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“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education

“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education
| Staff

Whether it’s Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining his journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which induced womanhood, or actress Laverne Cox breaking the trans glass ceiling in the Netflix’s hit series, Orange Is the New Black, where a trans woman is actually played by a trans woman, the transgender community continues to break the boundaries of social acceptance. The transgender push for equality has now shattered the Higher Education glass ceiling. According to the Washington Post, starting next fall, University of California applicants will be the first wave of students given the option to signal their sexual orientation and any number of gender identities on their application.

This change is one of several new accommodations the university has made in effort to make the campus as inclusive as possible. “I think it introduces the kind of welcoming environment we want to have just by introducing the question on the first thing students will see, which is the application they’re filling out. We think it’s very important,” said Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, who serves on the system-wide-advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

UC undergraduate program applicants will now have the option to answer the following questions:

How do you describe yourself?(Mark one answer)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Do you consider yourself to be (Mark one answer):

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

The university hopes to one day implement these options in graduate study and employment applications. The information will enable them to track such students in order to monitor graduation rates and determine if the support available is sufficient.

President Janet Napolitano, who pushed for these changes with the creation of a task force last summer said “it doesn’t stop [here] – we must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”

University officials note that an applicant’s answer to any of the questions holds no bearing on chances for admission.

Comments (79)
DW 7/16/2015
How about none of your f#$$#g business? Where does this BS stop?
Reality check 7/16/2015
Equality will NEVER be achieved to the liking of everyone and HERE IS WHY... There will ALWAYS be a winner and a loser in all we do! We can't all be winners because then there would be no purpose!
Denise S. 7/16/2015
Equality in my opinion is having standards/attributes that doesn't give a person an advantage or disadvantage to something. So "WHY" the necessary ...or should I say the "unnecessary" information, from those that only want to get a head by a means of using this tactic to Achieve that which couldn't probably couldn't be achieved otherwise! I agree with someone on this post that said ... True "equality" would mean that the applications would not have anything on them other than your name, grades , extracurricular activities and test scores on them, then we would ALL be equal and it would just be about who is the most qualified. But then that would be too easy and unfair to the one whose grades didn't cut it which ultimately would be the reason for blaming his or her race, gender or sexual preference.. Which HAS NO MERIT for anything other that blaming others for their short comings! Equality in my opinion goes BOTH ways.. Expecting the same result for someone who is less qualified only diminishes the standards for which are set to begin with allowing greatness and this causing NO ONE to be held to a higher ability...In other words it would be like playing limbo and moving the bar up so everyone could bend over and get under it rather than having a few that could bend so much and go so low that the rest of us would have a goal that caused us to want to do better and work harder at achieving that which looked impossible to .. But HEY that's just me! Greatness is achievable but it's not GREATNESS if we ALL can do it without any effort or the standards are moved up to allow no one to have to bend!!
WE ARE ALL EQUAL 7/12/2015
Lauren L 7/12/2015
I'm ecstatic about this happening. The world is opening doors to include everyone and I love it. One option I don't understand is why the applicant has to put the gender they were at birth; it's needless and some might not want to put that since they didn't believe that was their gender. That is the option I would take out. I am enthralled by this action and I hope every college with add the option of picking different genders and sexualities.
aa 7/11/2015
I would love to win
Susan B 7/10/2015
Bill S 7/10/2015
you are godless
GBailey 7/10/2015
Complete and utter nonsense, just another example of an organization jumping on an issue to increase their wealth. It's higher learning, its education, what difference does someone's gender, male or female or what they "feel" their gender is, matter? You want to make everyone feel welcome, not segregated, then don't label anyone remove the gender question entirely. Figuring out who goes where in the dorms can't be any less confusing than with the multiple choice mess they have on the applications now.
