Published May 29, 2013
By Frances Watson, KEPR TV
You've come to expect questions about race, gender and age on applications of all kinds. The demographics are intended to better serve you.
But you may not have responded to questions about your sexual preference or what gender you identify with?
Community and Technical colleges in Washington are now asking just that. You might ask why that's relevant, but some students are happy to check the box.
Ruben Zecena, student at Columbia Basin College. He said, "It's about time because to me it tells me the school recognizes who I am and it's not like I'm hidden from the population."
These two new questions will be part of the enrollment process starting this fall.
What is your sexual orientation?
Bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, queer, straight or other?
What is your gender identity?
Feminine, masculine, androgynous, gender neutral, trans-gender or other?
The choice to skip the question is also there.
KEPR asked,"Could it possibly target students versus actually helping them? ///
Maddy Jeffs, vice president of student services, said, "Well, the information is going to be confidential, like most of the demographic information that we collect for students."
The state insists it's simply demographic data. The movement was started by students. They are looking for more ways to improve the college experience. Hoping to educate and inform, breaking down the walls of discrimination.
Ruben Zecena heads the LGBTQ alliance on campus. He's also the student body president. For him, college has been a great experience. He knows many others struggle. Ruben thinks these questions might help in the long run.
He said, "It's doing what the school promises a student, which is to give them a safe environment for them to shine on."
KEPR talked to dozens of students here on campus, and they all support the idea, saying it's not so much a gay rights issue as it is a human rights issue.
Student Brisa Martinez said, "I think it's very hard to be young and not be able to go to anybody and tell them hey, this is how I'm feeling. I think it's a really good opportunity."
It's an opportunity to take education to the next level.
Maddy said, "This is all about student success."
And equal opportunity for everyone on campus.
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