Letters to the Editor 9/13/1988

Letter to the Editor: Pink triangles ignite controversy with students: Student demands accountability

Published September 13, 1988

I want to know whether or not any action has been initiated on the part of this University to apprehend the group and/or individuals responsible for littering our campus with these pink triangles. They are everywhere, lurking, waiting ... most of them accompanied by a little epithet intended to explain the meaning of the eyesore to those free from the burden of already knowing. "Queer Pride." "Gay and Lesbian Pride." There are more I am sure, but it is rather obvious who is to blame for this evil.

To those who fail to see this campus-wide act of vandalism as reprehensible, I say consider the consequences: Who is going to clean up each and every one of those little triangles, and more importantly, who do you think is going to pay for it? That's right. You!

The University will probably swallow the costs (as well as its integrity) in the interest of trying to maintain its all-embracing human rights philosophy. But guess where the money's going to come from? Each and every one of the students at this University will have to indirectly subsidize the clean-up effort with money that ought go to things like facilities renovation, improved athletic programs and foodservice, not to mention hiring more instructors (or paying the ones we have already what they're worth).

So you see, these pink triangles are not as innocuous as their artists would have you believe. The students of this University have enough financial burden to shoulder without having to stomach unnecessary expenses such as these. The only solution is to let the blame fall where it belongs.

It is no mystery what group is behind this blatant act of vandalism. The University must hold the LGSU financially responsible for this unless they are willing to turn over the individual perpetrators. No one can tell me they don't know who they are either. If fraternities can be charged for similar activities, then so should any other University sanctioned and sponsored organization, the LGSU included.

Perhaps a more accurate caption for these glyphs would read: "Symbol of Subversive and Illegal Activities Endorsed by the Gay Community of CWRU," because that's what it is. If all they want to do is heighten public awareness their condition, why must they creep around in the night defacing University property in the name of their cause? I for one, will not pay my tuition until I know that those responsible for the damages have been held accountable.

Michael Cavotta, Undergraduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Classes promote awareness

Published September 13, 1988

Last week, several pink triangles appeared all over campus. It was readily obvious to me that no one knew what they meant, so I decided to chalk in the meaning of the symbol next to as many as I could find-the pink triangle, whether inverted or upright, symbolizes gay and lesbian pride. Soon afterwards, some homophobic individuals felt compelled to spray paint black slashes over these triangles. Why?

Such blatant homophobia warrants action. As a very concerned student, I strongly recommend that CWRU place more emphasis on education about homosexuality through classes, lectures, UCS programs and the like. Gays and lesbians are everywhere-they are your friends, your neighbors, your professors, your parents (yes, it happens), your siblings ... everyone!

Stereotypes are terribly demeaning and untrue, but as long as people hold these attitudes, they will treat "fags" and "dykes" and "queers" as just words rather than living, breathing human beings. The widespread ignorance about homosexuality is sickeningly hurtful. A gay and lesbian sensitivity training program may open many eyes, ears, hearts and minds. In an institute of higher learning, I am disheartened to see the lack of concern toward society's most diverse minority.

Shea M. Ramey, Undergraduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Homosexuals undermine own cause

Published September 13, 1988

Upon walking down Adelbert Road on Monday, September 9, I noticed the pink triangles accompanied by the sentence "Gay and Lesbian Pride" that had been painted over the weekend. Some may see the possibility to attack the gay community in these times of an increasingly visible and (rightly, I believe) respected homosexual community. Nonetheless, I feel a need in this case to do just that.

To be frank, my first reaction to the triangles and their statements was indignation. But gays and lesbians, being the politically correct group that they are, I kept my mouth shut and walked on.

Gays, just as so many other minorities, receive abdominal physical, mental, and socioeconomic abuse. While it would be ridiculous for me to declare myself unaffected by living in what is in many ways a prejudiced and discriminatory society, I truly believe that I have generally been tolerant and respectful of homosexuality.

I'm not claiming to be perfect or immune from prejudices, but am simply trying to show that I support and believe in the existence of homosexuality as a sexual and romantic orientation whose validity is no less than heterosexuality.

I cannot, however, respect or tolerate the implied superiority of a minority group's attitudes, no matter how easily it is to understand their aggressive backlash against a suppressive and cruel majority. It seems to me that such slogans "We're Queer, We're Here, Get Used to It," "Gay, That's All I have to Say," and the symbols on Adelbert's sidewalks seem more boastful than proud, suggesting, to me at least, that gays see their lifestyle as not equal, but superior. This would be as asinine a declaration as the ideas presented by gay bashers and white supremacists, and perhaps even more disheartening since it would mean that the victims of bigotry had become as the bigots themselves.

A more important issue is the animosity the symbols draw forth from many otherwise apathetic persons, possibly for the reason I have suggested. In assuming forms of self-declaration and expression that are almost militant, minorities succeed in enlightening no one, and often alienate and anger segments of the population that would otherwise be undecided or in agreement with their views. It feels as if "straight bashing" is becoming more popular than "fag-bashing," with the homophobia having become a ludicrously loaded gun. This is a tactic whose benefits I fail to see. Perhaps I'm cynical, but I wonder if the gay community isn't repeating so much of human history by itself undermining a homosexual/ heterosexual culture of mutual respect and acceptance.

Preston Williams, Undergraduate Student