S.J. 7/10/2015
This is a prime example of what society is turning into. I have nothing against gay people or transgender. If that's how they choose to live life then so be it. But you are NOT M born that way, it is a decision. It's a sin in gods eyes to live like that, but everyone has different beliefs. I'm in the middle, people can do as they please, I won't judge. As far as our world goes today it is very interesting.
Tyrone R 7/10/2015
Feeling better about yourself is a positive step forward in your life. According today lifestyles are more open to discussions to help people understand that everyone has the right to live their life. However, being sensitive towards others position in their situation and having compassion for others. We don't need hatred towards differences between other people genders shouldn't be the utmost of their identity it should how anyone want to treat one another with love in which this world is losing out on.
jonathan l 7/9/2015
What's the point. There is literally no reason for you to have to give them this info in a college application. And more importantly, I don't care if they can put this on their application or not, and don't want to be emailed this trash. Consider yourself -1 subscriber.
Alex R 7/9/2015
I think this is great! I am a designated female at birth, but I am gender non conforming and this makes me happy that someone has finally recognized that there are more than 2 genders! I hope other colleges and organizations will follow.
Maria A 7/9/2015
This is ridiculous and could be discriminatory as is this this whole agenda and lead to discrimination of people who really have no choice in their birth assignment. What used to be as simple as male or female has turned into a chaotic confusing system of delusion. Today one might like boys tomorrow girls tomorrow umm I dunno. Come on people what letter will be next. I noticed one day it's lgbt, then lgbti, then lgbtiq, then what's the next letter it "identity". It's very confusing. Hey no shade just MY opinion.
Anthony T. 7/9/2015
The time has finally arrived that the LGBTQ Community is being recognized in various capacities, which constitutes the the world is becoming more open-minded....
Taylor F 7/8/2015
I think this is a great idea, your not only bringing in a more diverse community, but making them feel welcome. A university wouldn't turn down a transgender person (I hope), but they may not always do the best job at making them feel welcome. With this initiative the transgender community will not feel like the "Trans community", but part of the whole community. I dont think every gender and sexual orientation should have a "community" we should all be one!
JDL 7/8/2015
I am speechless.
M. G. 7/8/2015
I do not think this is a great idea. First of all, I agree with what many comments have said already: This is just separating people into categories. Secondly, I would understand if the school were doing this sort of questionnaire for incoming freshman, maybe if their health and counseling center wanted this type of information in order to help their students as best as possible, but to have this on the APPLICATION is ridiculous. Third, and this is my most personal objection: If someone had asked me to check a box describing my sexual orientation when I was applying to college, it wouldn't have been correct. A lot of people have similar experiences to me of figuring out your own sexuality in your college years, as you're transitioning into an adult. I feel like if someone marked a certain box and then realized they were actually a different orientation later, this would only make accepting yourself and coming out more difficult.
Briana L 7/8/2015
This would Be Amazing!
Black Dove 7/8/2015
I see the chess move. For those who think they're going to stalk, harass, discriminate against the people who identify in one of those groups, #LoveWins supporters will legally kick your butt. That'll help ease backlash from those who don't respect liberty of others when one is sued back to the stone ages. And to the person who wrote, "HER name is Caitlin Jenner", I reply, 'Make yourself useful in society, Caitlin, and make it snappy'. The last thing we collectively need is for Caitlin to turn into Kris, Kim, Khloe, Kylie etc. KarTRASHian messiness heaped upon us in HiDef in another form (even though I do not watch the show, they've invaded U.S. History. iScream.) Be well.
Utterly pathetic 7/8/2015
The thing everyone seems to be missing here is that any type of behavior, sexual or otherwise , and regardless of whether one feels they were born with it, or later came into it by way of environmental issues, is still behavior and thus totally different than race wherein the moral question doesn't even come up . Behavior of any type is always subject to moral evaluation no matter which side of the issue you are on and thus it is the moral issue which will always keep these two monikers separate. Even the Supreme Court can make it legal but it can't make it moral or immoral. This the hyper focus on gendet issues is misguided. True "equality" would mean the applications would not have anything other than your name, grades , extracurricular activities ,and test scores on them, then we would all be equal and it would just be about who is the most qualified.
