Our view: A small step for equality

DKS Editors

Almost two years ago, Kent State first offered domestic partner benefits to faculty as part of their contract, a significant step in making Kent State more inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty.

Today, the university is taking a step in being more inclusive for students with the opening of the LGBTQ Center in Room 226M of the Student Center.

Students will eventually be in charge of directing the center, but for now faculty from the LGBT studies program are volunteering. They’ve said they want students to tell them what they need out of the center and make it a place for inclusion.

The center doesn’t have a set agenda quite yet, but some ideas include discussing challenges to transgender students and LGBT students who are black or have a disability.

No matter what comes out of the center, it’s important for Kent State, known for being a liberal campus, to be progressive in these ways. Currently, there are a number of initiatives at Kent State to make it LGBT-inclusive, including PRIDE!Kent and the “Safe Zone” stickers on certain doors, which indicate an openness to sexual orientation.

But the new center takes inclusion a step further. It’s difficult enough for any incoming freshman to find his or her niche at the university, but certainly even more difficult for someone in the minority. Having this LGBTQ Center establishes a true commitment to making people of every sexual orientation feel welcome.

College should be a place for cultivating new ideas. And with plenty of talk surrounding rights for same-sex couples nationwide, this new LGBTQ Center poses the perfect opportunity for this discussion to happen at Kent State.

It’s a chance for everyone who supports the cause — allies included — to convene and discuss issues relevant to the LGBT community. And maybe those discussions can turn into action beyond just the university, to a state and national level.

The fight for equality for the LGBT community is far from over. And today’s opening of the LGBTQ Center at Kent State certainly doesn’t end the fight on the university level. But as the nation continues to move forward — and backward — we’re glad to see that Kent State is committed to moving forward.

A grand opening reception will take place today from 4-6 p.m., and students should make it a point to take an interest. With the input the university is seeking from students, the center can become as much as they want it to become. It’s a chance for members of the Kent State community to move forward in this very worthy cause.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.