North Carolina’s favorite conservative columnist, Wilmington’s Mike Adams, brought back some fond memories of my days at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) today.
In his most recent column at TownHall.com, Adams rants and raves in his usual sarcastic, smart-ass-style against UNCG’s Speech and Hearing Center’s courses for transgender people undergoing transition. He brought back one of his trademark digs. Welcome to the return of “UNC-Gomorrah.”
Adams first used the term, to my knowledge, way back in 2004, as I was entering UNCG as a freshman. The debates and controversies then, both on campus and off (and largely ignited by Adams and others in his camp of conservative ilk) focused mainly on several topics: Funding of UNCG LGBT student organizations, inclusion of content in the student newspaper Adams deemed unseemly, the hire of a registered sex offender on campus (and further attacks on UNCG’s LGBT student community) and later First Amendment issues (I actually agreed, quite strongly, with Adams on several of his First Amendment/Free Speech controversies and arguments).
Adams writes most recently:
So what was Nicole to do in order to find a “solution” to the “problem” of people correctly identifying his actual God-given gender? Well, even though he’s not an obese black woman (see my last column for details), he found a “solution” to the “problem” at UNCG, which ought to stand for the University of North Carolina at Gomorrah.
Despite the deep budget crisis, North Carolina taxpayers pay UNCG speech pathologists to teach transgender people how to speak like the people of the sex they are trying unsuccessfully to become. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t. We’re talking about UNC-Gomorrah.
I’ll give it to Adams. In channeling his inner Jesse Helms (Chapel Hill is a “zoo” remember?), Adams makes the best use out of his turn of phrase. UNC-Gomorrah? Really? No. Unless things have changed in the last three-to-four years, the truth is that UNCG is far from being anything closely resembling “Gomorrah.” However LGBT-friendly the school’s administrators and student community might be, that acceptance and welcome only travels so far. To wit, UNCG’s road to LGBT inclusion dead ends at real, practical and substantive issues of policy and practice.
Unlike several other UNC System campuses (including Chapel Hill, N.C. State and UNC-Charlotte), UNCG has no LGBT center, no dedicated student life staff for LGBT student activities and no overtly university administration-sponsored or -sanctioned LGBT events or other activities. In fact, I can think of only two university-associated bodies other than the Speech and Hearing Center that regularly offer or sponsor LGBT-inclusive or -related events.
So, while Adams’ years-old moniker for UNCG might be funny to him and his readers, it doesn’t reflect reality.