Gender And Sexuality Column

The LGBT Resource Center’s name update is admirable and opportune

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LGBT resource center director Tiffany Grey recently sent out a survey to collect suggestions for a change to the center's name.

Read the rainbow, embrace the rainbow. Well, at least that’s what Syracuse University’s LGBT Resource Center is aiming for with its proposed name change.

For years, sexuality in the United States was regarded as a one-or-the-other scenario. Someone either identified as gay or straight. But with increasing acceptance and awareness of gender and sexual identities that fall elsewhere on the spectrum, SU’s queer resource center is looking to keep with the times.

On Tuesday, LGBT Resource Center Director Tiffany Gray released a campus-wide survey for a proposed name change to the facility, which has assisted queer students for more than 15 years.

Gray said the name change is meant to “better align with our vision, our values, and the spectrum of communities.” The potential name changes would expand to include intersex, asexual and transgender individuals, among others.

Simply put,  acceptance of queer sexuality in the U.S. has changed, and the community is changing too. While the center’s primary mission is to support marginalized members of the SU community, the decision to update its name comes as a contrast to the values expressed by the presidential administration. Following President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals in the military, the country is at a moral crossroads of who we are versus who we ought to be.

By changing the name of the resource center to better reflect an inclusive community, more students will find a seat at a table they had long been standing in the shadow of. If representation is not widespread, the center is doing a disservice to the people it aims to protect.

Among the proposed name changes include the LGBTQIA Cultural Center and the Center for LGBTQIA Equity. But the most profound takeaway from the options was how many included the word “justice,” a concept many have seemingly lost sight of.

The resource center’s name change means more than just a new sign on the door. It’s a symbolic gesture of the preservation of the country’s value to fight for the rights and values of everyone.

The foundation of the United States relies on ensuring all people are created equal, and it’s time we realize the extent of that message and what it implies. Looking beyond the boundaries of “male” versus “female” means recognizing that every human life, regardless of sex, gender identity or sexual attraction, is valid and valued.

What’s in a name? The promise of an identity.

Kelsey Thompson is a junior magazine journalism major. Her column appears biweekly. She can be reached at katho101@syr.edu.

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