25 October 2007

We're allowed to be mean to gays here

The University System of Georgia has just put out its new, improved anti-harrassment/anti-discrimination policy. It prohibits us from being mean to each other based on "race, sex (including sexual harassment), ethnic or national origin, religion, age, disabled status, or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era."

I understand that those in charge of figuring out the wording did get asked about "orientation." Since it's not mentioned despite that, I can only conclude that the omission is deliberate. Especially since the previous version (marked "effective July 2006" at the bottom) did include sexual orientation.

4 comments:

Sam said...

What slightly surprises me is that intelligent, educated people care enough about gays to purposefully exclude sexual orientation/identity from nondiscrimination policies. It seems to me that people of intellect and influence should have moved beyond petty concerns like which genitals somebody else likes, with the exception of making sure that appropriate possible mates like their genitals.

Jim Wright said...

"Veteran of the Vietnam era?" Uh, what the hell is that? Do you see enough discrimination against Vietnam vets that it actually has to be spelled out that as a bad thing? Seriously, there's significantly more discrimination against Vietnam vets than there is against gays? I don't get it.

Oh, and what Sam said.

MWT said...

Well, as you know Bob (or Jim as the case may be), Vietnam vets aren't allowed to get married in Georgia either. It's a consolation prize that we shouldn't be mean to them in our public schools.

*cough*

Umm, but more seriously. I looked into it a bit more and it turns out that that second link is still current policy - but they've decided to cross out "sexual orientation" in the short form that they actually show everyone. It was explained to me that the lawyers think "sex" covers orientation too. :p Me personally, I think I'm going to ask the institute to be bold and deviant from the rest of the university system and put it back into our version.

Sam said...

Yeah, what people whose business is playing with words think (or say they think) is rarely what the public will think (and unless they're judges, what lawyers say means squat.)

Consider the Fifteenth Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Given the treatment of women in our history (and in the book which the majority of Americans say they hold sacred,) I would count being female as a condition of servitude. But women were not given the right to vote until a long time after this Amendment was passed. The reason? The wording did not explicitly include women, and public sentiment was against female suffrage at the time.

So, in a time when many members of the public are against a demographic, it is a bad time to make iffy leaps of judgment. Better to explicitly include everyone who could possibly be included. It's not like they're being charged a hundred dollars a word.