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by Roberta Spalter-Roth, ASA Research Department, and Jean H. Shin, ASA Minority Affairs Program
At its February meeting, ASA Council voted to amend the ASA Diversity Statement—first approved in August 1995—by including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. This action came in conjunction with Council’s earlier review and approval of the 2009 final report of the ASA Status Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Persons in Sociology (GLBT), chaired by Betsy Lucal, Indiana University-South Bend.
The original 1995 Diversity Statement was one of principle that also affirmed the importance of diversity to the vitality of the Association and was intended to guide the work of the Committee on Committees, Committee on Nominations, and the Council members-at-large in selecting candidates for elected office. However, the statement did not include a specific mention of gays, lesbians, bisexual, or transgendered individuals.
The new Diversity Statement, unanimously voted for by Council, reads:
Much of the vitality of ASA flows from its diverse membership. With this in mind, it is the policy of the ASA to include people of color, women, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, sociologists from smaller institutions or who work in government, business, or other applied settings, and international scholars in all of its programmatic activities and in the business of the Association.
According to ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman, the importance of the amended Diversity Statement is to "confirm that attending to diversity and inclusiveness, including GLBT persons and scholarship, is a normal part of all ASA activities, ranging from the administration of the Executive Office in Washington, DC, and the ASA programs it oversees, to the Annual Meeting, governance activities including all elections, and the work of sections, task forces, and committees whether standing or temporary."
In its 2009 report to Council, the Status Committee on GLBT Persons in the Discipline contained a series of recommendations. Council believes that many of these are covered by its amendment to the ASA Diversity Statement (Click here to view the entire report). Some of these recommendations include:
Council approved a related motion also recommended by the GLBT Status Committee report regarding the location of ASA meetings.
In locating its future meetings, ASA presumes that states or cities with legal restrictions on rights afforded recognized same-sex unions and partnerships create an unwelcoming environment for our members in locations where we might meet. We would notify authorities at all levels that these conditions make it difficult for us to site our meetings in these locations. ASA would closely examine practices on a case-by-case basis in such locations to assess whether demonstrated positive local practices or other Association goals warrant holding our conferences there.
Hillsman also reported to Council that the Executive Office will require job postings in the ASA Job Bank to include whether the employing institution provides domestic partnership benefits to same-sex partners and/or whether the university includes sexual orientation and gender/identity in its non-discrimination policy. This will be implemented when the Job Bank is redesigned
in the near future.