C.M. 7/8/2015
Unfortunately, we're living in a world where people are trying to call what is right wrong and what is wrong right. We live in a sin cursed world, and this is typical of what can happen in such a world. God didn't make any mistakes when he created men and women.
William W 7/8/2015
Why does it matter? If this is going to be a normal thing stop acting like it makes you special. It doesn't. You're just a regular person. You want to be special? Achieve it. Do something worth flaunting. This is needless.
JanH 7/8/2015
Blows my mind that anyone would think these kind of questions are appropriate. When you hire someone you cannot ask their age, if they are married, if they have children, if they've have any kind of work place injury or any kind of medical condition, yet you have schools asking how they like their sex (unbelievable). What is next? How many times per week do you have sex? What positions do you use? Absolutely inappropriate and has absolutely nothing to do with providing someone an education. Agree with several others - this is a way of differentiating people and exacerbating the focus on differences instead of bringing people together. It's another crazy misguided idea with good intention but absolutely no common sense.
Amy L 7/8/2015
In regards to the parents and everyone concerned why this would matter, I am a high school student who is bisexual as well as an LGBTQ activist and I am thrilled that this is happening. The reason why this would make me happy is because that the LGBTQ has a form of representation. Not only can trans boys and girls or non binary people can state their gender, we can also state our sexuality. Adults may say, these children are to young to determine their sexuality, which in reality, you are assuming these children are straight and representing heterosexuality all across the media without any discrimination. The LGBTQ community is a minority and not everyone is treated equally in the U.S. Having this type of representation excites me. I am not one to speak for the entire community, however.
Keni L 7/8/2015
Mind your own business. I think that is something most people need to remember. It is not my business if someone is gay or straight or transgender, or secretly a penguin. None of my business.
K.W. 7/8/2015
As someone who is genderqueer and bi, I think this is a both a great idea and a dangerous one. On one hand it's great that people will be recognized for who they are, and will (hopefully) receive adequate support and resources on campus. On the other hand, the LGBT+ community are already discriminated against (especially trans people). There are no federal NDA's to protect us, and being asked questions like this opens us up to more discrimination.
RebeccaF 7/8/2015
What, pray tell, does my sexual orientation have to do with my academic ability? What I do inside my bedroom has nothing to do with my ability to further my education! I'm in college to LEARN, since when does sex have anything to do with that? A word to the LGBT community.... no one cares what you feel you are inside, no one cares who you prefer to have sex with. Do not scream you want equality then consistantly seperate yourselves by your sexual preference! Concentrate on your studies, get the education you, and your parents are paying for!! Last, but not least, keep your private life in your own bedroom where it belongs!
Mickenzi L 7/8/2015
I find a number of things wrong with this. For starters, the name, "Queer Sphere", seems a little offensive. Secondly, what is the point of having people tell what their sexual orientation is? All it is doing is creating abother way to point out that we are all different. Why do we all want to see how other people are so much different from each other. All it does is pull people apart, and starts issues. If we would start to focus on how we as people are the same maybe it would bring us closer together and eventually the differences would not matter. Then we could stop putting people down by using offensive language, like "Queer". This will not lead to respect for others and equality. Lastly, who I choose to be with is no ones business but my own. Talk about no privacy! There is no need for school to dig that deep into a student, or anyone
IsaacT 7/8/2015
I understand the thought process behind this. It's to get the word, but I do not agree with it. Why does it matter? If this proces continues in the educational system it will eventually be handed down to elementary school. You cannot expect a change to be aware of their sexual orientation at such a young age. Don't do this.
chrisy S. 7/8/2015
I think I'll have my HR run a survey at my current job, with these questions,so we can make sure everyone is being treated fairly. And also do a poll on who is sexually active or not, and who has various partners. This will help us all to feel respected and supported. Even though most of us are married and have kids, and have been working together for many years....I wouldn't want anyone to feel unsupported because of their lifestyle choice. Chrissy S.
why? 7/8/2015
If all are treated equally, why would we need to know what a person's orientation is? This would only matter if we WERE treating them differently....right?
