We of the Queer Student Alliance (QSA) write here in concern. We are concerned about both national and campus-based issues. Incidents like the Fall semester’s damaging of Haines Hall all-gender bathroom signs seem to match the recent hateful vandalization — twice in one week — of a trans-themed sculpture by August Barringer (sophomore).
In this current political climate, LGBTQIA* people are anxious, and many trans individuals feel particularly unsafe. The psychological violence of this vandalism cannot be overstated for our community. After a consultation with the artist, however, we wish to send a message beyond grievance and sadness.
We laud the Title IX Office’s investigation and prompt response to students, staff and faculty. But the response of our entire campus community neither begins nor ends with official institutional procedures. In light of the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to Occidental College, the QSA and our allies are reminded of his idea of “The Beloved Community.” King meant this phrase to mark a goal and achievement rather than a dividing line of inclusion or exclusion. Everyone at Occidental is pulled further away from any realization of a beloved community by such disrespectful actions, be they committed with hate or flippancy. We implore every member of our community to take on this responsibility and change the conversation from what we are not to what we can and should become.
The Queer Student Alliance