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Iowa's pink locker rooms 'homophobic' and 'illegal,' says attorney

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Is the pink visitors locker room in Kinnick Stadium offensive to the LGBT community? One attorney says yes.


A Minnesota attorney claims that the University of Iowa's pink visitors locker room could open up the University to potential liability, according to The Gazette. Jill Gaulding, who is a former professor at Iowa, says that the use of pink in the locker room at Kinnick Stadium is "homophobic," and that as a public institution, Iowa could be vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit.

"I certainly do conclude that based on all the things that we’ve been talking about and what I understand are the civil rights laws that it’s actually illegal to have a pink locker room because it’s not OK for a public institution to potentially put out a message that people perceive to be based on a sexist or homophobic slur," she added. "It’s not OK for them to put up a banner that says it’s bad to be a girl. It’s not OK for them to build a pink locker room that conveys that same idea."

The locker room was painted pink in the 1980s when the Hawkeyes were coached by Hayden Fry, who claimed in his book that pink was a "passive" and "sissy" color.

LGBT issues have become a front and center topic in recent years. Just this past year, Ohio State stopped the use of purple jerseys in football practice due to potential sensitivity issues. When these issues become crossed with sports, especially football, opinion is sharply divided. Some would say that we've become too politically correct as a society, and that a pink locker room simply is not a big deal. The other side would say that this is another instance of discrimination, and that it implies being different from "the norm," especially in terms of sexuality, is a bad thing.

Personally, I understand and appreciate both sides of the argument. I'm not sure what the right answer is in this situation, but at some point Iowa has to deal with this.

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