Let me begin by first stating that I believe that the heart of Goshen College is one that is good, and this is reflected in the hearts of those who study and work here. I am proud to be a part of a community of such loving and intelligent people. However, as with the case of most things, there is definitely always room for improvement.
I struggled with how to begin an article about Goshen College’s particular hiring practices of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer) community, and as I write I still struggle with what to say, not because I have a lack of opinion (those of you who know me know this can’t possibly be true), but rather a lack of ability to really express my passion and full opinion about this issue in 300 to 600 words. So I suppose I am left with no option but to give just a few of the reasons I believe we should hire LGBTQ faculty.
First, I think it’s important to understand what our policy is on hiring people of this particular community. Essentially, to the best of my knowledge and understanding, Goshen College will not hire homosexual individuals who are not celibate. This is a very simplified understanding collected from conversations with faculty, but also from attending last year’s talkback session about this issue in which a member of the president’s council thoroughly discussed the Biblically inspired policy/clause behind the decision not to hire LGBTQ individuals who were not celibate.
Acknowledging and respecting that we are a Christian school, the Bible never speaks about homosexuality in terms of a loving, committed relationship, but rather as an act of war and dominance as it was used in the Biblical times. Although I could write a paper about the reasons why I believe the Bible does not stand against homosexuality in terms of this loving, committed relationship (and I have), I will simply make one point on this issue. The Bible discusses quite a bit about sexual and marital relations along with discussions about homosexuality. And if we refuse to hire those who are homosexual, then shouldn’t we also refuse to hire those who are engaging in premarital sex or who have had a divorce? Of course we shouldn’t, because matters of sexuality–in whatever form–should be private.
Aside from the above-mentioned clause and all of the messy Biblical interpretations and debates, based on the fact that we have LGBTQ students there are two other very essential reasons I believe GC should allow the hiring of LGBTQ individuals. First, I believe that it is important for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters to have mentors here on campus. As a straight woman who wants a career and family, I have my choice of amazing women faculty who could help me achieve these goals and offer advice and encouragement along my life journey. Although there are many faculty members who love and support their LGBTQ students, how many of them have been in their shoes and can offer sage advice on how to get through their particular life struggles? LGBTQ students need mentors who truly understand their experience.
Lastly, I believe it’s important to hire qualified LGBTQ individuals because I believe the implicit message of our current hiring practice is that LGBTQ students are welcome as long as they are students, but once they have graduated their presence is no longer wanted. The LGBTQ community is full of talented, loving, intelligent people who have a lot to offer. Let’s not send them the message that because they are homosexual those wonderful characteristics are invalid.
Jessica Bubp is a communication, women’s studies and psychology interdisciplinary senior from Plymouth, Ind.