The UK group Stonewall developed the simple and powerful ad at left for their “Education for All” campaign that addresses homophobia and bullying in secondary schools. (Stonewall makes the poster available for download here.)
Stonewall has undertaken an important project. It is one that law schools would do well to support, too. Homophobia exists everywhere, even at higher educational institutions that have a reputation for being “liberal” or “diverse” or both.
Some schools will not permit the formation of LGBT student groups.
At schools where there is an LGBT student group, some students don’t want to be on the group’s email list for fear of being harassed by classmates.
At schools where LGBT students are active, there may be no openly gay faculty members.
At schools where there are openly gay faculty members, one may hear comments mumbled in hallways that LGBT faculty candidates aren’t “diversity” candidates because “we already have [one of] [two of] [three of] those professors here.”
This last comment confuses me. On the one hand, if we took seriously the mandate, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” then it should not matter whether a faculty candidate is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, heterosexual, white, black, Asian, Native American, Latino, mixed-race, male, female, liberal, conservative, working class, a product of privilege, feminist, not-feminist or [adjective of choice]. On the other hand, I am not sure that we should be so eager to say that these self-identifications and socially-imposed identifications are entirely irrelevant.
A conundrum lies here: If saying “we already have enough” of X type of professor is tokenism, then why is saying “we don’t have enough” of X type of professor open-minded? Are both questions forms of tokenism that expect a faculty candidate or faculty member who identifies (or is identified) as X to have or represent certain viewpoints and experiences that he or she may (or may not) have?