First, I want to thank you for all of the positive coverage you gave to Sex Week 2014. I did want to take this opportunity though to clarify and provide new information about two important points that were brought up in articles featured in the Friday, February 14, 2014 edition of the newspaper. The first is in relation to the article entitled “Not enough pricks: STI testing fails to meet Lafayette student needs.” Based upon the overwhelming response to this program, Bailey Health Center and Novus Adult Care Services are partnering to bring testing services to campus once a week for the remainder of the semester, free of charge. Making the choice to engage in sexual behavior brings with it the responsibility to ensure that you and your partner(s) are safe and healthy. Make testing a part of your regular routine.
The second point is in regard to the headline “Coming out: Michael Sam, Jesse Klug and the prospect of a gay athlete at Lafayette.” This is an inappropriate headline, implying that there aren’t already gay, lesbian, or bisexual athletes at Lafayette. I guarantee there are. They have chosen, for multiple reasons, to disclose on their terms, which is how it should be. Some may be out to teammates, or to family members, select friends, completely out, or not out at all. It is hard for individuals who are not LGBTQ to understand the stigma and pressure that comes with being someone of a differing gender or sexual identity. Openly LGBTQ people are still harassed (both physically and verbally), discriminated against, and killed. While strides are being made, team sports are still a bastion of hypermasculinity and Lafayette is no different. While numerous coaches, teammates, and members of the Athletics administration have expressed their support for LGBTQ athletes here on campus, locker room culture is still a force to be reckoned with. If it were easy, Michael Sam’s disclosure would not have been breaking news. Instead of questioning why there aren’t any gay athletes at Lafayette, I encourage you and others to ask the question: what can be done to create a campus climate that is open and affirming enough for those who are already here to be comfortable being open about whom they love?
Associate Dean of Intercultural Development &
Director of Gender and Sexuality Programs