To the Editor: A Response to the Gender and Sexuality Issue
by Richard Taylor | published May. 5th, 2014
<span>RIT has every reason to try to ensure that many people return to Imagine RIT each year. Not only does the festival provide a great opportunity for attracting new students, improving the view of the school within the public eye, and simply showcasing many of the amazing things that students do on this campus, but it also provides thousands of people with an enjoyable and interesting Saturday. With this in mind, I think that blocking full circulation of Reporter until after the festival was not only a smart decision, but it was also perfectly within the rights of the institute.
First of all, it is almost beyond doubt that with many thousands of people from all walks of life coming to the festival, some of those who picked up your newspaper would have been offended by what they had read. This always has some potential to cause public outcry. What is worse is that it is unlikely that Reporter would have been the organization to have received heat from the community. RIT would almost certainly have been blamed for the views expressed and circulated within the publication. Not only would the outcry have been provided by those who were offended by the issues being discussed, but by any parents who would not want their children seeing the large images of adult genitalia which are displayed on pages 24 and 25 of your publication. This would have mired what has always been an exciting, happy, and popular festival in unneeded controversy. The publication was still being distributed at the festival to those who wanted them and were of an appropriate age, the publication will still receive its normal distribution, and the content of the publication was not censored in any way. I see RIT's actions as both permissible and wise. What a private institution decides to allow for publication on its own grounds, and what this institutions classifies as "profanity" is entirely up to the institution. The decision not to fully circulate the magazine until after the festival allowed for the education desired by the publication while still seriously reducing any possible controversy.
I am not endorsing any sort of intolerance by groups who may have a narrow conception of sexuality and gender. I agree not only that gender identity needs serious reconsideration in this country, but also that a reconsideration of personal identity in general is required, gender being but one part of the larger conversation. However, in order to consistently support the right of individuals to express their gender and sexuality in the way that they see fit, I must also support the right of a private institution to avoid what it sees as unneeded controversy. In future I invite Reporter or any other group or institution which wants to educate the public on these topics to start up a booth on the subject. I am certain that RIT will not object.