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Jan 20, 2013

Equality NC's Responds: Rush Limbaugh’s Anti-LGBT Rhetoric Targets Salem College Student

Salem College

Founded in 1772 by Moravians, Salem College is a four-year liberal-arts school for women. According to Salem student leaders, a coming transgender policy at Salem College will address a scenario in which a female student begins the process of gender transitioning a student at the College.

Conflicting reports about a male-identified transgender student who desires to remain at Winston-Salem’s all-female Salem College have drawn the attention of national media including Rush Limbaugh, who weighed in on the subject on January 14, in his typical, misinformed and inflammatory manner.

Limbaugh, who used erroneous information taken from a January 11, Winston-Salem Journal article that wrongly implied the undergraduate in question had undergone an operation “to complete his transition to a man,” told The Rush Limbaugh Show audience:

“An undergraduate student at a small women’s college in North Carolina –” As opposed to a large women’s college. This is a college in North Carolina for small women. An undergraduate student there “is seeking permission to stay at the school — and live on campus — after she undergoes gender reassignment surgery in February, which will finalize her transformation into a man.” There is at present an undergrad student at the small women’s college in North Carolina who is undergoing addadictomy procedures, and she is requesting to stay on campus after the gender reassignment surgery is complete in February.

The school is Salem College. Officials there “are now considering the thorny issue, reports the Winston-Salem Journal. Michelle Melton, Salem’s director of communications, would not identify the transgender student. She cited federal privacy laws, as well as the school’s confidentiality policies, according to the Journal.” There are more than 1,100 students. Eight hundred undergrads are all female, and only females are currently allowed to live on campus. Men who are at least 23 can participate in teacher education graduate programs and can take adult education courses, but they cannot live or be part of the undergrad campus. That’s what’s revolutionary here. The addadictomy babe wants to stay on campus.”

The Conservative publication The Daily Caller also weighed in with an offensive article whose URL misinformed its readership that a “student-at-historic-all-womens-college-wants-to-stay-at-school-after-adding-penis.”

“Equality NC condemns Limbaugh’s latest transphobic rhetoric targeting a North Carolina college student,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC. “Limbaugh has a history of disrespecting and dismissing anyone who doesn’t fit into his narrow world view. Refusing to refer to this student with the gender and pronouns with which he identifies himself is completely irresponsible, a point which the AP Style Guide made clear more than a decade ago. These types of comments are not only offensive and dehumanizing, they misinform the public and endanger the health and safety of some of our state’s most vulnerable young people.”

Rush Limbaugh can be contacted at:

Limbaugh’s comments, like those of the Winston-Salem Journal article, have also drawn harsh criticism from many Salem students and local online outlets.

In particular, Winston-Salem community blog Camel City Dispatch took issue with the Winston-Salem Journal piece for igniting “a firestorm of controversy,” saying:

“Limbaugh and the far-right Daily Caller stuck mostly to the ‘facts’ as laid out in the Journal piece. The story is out now; becoming a new meme for far-right gad-flies and grist for local media. Salem Students are now reacting on blogs, social networking sites, and in a story run by Fox 8. This fire may have been lit on the wrong campus.”

Founded in 1772 by Moravians, Salem College is a four-year liberal-arts school for women. It has enrollment of 1,100 students, including men who are 23 and older who take undergraduate courses at the Fleer Center for Adult Education.

According to Salem student leaders, a coming transgender policy at Salem College will address a scenario in which a female student begins the process of gender transitioning a student at the College.

Equality NC has pledged to make Salem a stop on the organization’s upcoming town hall tour, participating in talks with students and the surrounding community about transgender issues and education. To stay informed about this and other upcoming events, please sign up for our ONLINE ACTION NETWORK.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Camel City Dispatch: Salem College Student Falsely Targeted By Media

Media Matters: Rush Calls Gender Reassignment Surgery An "Add-A-Dick-To-Me"

Winston-Salem Journal: Salem College Transgender Student Wants To Stay On All-Female Campus As Man

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