Education

University Of SF Professor Warns LGBT-Only Dorms Could ‘Backfire’ Because Of Bigots

A University of San Francisco professor warns that an LGBT-only dorm could “backfire,” but it’s not for the reason you think.

He claims that segregated spaces will make it easier for bigots to target residents with violence in LGBT-friendly San Francisco.

Writing for Inside Higher Ed, professor Richard Greggory Johnson, who teaches social equity at USF, says that LGBT-segregated dormitories can “heighten the risk of targeted violence or vandalism” against trans or queer-identifying students.

Johnson argues that students living in these dorms “would be forced to come out in a potentially very public way” every time they enter or leave the space. He states that if a transphobic person were looking for a transgender person to hurt, all they’d have to do is watch the front door to find potential targets.

“Segregation will only lead to more victimization,” he said. “It will not solve any problems.”

In an interview with Campus Reform, Johnson warned that “you never know who’s out there,” and that some individuals will “take any opportunity to provoke someone” into violence.

“I think that any time you have these self-segregated populations on campus it makes them a target for some people who may not be supportive of that community,” he said.

He added that “if I had an LGBT son or daughter, and they came to me with the idea of an LGBT village, I would have some great pause with that.”

In addition to his warnings against LGBT-segregated dorms, Johnson pointed out how race-segregated dorms shared the same risks. He highlighted a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis that was targeted with vandalism last year as an example, stating that these incidents may happen more often than the news covers.

“You have administrators that are hopping on board with this, but they don’t think of the consequences,” he said, adding that events and programming for minorities would be better—and that minority students could find their communities off-campus because they “have the entire city at their disposal.”

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.