Pat B 7/8/2015
I ran into this first when my daughter applied to Clark U last Fall -- CU is not the first college to do this! I had to learn from my daughter what Cis meant. I'm 59. When I was a teen, transgender in its complete physical form, was just a dream for some people. We did have some specific different meaning no longer in existence -- like, a Lesbian was a political, usually urban gay woman while a Dyke was usually rural and could handle a chain saw. As groups, we were pretty different but it had nothing to do with gender identity! An then, Queer was an insult straight people used. Lots has changed. Great for President Napolitano! This must also make questions about which dorm someone stays in more complicated...
C. M. 7/8/2015
I think discussion of sexual preference has no business in an educational recored, let alone an employment application.
Katja F 7/8/2015
HER name is Caitlyn Jenner.
Jordan H 7/8/2015
First I would like to make it clear that I believe in equality for everyone. That being said, I feel a college application, loan application, scholarship application, job application, etc. is not the place for these kind of questions. If it has no bearing on an applicants chances of acceptance, it should not be asked. Are applications reviewed by computer? No. They are reviewed by human beings with emotions, opinions and ultimately biases.
Antonai H 7/8/2015
I think its wonderful that the college is really getting into the depts of the LGBT community , i love that they are curious to know very personal detail of there possible future students , i love what this world is becoming
Steve E. 7/8/2015
What's the point of asking those questions? Who cares? A better idea would be to just have a separate UC for the LGBT crowd so they can be as weird and freaky as they want without forcing the rest of society to accept them,
Nyiesha H. 7/8/2015
I am a female, that is the sex that I was assigned at birth, and that is on my birth certificate. I consider myself to be female. However I totally support LGBT because they are not aliens they are human beings that want to live their lives like everyone else and be happy in the skin that they deserve it is nothing wrong with feeling like you are in the wrong place/body if you believe that you are meant to be what you feel like you are then be that, don't ever let anyone but yourself determine who you really are. At the end of the all that really matters is that you love who you are and love the skin that your in.
Michelle R 7/8/2015
This information should have no bearing on anything within college applications and therefore does not belong in one.
Karla V 7/7/2015
Female Female Straight
Gavin W 7/7/2015
I think it's great that they're being more inclusive, but whoever wrote this summary doesn't really have a grasp on what being trans is. From the misgendering of Caitlyn to spelling trans woman as if it were one word, it's clear to see that we still have a long way to go.
Adam U. 7/7/2015
William W 7/7/2015
Why does it matter? If this is going to be a normal thing stop acting like it makes you special. It doesn't. You're just a regular person. You want to be special? Achieve it. Do something worth flaunting. This is needless.
Christophe Q 7/7/2015
We shouldn't have tell anyone our sexual orientation, gender, race, etc. What is next, what do I do in bed? It is nobody's business who we are on this level. Very unfortunate that things have to be this way so that people can be treated equally. Things have changed for the better for people to be able to be and express themselves without judgement, but why should we have to disclose these things on an application? I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing; hopefully good.
nadisa p 7/7/2015
if people want to be equal then why do they want to be labeled as different. The only thing this would be relevant to is housing assignment,doesnt belong on an application. And Im sick of hearing about Bruce/Caitlyn there are many more people out there more worthy of an award for courage.
Jamie M. 7/7/2015
This is just one of many reasons why my dream is to go to California for college. Also awesome that bisexual is an option.
Tammy P. 7/7/2015
Brainiac IQ 7/7/2015
This categorization shouldn't even be a discussion. College apps should only focus on intelligence. I like mash potatoes, can you put a category on there for me??? Then I know I'll feel welcome. (REALLY????!!)
Bee J. 7/7/2015
What does this have to do with getting scholarships? What the hell is "queer sphere" and a "genderqueer"? Last time I checked, students who attend California Universities are all human, so what equalities are you talking about? And to some of the people responding: PLEASE QUIT YOUR ENDLESS WINING ABOUT "it's Caitlyn, not Bruce", or "the correct pronouns are her/she"- why are u wining about something so stupid, you know what the author meant. Guess we need to watch out, EVERY word spoken about this issue must be PERFECT or the "word police" will cry like little babies waaaaah waaaah its "Caitlyn not Bruce" it's "she not he"....
Ari a 7/7/2015
Another way to fill diversity quotas
Haley Q. 7/7/2015
This is ridiculous. How does this affect your qualifications in getting a scholarship. No one needs to know. The "not normals" need to keep this info to themselves. We "normals" don't want to know.
