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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

OSU Pride Center moves to be 'Brave Space' and 'gender inclusive' instead of 'Safe Space' or 'gender neutral'

Pride center safe space and condoms Barometer Nov. 20 and Dec. 1, 2015, p. 1

PHOTO: (top) A condom display at the OSU Pride Center for gay students is shown for the Oregon State University student newspaper story by Julie Cooper, "OSU named first in sexual health," Barometer, Nov. 10, 2015, p. 1 and (bottom) the OSU Pride Center for LGBT students is shown again for a front page story by Marcus Trinidad, "Cultural resource centers promote empowerment of marginalized groups," Barometer, Dec. 1, 2015, p. 1, which says students are moving from calling the Oregon State University Pride Center a "safe space" to a "brave space" because, "There's always going to be people who will challenge your beliefs . . . (and) These are spaces where you are going to feel brave, supported and validated," said Pride Center student liaison Malik Ensley.

Both of the above OSU student newspaper articles referenced the excellent STD and HIV prevention programs at Oregon State University, which are in addition to the female contraceptive services provided by the student health center. These are important services, especially important to the many college students who are becoming sexually active for the first time in their lives and have come from a place where such education and information was not available to them.

I was living in San Francisco in the 1980's when AIDS first became visible and I witnessed firsthand the effects of it on the gay community -- I could not walk around the famously gay Castro district without seeing crippled young men literally dying from AIDS. Although thankfully today, HIV has become controllable with widely available pills and treatments, there is still no cure for the virus that causes AIDS. Still to this day, HIV and AIDS are no joking matter.

Understanding AIDS A Message From The Surgeon General page 1 with picture of C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc. D, Surgeon General 1988

PHOTO: AIDS was first noticed in 1981. By April of 1984, scientists in France and America announced they had discovered the virus likely to cause AIDS. It was not until 1988, after the AIDS crisis had become very severe, that the above brochure was allowed by Republicans to be mailed out to every household in America: "Understanding AIDS A Message From The Surgeon General," 1988, page 1 shows picture of C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc. D, Surgeon General. See my previous post Understanding AIDS 1988 (9/23/06).

At the risk of making AIDS a joke or diminishing its importance, and also at the risk of being disrespectful to the concept of "political correctness," reading the above two articles in the OSU student newspaper led ne to feeling the "liberal guilt" frequently parodied by the animated cartoon, "South Park," because my reaction was one of amusement over the students' shift to be a 'Brave Space' in the Pride Center instead of a 'Safe Space' with a 'gender inclusive' restroom instead of or 'gender neutral' toilet. (I wonder if my "politically incorrect" reaction is the first sign of me becoming senile? -- Yes, my nursing home friends will accuse me of being insensitive to their condition!) I have no objections to this renaming and the reasons why are rational, but I am also old enough to be amused by the deep thinking leading to it that can usually be found only on a college campus full of intelligent people. Similarly, I have been involved in research for enough decades to have developed some skepticism about statistical correlations and the inferences made from them, especially when it comes to anything doing with human culture because there are so many variables that are loosely coupled, which make accurate deductions difficult to make. I have never become a denialist of basic facts, such as that HIV causes AIDS, but I am always open to looking for the exceptions to the rules in everything.

Perhaps my amused reactions have been caused by watching the humorously perverted "South Park" that inspired the concept of "South Park Republicans," defined as socially liberal and fiscally conservative people who seek liberty from the "tyranny of a nanny government" that claims to protect citizens. The "South Park" cartoon characters also often parody and make fun of the "PC liberals" in their fictional Colorado town that is inhabited by characters ranging from conservatives to liberals wanting to impose their "political correctness" on everyone. South Park even lampoons the anti-gay right-wing religious nuts that today make up a part of the Republican Party wanting a Christian theocracy to bring back the secular laws against homosexuals.

South Park cartoon children standing in front of a Republican elephant and the U.S. flag

PHOTO: gay-friendly South Park Republican values are embraced by the children of the animated cartoon "South Park." See my previous post South Park Republicans (4/25/07).

See previous posts:

Oregon State University Cultural Resource Centers: