OUTList Launch Celebration
Remarks by President Ronald J. Daniels
Armstrong Medical Education Building
October 11, 2011
[Introduction by Carl Streed, Jr.]
Thank you, Carl, for your introduction.
It’s a pleasure to be here with so many colleagues, students and friends to celebrate the Johns Hopkins OUTList. Kudos to Dr. Sarah Clever, Carl, and their colleagues, for stewarding this project from idea to internet launch.
I have to admit that when I first heard about the OUTList, I had a quick flash of anxiety.
Having lived through the culture wars of the 80s and 90s, I still have a visceral memory of a time when something called the “OUTList,” would immediately beg the question: “Whom are we outing?” And for a university administrator, this would be followed quickly by: “Do we need to call in the legal team and put communications on damage control alert?”
Today, our frame of reference has changed. The very name “OUTList” is a bold statement of reclamation. It is not a list of people exposed by others. Instead it reflects a community consciously choosing to become ever more visible to one another, to our wider community, and to our future students and colleagues.
Certainly, this semantic shift occurred thanks to some extraordinary successes in the ongoing fight for the equal rights of LGBT people.
In just the last six months, the third most populous state in the country passed Marriage Equality legislation.
The American military finally abandoned the onerous and unprincipled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
And Emmy hostess Jane Lynch explained her gay agenda to the nation, which included such paradigm-busting tasks as phoning Rachel Maddow to find out when spin class was happening.
But we are not naïve about the reality of the world in which we live.
Even with Ellen DeGeneres dominating American daytime television and jokes that mock the banality of a new “gay normal,” it’s clear that there is work yet to do.
We must work for a world in which LGBT youth will be safe from bullies, transgender couples will not have their health benefits denied, and same-sex marriage prohibitions are a thing of the past. The United States, so often held up as a beacon to others, sadly lags behind other Western nations in ensuring the rights of its LGBT citizens. The inexorable logic of equality demands that we catch up. For this is not a question of tolerance, but of civil rights. Period.
At Hopkins, we must continue to cultivate a university community that not only accepts, but actively advocates for all our LGBT faculty, staff and students as well as our patients.
Indeed, we must all work for a world in which the title “OUTList” has no meaning, because such a list has become unnecessary. As folks in Public Health like to say, if our efforts are successful, we are working to put ourselves out of a job.
Until that time arrives, I am proud of the considerable efforts made by so many members of our community in creating the OUTList. In its visibility, it illuminates the power of our LGBT community on campus. In its reach and potential for growth, it knits together our schools and divisions. By its very existence, it is a call to our entire university to redouble our efforts to make Hopkins an actively welcoming home to our LGBT community.
Looking ahead, I am excited to see momentum building across our campuses. The Bloomberg School is exploring the establishment of an LGBT health certificate program and supporting a connected research agenda. Our Diversity Leadership Council is investigating the creation of an institution-wide LGBT affinity group.
And the Johns Hopkins OUTList will foster further dialogue among our students, faculty and staff across our schools and beyond as we look forward to a world where any OUTList is, by definition, obsolete.
Thank you all for being a part of this great endeavor.