Gay Point Average addresses stereotypes

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October 29, 2010

12:11 AM

Getting A’s on tests is not the only way College of William and Mary students can raise their GPAs.

Shane Windmeyer evaluated the “Gay Point Average” of six College students last night at “What’s Your Gay Point Average?”

Windmeyer is the founder of both Lambda 10 and Campus Pride, which investigate and advocate against discrimination of LGBTQ students on college campuses, especially within Greek Life. Windmeyer has also co-authored several books, which narrate his and other students’ experiences of coming out, as well as discrimination.

Windmeyer sought to address LGBTQ stereotypes through the answers of straight students. Six straight students were called on stage from the audience and donned with feather boas. Each was asked four questions in order to calculate his or her Gay Point Average. The lowest Gay Point Average was 2.5 by incorrectly answering questions about common gay actors and actresses and the Kinsey Human Sexuality Scale.

Citing the frequent responses of actor Eric McCormack from the television show “Will and Grace” and talk show host Ellen Degeneres as two types of LGBTQ people that participants could recall, Windmeyer stressed that such people do not represent the diversity inherent in the LGBTQ community.

Other questions addressed the representative symbols of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer populations.

“I have seen straight people get better Gay Point Averages than actual GPAs,” Windmeyer said.

The six students on stage were able to redeem themselves by performing the most dramatic “Z-snap” for the audience. Three of the six students then received a 4.0 Gay Point Average.

Windmeyer frequently cited the research arm of his organization, called Campus Pride, in which 5,000 LGBTQ students from across the country were surveyed.

“It is surprising that we are in 2010 and 87 percent of colleges do not have institutionalized protection for the LGBTQ students, and that a full one-third of transgender students fear for their safety while at college,” Windmeyer said.

Windmeyer concluded his show by connecting the personal death of his father by a drunk driver with the recent suicides of LGBTQ students across the country.

“Deaths like this are senseless,” Windmeyer said. “I try to make sense out of them by creating activism. Gay people do not kill themselves because they are gay. They kill themselves because of the way society treats them for being gay.”

In celebration of November as LGBTQ History Month, the Center for Student Diversity, in collaboration with the Lambda Alliance decided in August to host Windmeyer’s show.

“[Windmeyer is] guiding higher education for both administrators and students to make the college campus more welcoming,” Margie Cook, assistant director for the College’s Center for Student Diversity, said.

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