This week , Louisiana State University held its first-ever Lavender Graduation, honoring LGBT seniors. Similar ceremonies have been held for students across the country for over two decades, recognizing them for “not only their achievements but for surviving their college years.” But at LSU, this simple ceremony is riling conservatives like those at CampusReform.org who don’t believe LGBT students deserve any special recognition:
Caleb Covington, a sophomore at LSU, told Campus Reform that due to the school’s tight fiscal position and he believes it is unfair for school funds to be used for one group’s graduation ceremony.
“It sounds fiscally unsound to fund any other grad ceremonies aside our own. It’s nice that they are making an effort to make LGBT students feel welcome but at the same time it’s somewhat unfair to many other groups who want to have their own private graduation ceremonies,” he said. “It’s also not also in the spirit of budget cutting that we should probably be having right now.”
It’s important to note that the funding came from a budget in the campus’s Office of Multicultural Affairs specifically set aside for supporting LGBT students. A similar ceremony is also held at LSU for African-American students who are graduating, as is similarly the case on other campuses.
Many college campuses continue to have chilly climates for LGBT students, yet it is also a time when many young people come out for the first time. LSU is a school with limited resources available to counteract that climate — in fact, it has never even participated in the Campus Climate Index, which evaluates LGBT-inclusive policies at universities. LGBT students clearly face a unique set of challenges while in college, so to suggest that they do not deserve recognition using funding specifically set aside for just that purpose is simply an attempt to force them back into the closet. Lavender Graduation champions students for doing just the opposite.
Watch a local news report about the supposed “controversy” from WBRZ: