Friday, November 8, 2013

Colorado College catches heat for using touchy word

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 4:41 PM

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I understand that folks are here, they're queer and that everyone else should really just do their best to get used to it. But, still, the Q-word is not one I've ever felt comfortable using in conversation.

I mean, it's pretty tough to find a positive definition of it in Merriam-Webster; and even the Urban Dictionary says, "Caution: still extremely offensive when used as an epithet."

That's the trick with words that are being "taken back": Some vast majority of the population probably still shouldn't use them.

However, when it comes to the word "queer," Colorado College thinks otherwise, reports the Denver Post, and includes it as a gender choice on a job application. (I don't recall hetero-, homo-, a-sexual or otherwise being a gender, but I'm clearly behind the times with this whole damn thing.) This upset one gay applicant, who complained to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, and here we are.

Anyway, here's the Denver daily:

As far as Colorado College is concerned, using the term on applications is "intended to represent the college's commitment to and acknowledgment of diversity related to gender," according to a statement from the school. "Colorado College is very much committed to diversity, and is very open about sexual orientation."

The school's office of Minority and International Students uses the following definition of queer in its training: "An umbrella term describing people who have a non-normative gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual anatomy—includes lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, asexual people, transgender people, intersex people, etc."

CC echoes its comments to the Post in a statement to the Independent:

"As an optional part of our employment application, Colorado College includes the terms 'male,' 'female,' 'transgender' and 'queer' for gender," writes spokeswoman Leslie Weddell. "This is a direct reflection of Colorado College’s commitment to create and sustain an inclusive campus community. Applicants are not required to provide this data; we request it so we can know the composition of the applicant pool and to support our efforts to be an Equal Employment Employer. The college also employs an LGBTQ specialist to provide support to students."

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