LGBTQ Corner

Denny Patterson, Senior Editor

Welcome to the Decaturian’s LGBTQ Corner. This is a section that reports on major news stories and issues concerning with the LGBT community. Although some stories may not directly relate to Millikin, these are still issues college students and society should be aware of. The LGBT community has been under scrutiny and discrimination since the beginning of time, but the fight for equality is becoming more and more advanced.

Russian in the spotlight – again
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has issued a statement aimed at soothing fears about LGBT athletes being penalized during the 2014 Winter Olympics located in Sochi, Russia. Kozak promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Russia will respect the nondiscrimination clauses of the Olympic Charter, but simultaneously defended the national anti-LGBT law. The law that was passed in June includes imposing fines and possible jail time for anyone discussing LGBT identities in a format that might be visible to minors.

Kozak said in a statement to the Associate Press, “The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety.” Yet, he reaffirmed that the anti-LGBT law will apply. “Equally to all persons, irrespective of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, and cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

LGBT athletes who express support for LGBT communities by holding hands, kissing, or showing off pride colors would most likely be in violation.

Kirk Dillard condemned by Equality Illinois
Illinois State Sen. Kirk Dillard is in the hot seat by Equality Illinois. Dillard, a Republican candidate for governor wants to repeal that state’s civil union law. When filling out a questionnaire for the conservative Illinois Review, Dillard checked the box next to repealing Illinois civil unions. In addition, he commented that they are a “litigious nightmare.”

Dillard officially announced his second bid for governor on July 18 and vows to veto gay marriage legislation.

In an interview with Chicago.gopride.com, Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization said, “Dillard’s comment that the civil union bill is ‘a litigious nightmare’ is patently false. Despite its inadequacy in granting full marriage rights to all Illinois couples, the civil union law was a step in the right direction for LGBT Illinoisans.

“Pandering to the conservative fringes of the Republican Party may earn Dillard attention in the GOP primary field, but it ultimately won’t carry him very far in a general election. During this election campaign, we will not let LGBT Illinoisans or the gains we have fought so hard to achieve serve as fodder for regressive candidates. He cannot be elected governor by attacking LGBT rights.”

LGBT teachers being pushed back into the closet
Across the country, thousands of LGBT teachers, educators and mentors are being forced back into the closet due to the fear of being harassed, discriminated against or being fired. Recently, there have been numerous complaints by parents claiming that they don’t want their children to be taught by a gay man or woman. On the other hand, many students have been rallying in support for their teacher.

Even though there are currently 21 states, plus D.C., that have employment nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation, religiously affiliated private school aren’t often subjected to the same state-level rules opposed to public institutions. It is becoming extremely risky to be openly gay at a private school.