Imagine having to go through something as heartbreaking as an abortion or having to struggle with bullying based on your sexual orientation. These are challenging personal struggles and to be brave enough to go to a counselor for help is something to be applauded for. You finally muster up the courage to go to student services, when the counselor refuses to help you because they don’t believe being LGBT is moral, or they don’t believe the right to choose is moral. That’s another devastating blow.
Now imagine, if you’re one of these people and your counselor holds these personal prejudices and chooses to offer their “words of wisdom”. A good friend of mine is transgender (he is male-brained and female bodied) and didn’t know this until he was in his mid-twenties. As a college student he struggled with these feelings and their morality, having grown up in a very Christian household. When he sought counseling, his therapist convinced him to live as a straight woman instead of encouraging him to accept who he is.
There’s enough shame our society already imposes on being LGBT or pro-choice, if the person you go to for advice and comfort reinforces those negative stigmas that can really (for lack of a better word) mess with someone’s mind!
So even though I think the policy disguises what really is discrimination as religious morality, I do have to wonder are the girls and guys who get turned away better off? The counselors who deny students must refer them to another counselor who is willing to help.
Everyone has their personal biases. This is a simple reality of being an American. In my opinion it’s what makes this country awesome. I can walk into any coffee shop, mall, or classroom and be surrounded by all different kinds of people, with all different kinds of views, including ones that oppose mine. Even the ones I think are immoral, like bigotry, are protected by the law. However, when we start making laws based on bigotry it becomes extremely difficult for everyone’s views and lifestyles to be protected.
When you give people free license to discriminate based on their personal beliefs you’re inevitably alienating somebody else’s personal beliefs. While I would rather have LGBT students and pro-choice women have open-minded counselors to lead them on a more healthy path, this policy completely feels ick.
I think the real solution would be to NOT hire counselors who have extreme biases. How can you help anyone when you’re not open-minded enough to be empathetic?
When I wrote about Obama declaring his support of same-sex marriage here on Gurl I was so excited to read comments that agreed, but I was even more stoked to read comments from girls like Heather who said, “I don’t agree with same sex marriage, but I also feel it should be legal, who are we to say who has a right to love and who doesn’t?”
Do I completely agree with these girls’ views? No. But it truly warms my heart to see that they can draw the line between personal beliefs and social injustices. That takes real brave and thoughtful thinking. Maybe Michigan needs to spend some time on the My Gurl boards–they might learn something.
Do you think the policy is fair? Do you think there is a better solution? Let us know what you think in the comments!