By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
January 15, 2013
WINSTON-SALEM — “I acknowledge that I will be held accountable for my decisions and behavior, and I will accept the consequences of my actions.” This sentence from the Honor Code at Salem College seems straightforward enough. But what if the “decision” is to change one’s gender from female to male? Shouldn’t the “consequences” of no longer living on the campus of the all-women’s college be accepted?
That’s the debate at the school that advertises itself as the oldest women’s college in the nation and says it plans to stay that way, but at the same time is considering a new policy for so-called “transgender” students.
The issue came to light recently when the Winston-Salem Journal received a copy of an e-mail distributed by an alumna concerned that the school’s board of trustees would allow a woman-turning-man student to continue to live on campus and that their action would open the door to the college’s becoming co-ed. Established by Moravians in 1772, Salem College allows men 23 and older to take courses via its Fleer Center for Adult Education, but does not allow them to live on campus.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported that a student who plans to undergo a sex-change surgery in February also plans to continue to live on campus. But leaders in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community – many commenting on web sites that picked up the Winston-Salem Journal article – say that the information regarding surgery is untrue and that Salem officials have been considering a transgender policy for some time.
College officials told the media that they did send a questionnaire to faculty, staff and residential students asking in part, “In light of our mission to educate women, how do you view the issue of transgender students in the traditional college program at Salem?” But they said they have not set a timetable to create a transgender policy and that releasing any information about a particular student would violate privacy rules.
“Certainly we don’t expect personal information about a student to be released, but if the Winston-Salem Journal is accurate and this person wants to be a man and is undergoing surgery to become a man, then we urge that individual to be a man and to leave the residence hall at Salem College, which is clearly not a place for men,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“What people need to understand is that when you change your gender, all of life changes. You can’t claim every benefit of being a man and every benefit of being a woman,” he added. “Unfortunately, this issue is typical of the LGBTQ community, which seems to always be demanding ‘I want what I want and I have a right to it!’”
Dr. Creech said rather than spending time and effort crafting complicated policies to appease a tiny minority of students, officials should serve the hundreds of women who were certain of the fact that they were women when they decided to come to a women’s college in the first place.
“If people want to reject the gender they were born with, that is their business, but they shouldn’t expect an institution with which they had a relationship to suddenly bend the rules to suit their gender identity,” he said.