Statement on Sexual Identity
The Wheaton College community has long held, and continues to hold the position that basic rights, including the right to one's own sexual identity, must and will be extended to all members of the community. The issue for the College is not that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are part of the community, but rather that they may choose to become a visible and vocal part of the community. Sexual identity is a private matter and not an issue unless other people make it one. Acting upon this position involves eradicating certain misconceptions as well as espousing certain assertions.
First, the Wheaton community and those concerned with its welfare must not confuse the demands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for their human rights with proselytizing and sexual aggression. The College has a responsibility to protect students from all forms of sexual aggression, both heterosexual and homosexual; it also has a responsibility to respond positively when members of the community request to participate fully and openly in the life of the community.
Second, requests that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people be recognized as complete human beings cannot be equated with advocacy that everyone should be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The confusion of these two very different ideas often leads to an unnecessary defensiveness on the part of the heterosexuals.
Third, the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff, faculty, and students also raises the important issues of role modeling and professional competence. Role modeling and professional competence are not affected by sexual identity any more than they are by any other personal characteristic such as race, gender, or level of physical ability. Rather, the chance for students to get to know adults who are handling difficult jobs effectively and fairly, as well as other students like themselves, can be an important part of the educational process.
Fourth, the College asserts that a person's sexual identity should not be a criterion in employment decisions; rather, demonstrated competence must be the major criterion.
Fifth, the College further asserts that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and staff are entitled to an environment which is not oppressive. Harassment based on sexual identity is not acceptable and will be addressed through appropriate administrative action as well as educational programming.
The College's support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and staff reflects its belief that Wheaton must accept and integrate the world's diverse population into its educational community in ways that are responsible both to the College and the world.