Congressman makes false claims about LGBT minor

August 14, 2012



The human race has a long history of intolerance, directed in the past to Jews, women and African Americans, among others who have faced prejudices.


In this day and age, there is a new group under attack: lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).


The recent display of ignorance from one congressman, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, about LGBT impact on the economy has led to public backlash.


In Landry’s open letter to University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s president Joseph Savoie requesting the university drop its new minor in LGBT studies, Landry said, “it fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer.”


Landry’s letter went on, including factual and spelling errors. “Budgetary shortfalls have left higher education severely underfunded,” he said. “As such, we must effectively allocate these scare (sic) resources and give priority to those course (sic) and minors that provide demonstrable employment benefits.”


Landry is right about one thing: higher education has been left severely underfunded, but that is it.


Our resources do need to be used in a manner that is logical. One way we can logically use our limited funds in higher education would be providing opportunities for students to learn more about the LGBT community.


In a response penned by some of Tech’s own students and faculty, it was noted, “marketing research indicates that LGBT tourism within the United States was worth $65 million in 2010. Similar research found that New Orleans was one of the top 10 destinations for LGBT business and tourism, providing millions of dollars of revenue for both the city and the state.”


The same students and professors also included in their letter, “Research indicates that prejudices against this group costs businesses millions of dollars each year in lost revenue and productivity.”


Aside from the obvious tourism employment our state has to offer in New Orleans, it only makes sense that other businesses would want to hire people who are knowledgeable about the LGBT community too. Generally, businesses in support of the LGBT community or not, still want those people’s business.


In a letter from ULL President Savoie, he discredited the bulk of Landry’s argument.


“The development of this new minor did not require budgetary allocations or divert resources from other areas as it allows students to choose from a list of nearly 100 existing courses across several disciplines,” he said.


So the creation of the minor did not allocate any additional funds after all. Students were able to receive the minor after taking six classes that the university already offered.


Savoie also said, “Studies of human subgroups help prepare students for careers, such as counselors, personnel directors, teachers, social workers, criminal justice professionals, health care providers, managers and those involved in pastoral care.”


Not only those with direct ties to higher education are voicing their complaints about Landry’s request, but Landry’s brother posted an open letter to him on Facebook.


“I want to state my opposition publicly,” Nicholas Landry wrote, “Ignorance is not education. Your constituents, heterosexual and homosexual alike, have made huge inroads in working towards equality in our community. By embracing diversity and acknowledging our differences, we gain understanding. Understanding is education.”


One Response to Congressman makes false claims about LGBT minor

  1. Tim Burga Reply

    August 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    So the idiot brother becomes the politician… figures!

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