It’s time we get real. And by real I don’t just mean posting problems to FandM Confessions. No, it’s time we get real about the LGBT community on campus.
Multiple posts on the Confessions Facebook page have attacked not only the LGBT community but also specific individuals involved with LGBTA. Please don’t blame the gay community for “not doing anything.” It’s hard to be a club on campus that works towards change when the result of the club’s work is largely dependent on the rest of the community.
The change LGBTA works towards isn’t just an F&M problem; it’s an international one. As the Supreme Court makes decisions regarding the gay community, we, too, need to make decisions about how we will treat our LGBT community. Let’s take it step by step.
First, don’t force anyone out of the closet. As we’ve seen on FandM Confessions, many students are scared shitless of coming out on this campus and in general. We need to provide a supportive environment in which people can be comfortable with coming out. If we force people out, we only create a harsher environment for those individuals. Coming out is a process; some do it quickly while others need more time.
Second, don’t target those who are trying to create positive change. Multiple individuals on this campus are committed to making F&M a safer environment for everyone, regardless of his or her sexuality. These students and faculty members are the ones who have stood by people, the ones who have said it’s okay to be who you are. Plus, without student leaders in LGBTA, we would never have the beloved Gender Bender Ball.
As we point fingers at students and faculty members who try to help, we are only further complicating the situation.
It’s perfectly fine to dislike an individual; but it’s not acceptable to blame them when they are trying to help. We have magnificent, supportive peers on this campus. LGBT or ally, they will listen. I will listen.
Third, accept the fact that people have different sexualities than you. Many of the opinions expressed both on the FandM Confessions page and across campus are clear examples of homophobia, or just phobia of the unknown. I’m not telling you to like someone’s sexuality; I’m asking you not to question it or act in hateful ways towardshim or her because of it.
Questioning and judging a person based on his or her sexuality is absurd. It’s nothing they can control. More importantly — and I’m sad I have to write this — people are people and deserve to be treated as such, regardless of their orientations. It is both ignorant and unacceptable to belittle, accuse, or bash someone because of his or her orientation.
Finally, my last plea to the campus is to be supportive. Support the fact that members of LGBTA are trying to foster a better environment for everyone on this campus. Support the work that LGBTA does. Go to a discussion; find out who they really are. Your concept of them may well be wrong. You won’t know until you meet them.
It’s not that FandM Confessions is a horrible page that nobody should follow. Rather, we should use the page as a forum to discuss issues like LGBT campus climate as opposed to simply attacking those involved. To judge people who post or to attack specific individuals goes completely against the point of FandM Confessions: to have a space where people feel able to talk about who they are. The page has given people a chance to declare who they really are, and we shouldn’t deny them that opportunity.
Additionally, I think it’s time to commend the admin(s) of the page. He or she is posting almost all confessions received without censoring them.
As we comment on these posts, let’s try to be thoughtful. Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t mean you need to be rude about it. Some of these comments have made people even more enraged than the confession itself.
Stand up, F&M. Regardless of whether you believe in LGBT rights or not, stand up and support the right of all people to be treated decently.
Allow people to feel free to walk across campus without fear of hearing homophobic slurs, or of being confronted simply because they are “different.” Try to at least be respectful, if not welcoming, to everyone. Don’t judge a book by its cover and maybe, just maybe, our campus will be a more accepting and open place. After all, we’re only as open as we allow ourselves to be.
Questions? Email Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org.