That the University of Pennsylvania is adding a box on its application form students can use to indicate sexual orientation—and has asked the makers of the widely used “common application” to do the same—is nice, Gabriel Arana writes, but perhaps misguided. Schools and students alike would be better served by creating lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender services, and touting those services to applicants.
Sure, he writes for the American Prospect, checking a box will make some applicants feel more at ease, but many from conservative backgrounds might still not feel comfortable—and how many, at age 18, are comfortable with a gay identity anyway? “While gays and lesbians face a lot of the same active discrimination as racial minorities, they are not automatically at the same socioeconomic disadvantage as racial minorities tend to be,” Arana concludes. “And as long as identifying as gay carries negative consequences, checking the ‘gay’ box will say a lot more about you than just your sexual preference.”