious beliefs on another?
But this isn’t just a discussion on religion, it’s a discussion on homosexuality and religion! And I’ll be honest, I’m not expert on any religion, not even my own, but one thing I do know is everyone has different beliefs no matter what religion they’re in. When I sat at the panel discussion the D2E committee had a few years ago, there were members from a variety of religions, some who were homosexual and some who weren’t. Some who saw homosexuality as wrong and against God’s wishes, and others who didn’t. Therefore, the question comes up again, what’s right and what’s wrong!!!
Following the panel discussion, a few movies were shown on different days addressing the conflict between homosexuality and certain religions. And once again we saw, people in the same religion had different views on what’s right and wrong. What God or their divine figure approves of and what he doesn’t. So once again, what’s right and what’s wrong!!!
Well as I mentioned before, there is no correct answer because we all have our opinions and beliefs, but I’ll share what I, and I repeat this is simply what I think, not what is the ultimate law, even though it would be cool if I could make these laws! Anyways! I think we all need to realize that we are different and we need to accept that. We need to not try to impose our beliefs and get anyone to “change” or be “fixed.” God made us all a certain way, and he chose to make some people homosexual, or bisexual, etc. He didn’t make us all the same because one that would be boooooooooring! It was his choice to make us the way he did therefore, trying to force someone to change their sexual orientation because you don’t think it’s “right” and it doesn’t follow the norm is telling God “hey you messed up but don’t worry I’ll fix it for you.”
So that’s my view, let’s all love and accept each other for our individual selves and not for what we want others to be. But that’s just my opinion, what’s yours?
Also, here’s a picture someone had put on FB that I must say I really liked and felt like sharing!
Enjoy and comment!
September 18th, 2012 by ar124803
Written By Christina Chala, Macaulay Honors Advisor
What forms of organizing and political voice make an impact?
How do we know when to act?
How do we know what kind of action to take?
Some food for thought.
I find myself thinking a lot about the role of LGBTQIA student organizations in holding their campuses accountable to non-discrimination policies (here is CUNY’s statement on non-discrimination: http://www.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/ohrm/diversity/StrategicInitiatives.html ). Some examples: you are probably familiar with the recent Chick-fil-a issue, and from time to time students and community members try to raise awareness about the FDA’s ban on blood donation by MSM (men who have sex with men). http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/06/health/gay-men-blood-ban/index.html
Both the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks report that the current FDA ban on MSM blood donation “is medically and scientifically unwarranted.”3
Another to consider is how our campus makes bathrooms and locker rooms available to our trans and gender-non-conforming communities.
In your opinion, what kinds of action make a difference? Or a better question perhaps is: how do we take action that is positive, and constructive? Have you been involved with any groups or organizations which you believe have succeeded in making positive change?
In the case of the blood ban, I think about how many would agree that donating blood is a good idea, so boycotting blood donations- not such a good idea. Creating some kind of action that deters eligible donors is problematic. Hospitals need blood. The Red Cross is legally accountable to the FDA policy. What would you do?
Many campus actions tend to aim toward educational initiatives tied in with blood donation drives. Whether it is educational handouts or even including a petition to the FDA to stop the ban on gay blood at campus blood drives. Objectives accomplished: blood still gets donated (by those who legally can) and a whole cadre of interested community members learn about this outdated and discriminatory policy.
Then there was the chik-fil-a controversy. Just a little south of us 11,000 NYU community members signed a petition protesting the presence of chik-fil-a on their campus. When the issue came to a vote by the university student senate they voted to retain the restaurant on campus. Are they representing their LGBTQ students by supporting the retention of chik-fil-a? Are they upholding their campus non-discrimination policy? I think for many it was reduced to a matter of free speech. We can look at the situation and say, well if you don’t like how chik-fil-a spends their money, just don’t go there. I ask folks thinking along this line to also take a moment to think about the impact of hate speech and hate crimes in general. I would assert that speech is not neutral. Speech that makes the environment feel unsafe is threatening. This is why ideas such as creating “safe zones” and conducting safe zone trainings exist on many campuses. Here at Baruch we have an eSafeZone and the Dare to Engage Working Group working on making our campus culture and climate welcoming for people of all genders and sexual orientations.
As new buildings and building renovations come and go what effort do we as a community make (or need to make) to ensure compliance with our non-discrimination policy? We all have to pee some times, and gender neutral facilities just make sense.
A great resource for more information on this issue, check out the film “Toilet Training” by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Here is their companion guide to the film: http://srlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2010-toolkit.pdf
Last, pondering action and accountability brought to mind the upcoming election. From macro to micro, there are many ways we can make our voices heard. Getting involved with Baruch G.L.A.S.S., the Dare to Engage Working Group, other campus organizations, city organizations (do all 5 boroughs have LGBTQ community centers yet?), or local community organizations. There are a lot of ways to get involved, and get heard. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a big fan of the quote “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed , it is the only thing that ever has.” – attributed to Margaret Mead.
So, are you registered to vote (if you can)?
