Eric Hoover writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Last week the University of Iowa added an optional question to its application for undergraduate admission: “Do you identify with the LGBTQ Community?” The university has also given applicants a third gender option, allowing prospective undergrads and graduate students to identify themselves as “transgender” instead of “male” or “female.”
This is good move on the part of my university, and I foresee optional questions like this one – that are NOT used in evaluating admissions, but DO allow students to self-identify as a part of a minority group – becoming commonplace on other national universities’ applications.
It will allow the University’s various social services to better identify and assist those students who want to be recognized as LGBTQ students to receive desired social services.
Likewise, it affirms that there are, in fact, gay, transgender, and intersexual students in America, and recognizes them (again, should they desire to self-identify and be recognized) as equals along with their peers, all of whom possess diverse, personal characteristics including race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, pregnancy, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran.
I am very proud of my university for, among other things, leading the way with regard to issues of equality and student psychological health.