Today Athlete Ally announces the organization has signed onto a national letter to the Common Application requesting the addition of optional demographic questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation to its standard form. Athlete Ally joins 24 other national education, LGBT and youth advocacy organizations in the formal request issued today. A full copy of the letter is available online at www.campuspride.org/commonapp.
The Common Application form evaluates prospective students for admission at over 500 colleges, universities and other organizations in 47 states and the District of Columbia and internationally. A growing number of colleges and universities are asking students their gender identity and sexual orientation on admissions forms, either by having questions on their own application materials or by adding supplemental questions to their Common Application.
Institutions with gender identity and sexual orientation identity questions on their applications include Duke University, Elmhurst College, Elon University, MIT, Northeastern Illinois University, the Ohio State University, Purdue University, the University of Iowa, the University of Maryland, Connecticut College, the University of California system and all two-year colleges in California and Washington. A full list with detailed descriptions of the questions used is available online at CampusPride.org/TPC.
Athlete Ally, alongside its national partners, believes it is paramount for the Common Application to add gender identity and sexual orientation questions as an option on the standard form. By better knowing the students who use the Common Application, it allows the colleges and universities to take responsibility for all students’ academic success, their recruitment and retention. It also places a higher value on safe, inclusive campus climates, diversity and a respect of the various identities that intersect making each student unique and more representative of how they experience the classroom and the whole campus climate.
The letter proposes that the questions on gender identity and sexual orientation be optional, so that LGBT students who are not living openly or not comfortable disclosing do not have to do so. Colleges and universities are seeking to track the numbers of openly LGBT students applying, being accepted and enrolling in their institutions. This accountability help administrators to understand academic success, retention and graduation rates of LGBT students.
Athlete Ally’s mission is to educate and activate athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports and to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT equality. Founded in 2012, Athlete Ally has worked with the NBA, WNBA, and MLB on matters of respect and inclusion; led the Principle 6 campaign that convinced the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter; and counts more than 100 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors.