A private college in Colorado Springs asks job applicants whether they’re male, female, transgender or “queer.”
Job seekers may also choose not to disclosure their gender on the application, and officials at Colorado College say it’s asked as a “direct reflection” of the liberal arts college’s “commitment to create and sustain an inclusive campus community.”
While the term “queer” was long a slur for gays, an LGBT activist said younger people are reclaiming the word.
“It’s true that for many years lots of people were called ‘queer’ and it was a derogatory term and they find it offensive, but there’s definitely a younger generation that is trying to reform the term and give it new meaning,” said Rex Fuller, of Denver’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender (LGBT) Community Center.
Some students agree the meaning of the term has changed as acceptance of gays, lesbians and transgender people has grown.
“Colorado College is making an effort to be inclusive,” said student Marley Jamason. “’Queer’ is an umbrella term that encompasses a whole range of identities.”
Fuller said context is key in using the term.
If somebody is screaming it at you on the street … they mean to offend you, and that’s probably not a good thing, “ Fuller said. “But if someone is using it to identify themselves because that’s what they feel good about, then we support that.”
Some variations of the standard LGBT initialism – which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – include a Q to stand for queer.
That’s the variation Colorado College uses in its statement on the job application.
“Applicants are not required to provide this data; we request it so we can know the composition of the applicant pool and to support our efforts to be an Equal Employment Employer,” the college says in a statement. “The college also employs an LGBTQ specialist to provide support to students.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]