And I will see you at the next Baruch blood drive:
August 25th, 2012 by ar124803
So the summer has suddenly ended and the semester has crept up on us, blah! So now it’s time for classes right? Well if some of you are looking for a class to fill up your schedule or one that will actually interest you, you’re in luck!!!!
Below you will find a list of classes throughout the CUNY system which are being offered during the Fall 2012 Semester and have a focus on LBGTQIA. As you may notice, very few of the classes are only focused on LGBTQIA issues, but hey at least most of them will discuss it, and we all know each semester we have to try to find the bright side of each class!
For those of you who have actually looked for these classes before but had difficulty finding them, I understand your pain! I spent days looking through each college’s list of classes trying to find related courses, what’s worse, a lot of courses don’t have a description via CUNY Portal and it’s not that easy to find on their website. This shows us that our schools need to find a system to make searching classes based on topics easier, after all, registration is stress enough!!!
What I do really like and highly recommend to everyone, especially those looking for a class to fill their schedule, check out Hunter’s Social Science’s Department’s Women and Gender Studies courses with a focus on sexuality (WGSS)! This seems like a very educational course on LGBTQIA and what I really love is it’s focus on different aspects of LGBTQIA instead of just homosexuality, so use E-PERMIT people!!!
Note, if you are interested in the courses offered at Brooklyn College, you can go to http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/off_registrar/120726_BulletinUndergraduate_2011-12.pdf for a description of the courses.
Finally, for those of you who believe these courses are not for you because you don’t fall into the “LGBTQIA” category, well guess what, you’re mistaken. These courses are meant to be a source of education and as college students living in a society where this is an important topic, it is our job to educate ourselves! You’ll be surprised at what you will learn and may even change your perspective, so don’t be shy, let’s get cultured and educated!!!!
And as always, if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or inputs on these classes, COMMENT!!! =)
July 17th, 2012 by Jordan McFarlane-Beau
June 4th, 2012 by ar124803
Before going into an introduction of myself and my thoughts, I would first like to thank my dear friend Jordan for doing such a wonderful job with our blog site. He worked so diligently with others to get our eSafeZone site up and running and then he continued to write such wonderful posts. He was always so insightful and was not afraid to share his inner feelings with us, and I hope I can be as great a blogger as he was. So Jordan, thank you for all you have done and for that amazing closing blog. Myself and all the other members of the D2E committee are so proud of you and wish you all the best in the future.
Now for my introduction!! Helloooo everyone, as Jordan mentioned before, my name is Anjaynee Rajkumar, but everyone pretty much calls me Angie. I am a senior at Baruch majoring in Finance and minoring in Communications Studies. I got involved with the Dare to Engage committee due to Jordan, who I’ve worked with in T.E.A.M. Baruch for the past 2 years and who I’ve become good friends with. I am so thankful that Jordan thought I would be a good fit for the committee and that the other members of the committee have accepted me with open arms!
I first became familiar with the D2E committee after the panel in 2010 which was held after the Tyler Clementi suicide. It was the first event I recall attending that addressed issues related to the LGBTQIA community and after that I attended the discussion panel which addressed religion and homosexuality. Since my junior high school years I have had friends who were homosexual or bi-sexual and I have always accepted and supported their life styles. To me, their sexuality did not make them any different from anyone else. They were still human, still great people and friends, and the truth is, their relationships were no different than heterosexual relationships. So what was the big deal? Why couldn’t people accept them for them? I always new a lot of people, especially from older generations, did not support the LGBTQIA community, however, after attending these panels, I began to notice just how intolerant and ignorant some people could be! I recall getting into a heated debate with one religious figure who said his job was to “fix” people in the LGBTQIA community. Fix???? What was wrong with them? They didn’t seem broken to me!
As time continues to pass, I’ve began to realize just how many people view homosexuality or bi-sexuality as a “choice.” My difficulty in understanding this view is, any homosexual or bi-sexual person I have met never said they “chose” to be that way, instead they say, that’s just they way they are! What’s even more baffling to me is that some people know they are not heterosexual from a young age. The first homosexual young man I met said he knew from three years old; therefore, I’m not sure how at age three someone “chooses” to be homosexual. Reflecting on my own sexuality, I don’t think I “chose” to be heterosexual, it’s just who I am. It’s just how my body and mind is. I don’t tell my body to choose men over women, it just does! Therefore, how can a man preferring a man be any different than a man preferring a woman? My apologies if this is getting confusing, but it’s exactly how I feel. I am so confused as to why so many people, ranging from all backgrounds and all levels of education, believe people just “choose” to be homosexual or that doing a certain thing can lead someone to become homosexual. Does stopping a young boy from watching porn cause him to become homosexual? Highly unlikely!
Therefore, it is with this confusion and determination to bring understanding of the LGBTQIA community to the heterosexual community, that I gladly accept my new title of the D2E blogger and a member of the D2E! As we enter into a new year of the committee, I hope we continue to make Baruch a SafeZone and a much more understanding place! And as many of you may realize, I have a very different writing style from Jordan, but no matter what the style, we are working towards a common goal and I hope as the blog continues, more of you guys get involved and start commenting. I loooove discussions and would really appreciate reading your thoughts/feelings/reflections on what I discuss. I would even love it if you all would give suggestions on things you want to read about or events you believe would benefit the goal of the D2E committee.
Let’s give it up for a new year filled with greater growth, understanding, and a stronger community because even if you are a member of the LGBTQIA community or not, we are all part of the Baruch community!!!!!
May 25th, 2012 by Jordan McFarlane-Beau
I purposely waited to write this final blog post for eSafeZone and the Dare To Engage committee because yesterday (May 24th) was the last day of the Spring 2012 semester ending my senior year and 4 years at Baruch College. =) Graduation is 5 days away for us Class of 2012 folks and I am so happy my cheekbones are sore. But this is not about me…not solely anyway.
When I started at Baruch July 2008, I was still very much closeted or on the “down low.” My internal struggle of dealing with the truth and reality of my homosexuality was an almost hurtful thing to examine closely. But by the summer before my junior year and right before I started as a Resident Assistant (RA) at the dorms, I KNEW that I would come out eventually simply because of the role I was taking on. And I was right! Because of the amazing Baruch energy from my residents, students and RA staff members and family, eventually on Jan. 10th 2011, I came out to a best friend and it was all downhill from there. In a good way of course.
But what makes me proud is how far Baruch College has grown or learned about LGBTQIA, non-heterosexuality, anti-bullying, straight-allies, “safe zones”, etc. I still remember getting the call from my boss and mentor, Dr. Shadia Sachedina to sit on the panel at the November 2010 Town Hall meeting after the unfortunate, Tyler Clementi suicide. Though at the time I had yet to come out to anyone yet but that event is what launched the Dare to Engage committee or working group and it was an honor to be asked to serve with such individuals.
Baruch should be proud that it is able to show a consistent effort to educate our diverse community and really take the initiative to hold events that would serve to enhance what we know about LGBTQIA. The events have been great, such as the film series, the town hall, the multiple panels. What I enjoyed the most were our semester committee meetings were “working meetings.” Dr. Thomas made sure to keep it moving but I loved how everyone around the table contributed something of worth and asked questions if they did not know something. I will miss the meetings and the depth of our discussions. I also learned SO MUCH enrolling in the college’s LGBT Psychology class with Professor Josh Rutter, whose knowledge base seems to know no bounds.
It is with great pleasure that I know turn this eSafeZone blog over to the ever-capable hands of my good friend and fellow T.E.A.M. Baruchian, Anjaynee (Angy) Rajkumar. She will be finishing up her degree soon enough this coming December and a great person to get to know.
I would just like to thank a few people:
-Dr. Shadia Sachedina, for her trust in my capabilities and for our friendship that has grown
-Dr. Corlisse Thomas whose wisdom is precious to me and who is an inspirational being
- Sharon Yamen, for her honesty and friendship & always helping me secure a job
- Luke Waltzer, who has ALWAYS helped me with Blogs@Baruch and is too cool for his own good
- Dr. Ryan Adrosiglio, for his passion and devotion to the cause and the work the college has started
- Professor Rutter, whose enthusiasm and knowledge made ME want to learn
And this is me, a lifelong Bearcat signing out!
May 25th, ’12
April 3rd, 2012 by Jordan McFarlane-Beau
March 8th, 2012 by Jordan McFarlane-Beau
About a month ago I had the privilege to attend a very interesting panel presentation, Belonging in my own skin: Understanding myself as a Black Gay Man with my fellow Dare To Engage committee members. Now being a young black gay male myself, I was drawn to this discussion to hear an array of viewpoints on a topic that I have to admit I do not know much about. Last semester in my LGBT psychology class, I always got a sudden burst of energy when a classmate started sharing their heated opinion that in actuality was them spouting more myths about things they know nothing about in the homosexual community.
The reason why I enjoyed the panel, overall, was because a lot of important truths were raised about how in the African-American community, depression is becoming more prevalent amid black gays, teens in particular. I was closeted for 10 years and even though like the next gay man (currently closeted or out or NOT), I have my reasons. Reasons which I validate with my own logic based on the environment, society and culture I came into contact with. To this day, I am still unable to point out a moment in my 10 year period as a closeted-gay, that I could label as a depressive state. Yet I may have been too close to the situation to make an accurate diagnosis without seeking the right type of help and guidance.
The panelists gave me a lot to think about. It is sad that gay teens, black or not, get sexually assaulted or abused or commit suicide. It is sad that parents and families turn away from their son or daughter when they need them the most. It is sad that black gay men have to put on airs and appearances for the sake of hiding what they desire. It is important to not completely rule out psychological guidance and treatment nor faith in religion when you are battling depression.
I wish I could find a more creative way to convey my level of high after the panel had ended, but it was truly an amazing event. My fellow Dare To Engage members and I may not have agreed with 100% of what was said or argued but I respect where each panelist was coming from and was left with a lot of things to think about for the rest of that Thursday.
My favorite panelist who I thought was unforgettable is: Yolo Akil (just in case anybody was wondering) =}
- Jordan, head eSafeZone blogger
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