- The Washington Times - Friday, April 29, 2016

The LGBT community has been fighting a decades-long culture war to be included in the fabrics of American society — and it’s winning.

Yet when it comes to their graduation ceremonies, it seems they’d prefer exclusivity.

More than 100 colleges and universities this spring will be holding separate graduation ceremonies for the LGBTQ population and their allies, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). This includes Georgetown University, Duke University, Harvard University and Boston College, among others.

The graduation ceremony is called the “Lavender Graduation,” signifying “pink triange that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triange designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany,” according to HRC.

The special ceremony was started in 1995 at the University of Michigan by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish lesbian, who said she was denied attendance at her children’s graduation because of her sexual orientation.

“These events provide a sense of community for minority students who often experience tremendous culture shock at their impersonalized institutions,” HRC says on its website, explaining the need for such ceremonies. “For many students they are the payoff for staying in school, and friends and families find the smaller, more ethnic ceremonies both meaningful and personal.”

They deem it a “cultural celebration,” that “recognizes LGBT students of all races and ethnicities” it acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the university as students who “survived the college experience.”

I clearly don’t understand what it’s like to be gay on a liberal college campus.

At the University of Missouri, its Lavender Graduation resembles its other graduation ceremonies, where students receive lavender cords and walk across a stage and there’s a commencement speaker, according to conservative watchdog Campus Reform.

Graduation ceremonies on college campuses are meant to bring everyone together under one tent — the science majors, the jocks, the mathematicians, the sorority girls. Yes, perhaps none hung out on a daily basis (or even like each other), but each graduated from the same school, passed its academic rigors and are now part of the same alumni network. Graduation ceremonies are meant to unite.

Holding a separate ceremony, with only one’s friends, undermines this tradition and lacks the appreciation of how progressive American culture has become. Instead of uniting, it exaggerates the divisions among us.

And for a community that has fought for inclusion and equal rights — whether it be in marriage, adoption or the workplace — it doesn’t strike me as cogent they’d want to be excluded on graduation day.

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