My oldest son graduated from high school this summer and is now pursuing a career as a filmmaker. It was a proud moment for him, and for me his mom, when he won second place in a local filmmaking competition for his very first documentary. Of course, I would have loved his documentary even if the subject was about something I know nothing about like Dubstep. Okay, so someone please tell how this is any better than music from the 80’s? But I digress here.
His film is actually about a topic I know a little something about as a queer mom who has questioned my sexual identity in the not too distant past. And it’s also, at the same time, about something I really know very little about too, because I have never questioned my gender. His film “Other” is about a very important topic for a lot of teens at his school. It is about gender and how kids are choosing to identify. It’s about challenging stereotypes. It’s about education. And mostly it’s about diversity. (And as soon as he gets it back online again, I’ll link it here.)
And speaking of diversity, there are a few things I think are worth repeating about MIT. Things that make it such a great place to work and be a student.
1. MIT is very diverse -with no majority ethnicity for one- and the Institute really believes in a person’s freedom of self-expression. Anyone who is taking part in REX right now can probably feel it.
2. And MIT has a non-discrimination policy that is worth taking a look at it. Here’s the statement.
But I think one of the best things about MIT is that we are not part of the common application, which means we get to consider changes and additions to questions we include on our application completely independent of all the other common app schools and their particular needs. Right now, a small liberal arts college in Illinois is paving the way for what will soon be something for more Admissions offices to consider. Way to go Elmhurst!
I think it’s about time that there are questions about sexual identity and gender identity on college applications and it’s my personal hope that MIT won’t be far behind in including these as well. I echo the sentiments of a commenter on the Elmhurst article who writes:
“The question doesn’t give them an advantage over other students, nor would it disqualify them from anything. It is what it appears to be: an optional self-identifier. No smoke or mirrors, no secret agenda, no harm. The application is in a section that states that Elmhurst College is committed to diversity and that if people choose to self-identify with any of a number of questions, they would like to help connect students with resources on campus… “
And when it comes to resources on campus, MIT has the rainbow lounge, where I will be this week welcoming members of the freshman class at a couple of orientation events. And MIT also has this really wonderful website that is full of educational resources about transgender issues. Check it out.
This a wonderful institution in so many ways and no matter how you choose to identify, just remember:
You are welcome here.