Education

Complaint filed over college’s use of ‘queer’ as a gender choice on job application

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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A job application listing “queer” as one of the gender choices for applicants prompted a Pennsylvania man to file a complaint with Colorado’s attorney general.

John Kichi, who is gay, told the Denver Post, “I thought I was going to have a stroke” when he noticed the choice while applying for a job at Colorado College.

Applicants can volunteer to give demographic information, including one of five gender designations, “not disclosed,” “male,” “female,” “transgender” or “queer.”

“It’s totally from the Dark Ages,” Kichi told the Post, adding that he considers the word to be a slur.

But Colorado College — a private liberal arts school located in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs — defended the designation as an example of the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

“I’m proud to work for a school that doesn’t just talk the talk, we walk it, too,” director of human resources Barbara Wilson told the paper. “In the midst of the volume of conservatism in this city, we’re almost a safe haven.”

The school casts a wide net to be inclusive of people of every gender designation possible, using the unwieldy acronym LGBTQIA on its website (it stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual).

“Queer” is defined by the school as “An umbrella term describing people who have a non-normative gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual anatomy — includes lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, asexual people, transgender people, intersex people, etc.”

But for people like Kichi, who is 66, use of the term is offensive and he’s asked Attorney General John Suthers to investigate its use on Colorado College’s job application. He told the Post that he has lost jobs and homes because of his sexual orientation.

“If them including it on applications isn’t against the law, it should be,” he said.

Others who were quoted in the article, however, have no problem with the term and suggest Kichi’s age might be a factor in his reaction.

Charles Irwin, the executive director of Colorado Springs Pride, a gay rights organization in the city, said that Kichi’s age may be the reason behind the differing viewpoints.

“Queer is a challenging word, a word that’s in transition,” Charles Irwin, the executive director of Colorado Springs Pride, told the paper. “But today’s youth embraces it very well.”

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