Ed C 7/7/2015
In the beginning, God made them male and female You either have.a Y chromosome or not in every cell of you body No amount of surgery changes this
Richard B 7/7/2015
Homosexuality is a sin against almighty God and nature. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
Steve 7/7/2015
It's sad to see that something wrong is now being considered and even encouraged as "normal." Two of the greatest nations that fell - Greece and Rome - destroyed themselves from within by allowing things such as sodomy and homosexuality; when you lose a strong moral fabric, you destroy yourself. Being a Christian, I can't help but be reminded of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where God destroyed those cities due to their rampant homosexuality and other atrocious behaviors. As a Christian, it is my duty to tell others who either are gay/lesbian or support it that it is wrong - and tell them lovingly. I am not one to hate the person, I just can't stay quiet and let them destroy themselves while the world encourages them to do something that is contrary to what nature designed. You can call Bruce a woman, but that doesn't change his DNA; it is built into his very being that he is male. No amount of attempting to change his gender will change that.
Ibtissam Bazzine 7/7/2015
great... Everyone is entitled to education regardless of sex, ethnicity or religion....
Angry person 7/7/2015
Just plain idiotic. This will make it harder for others to get in school because homosexuals will get prefered treatment.
Logan M 7/7/2015
I support this in regards to bringing normalcy to all different types of people. However, I feel anytime you give people multiple choice questions about who they are you going to run into negative outcomes. By doing this you would be creating more separation and focusing on acceptance of individual groups instead of acceptance of people in general. So I have mixed emotions and do not feel this is the best approach.
Kenya j. 7/7/2015
It unique everyone should be equal and be proud who they are without being judge
M 7/7/2015
Can we also choose our own ethnicity now too?
Jennifer S. 7/7/2015
I am a proud woman at birth! God doesn't make a mistake, humans do. I have had over fifty operations and almost died more than a couple of times all surgeries can be harmful. We are not talking about that part of it what if HE had died? I am glad that HE didn't. I say HE because you can not change into what you want because God made you how you are.
AM 7/7/2015
I think that is absolutely beautiful that that's an option. Its so fantastic to see this. From a queer individual, thank you.
Brandon L 7/7/2015
Where is our world going to
Kimberly Hatchett 7/7/2015
I feel as a student which i am a female that dont support heterosexual or bi sexuality but i dont have anything against it either. I just wish we could all be treated equally.
Mollie P 7/7/2015
This is AMAZING! !!!!!! I an glad this is being introduced and hopes to expand in the future.
Stacie P. 7/7/2015
Bruce Jenner is a man. I am a natural born woman, he and I have nothing in common and are NOT the same.
Treena C. 7/7/2015
I've corrected some mistakes for your article; see the brackets and correct if possible. "Whether it’s [Caitlyn (nee Bruce)] Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining [her] journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which [allowed her to physically embrace her] womanhood. . ." Also, thank you for using the proper pronouns and terms for Ms. Cox. I'm very happy that the University of California is doing this, and I hope that other colleges and universities follow suit.
Jordan R 7/7/2015
This is beautiful!! It will help get rid of the word "normal" used to describe cisgender and heterosexual people, and will help to normalize other gender and sexual-orientation identities.
Annetta P 7/7/2015
Scholarship for school
Kanye K W 7/7/2015
Sorry Shae and Ph, at the time of the Diane Sawyer interview, Bruce and Diane refer to Bruce as Bruce, his as his, he as he, etc. The interview's transcript further references "Bruce lets his hair down", and upon Sawyer's asking Bruce, "Are you a woman", Bruce responds, "Yes, for all intents and purposes, I am a woman, he responds". Seems a simple YES might be sufficient, obviously Bruce feels further qualification is necessary. Does even Bruce know what Bruce is, how do you.
Tyajah cooper 7/7/2015
Breaze F 7/7/2015
Lemmor Kayl P. 7/7/2015
I am a male and straight, and it is not good to tease someone based on their sexual preference
Antoneshia Washington 7/7/2015
I think it's ok everyone is equal
Rose E 7/7/2015
I think this is an amazing idea and very revolutionary. Your school gets high marks from me and I think I'll apply to this school for college.
Gabriela R 7/7/2015
Shae H 7/7/2015
HER name is Caitlyn, not Bruce. And the correct pronouns are she/her. Also, the surgery did not induce womanhood. Not every trans person can afford a surgery. That doesn't make them any less of a woman/man.
ph 7/7/2015
Nice misgendering of Caitlyn and not even calling her by her name
Asia k 7/7/2015
great!!!!!!! finally everyone is equal
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