1988: Focus on Homosexuality

Forum: A Gay Perspective

On October 21, 1988 The Observer published a multi-page "Focus" section on homosexuality.

By Greg Davis, published October 21, 1988

CWRU effectively utilizes its resources to attract capable students and train them in specific academic disciplines. The University does not, however, in any programmatic way induce its students to explore its remarkable human diversity.

We have access to many different religions, races, regions, cultures, and lifestyles which will remain mysteries because our curiosity is not deep enough or our prejudices arc too steep, It is a common theme that minority student groups are not penetrated enough by majority students and other-minority students: Few white students attend Afro-American meetings; few straight students come to LGSU meetings. Clearly it is important for minority students to meet together exclusively, but as clear are the consequences of persistent ignorance and prejudice.

The ignorance and prejudice toward gay people on this campus is striking in its pervasiveness. Not only are students here content to remain ignorant about homosexuality, but they don't mind wielding their prejudice like a weapon against gays as a group, or any man who doesn't achieve some undefined and arbitrary level of "masculinity," or any woman who is insufficiently "feminine."

One consequence of applying these stereotypes is that a small fraction of people who conform to them are persecuted while the vast majority of gay people - who do not conform to them - are free from being labeled "fags," "homos," "dykes," etc., and do not incur the same persecution and discrimination.

The gay population which does not conform to stereotypes is invisible, and is among us. They are your siblings, professors, doctors, classmates, bosses,; roommates, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, etc. The reason, you don't know they are gay' is' that they do not want to risk the pain of rejection and the stigma they believe will accompany disclosure. Gay people, like all people, do not want to be discriminated against. They don't want the people they interact with to apply to them fallacious concepts of what it is to be homosexual.

Gay peoples' fears and others' prejudices lock them in the closet. Their friends and families don't know because trust stops where issues of their sexuality begin. Worst of' all, when gay people pretend to be straight, they forfeit their power to destroy myths about homosexuality, and so these myths persist and, turn back on them.

At some point in their lives, gay people must find the courage too come out. Where will they find it? They will find it in the pursuit of justice if they claim their right to be who they are. They will find it within themselves. They will find it most quickly with the support of their friends and the institutions they believe in.

Throughout your life you have had and will continue to have personal relationships with gay men and lesbians. Don't be handicapped by ignorance and prejudice. You have the ability to be rational' and supportive develop it. Keep an eye out for lectures and discussions sponsored by the Lesbian and Gay Student Union (LGSU). Don't indulge your, knee-jerk reaction to homosexuality; don't perpetuate attitudes which divide, gay and straight. Take advantage of opportunities to understand.