Monday, 02 April 2012 22:37

California Students Could Have To Answer About Their Sexual Orientation On Application Or Enrollment Forms

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California's state colleges and universities plan to ask students about their sexuality on their application or enrollment forms. Even if this poll can develop better services for LGBTQ students, certain gay activists worry about the privacy of these data.

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law which calls for schools to adopt policies that discourage bullying and harassment of gay and lesbian students. It also asks, but does not require, state campuses to allow students and staff "to identify their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression" on any forms used to collect such other demographic data as race and national origin. It encourages campuses to measure their LGBQ population to see if they are offering enough services for these students within their establishments.

Jesse Bernal, the UC system's interim diversity coordinator, told the Los Angeles Times, the poll "would be useful to know if we are underserving the population." In addition, giving students the opportunity to answer such questions, he added, "sends a positive message of inclusiveness to LGBT students and creates an environment that is inclusive and welcoming of diverse populations."

That remains still rare that Universities wonder about the percentage of their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

Concerning the privacy, a student can want that the informations are not shared and, as indicates the Los Angeles Times, UC Berkeley student Andrew Albright, who is gay and a student government activist, also said some gay and lesbian students might be initially nervous about how their responses would be used.

But he said most would participate if the potential benefits, such as increased services, are made clear and if UC keeps its promises that an individual's information will be confidential and only used in aggregates.

"I think in general it's a good thing," said Albright, a third-year political science and sociology major. "Beyond counseling services, professors might alter approaches to various lectures if they know a sizable percentage of the class is gay or lesbian," he said.