By Rebecca Siegel
April __, 2002
I am writing in response to Tuesday’s Turnstile “Free speech needed by all.” I fully believe the author of the letter has the right to his opinions. However, I feel he should know what he is talking about before he shares his opinions with others.
The slogan “Sodomize, don’t apologize” is not hateful speech in any way, shape or form. It simply is a statement that homosexuals should not have to apologize for who they are. It is saying who you are is OK, and you should not feel ashamed and forced to apologize.
I personally know the woman who was assaulted on this campus during the first few weeks of Winter Quarter. How was she supposed to give the police a description of the men who attacked her if she was pushed from behind and kicked and beaten while lying face down in the mud? As far as evidence of it being a hate crime, wouldn’t you consider her being followed from a dance sponsored by Open Doors and then, while being beaten, being called a “dyke” and a “dirty cunt” a hate crime? It is obvious to those who know the full facts it was a hate crime. I think before you accuse a group of exaggerating an attack, you should attempt to learn all the facts.
The demands being put forth to the university are not from the “gay/lesbian community.” They are from a large group of concerned students of all sexual orientations. These demands are not just a “gay/lesbian” thing – they are something a lot of people are concerned with. While LGBT students are helping decide what demands to make of the university, it is not only LGBT students.
The idea of LGBT-friendly floors was discussed in great detail in several meetings. The points brought up that show it is not segregation are: 1) It would not be mandatory for all LGBT persons to live on these floors and 2) The floors would not just be for LGBT students. The LGBT-friendly floors would be a living option for anyone who identifies as LGBT, as well as those wonderful people who are so important to the LGBT community – its allies.
The classes being proposed are not “gay lifestyle classes.” They are diversity classes. The idea of these classes is not to teach “the gay/lesbian lifestyle,” it is to teach diversity.
Meanwhile, what the author calls “gay/lesbian sensitivity classes for new students,” in reality have almost nothing to do with LGBT people. Those classes, which might be something proposed to add to Pre-college Orientation, would be focused on sexual assault prevention. They would teach all new students, men and women, about sexual assault – the legal definition of sexual assault, statistics for this and other campuses, and ways to help prevent sexual assault.
As for Take Back the Night, I feel men should be allowed to march, but I could not attend the meeting where it was decided they would not be included in this year’s march. And just a side note: Take Back the Night is not a “gay/lesbian” thing – it is for sexual assault survivors. As I see it, it is unfortunate men who have been assaulted sexually cannot march, but for now it is a women’s march.
The LGBT community on this campus certainly is far from being treated as a majority, and that is not what we strive for anyway. All I am asking, and I think others in the LGBT community would agree, is that I am treated as an equal – not a majority, not a minority.
Everyone on this campus is entitled to his/her opinions, unless those opinions are expressed as threatening messages. The wall technically can be painted with the most hateful, homophobic messages someone wants, as long as the messages don’t include threats toward specific individuals or groups of people (as was the case recently). The university legally would not be allowed to paint over those messages. I am not saying a student group on this campus would not paint over them, but the university would not.
I do not know any heterosexual people people who are afraid to express their opinions to me, as far as I know. Not all opinions that differ from those of LGBT people are homophobic. I think that if LGBT people, and not just “gay/lesbian people,” stop fighting for the right to be accepted, life never will be easier for them here at OU. It might be easier for others here on this campus because they would not have to hear the “gay pride shit” anymore, but it will not in any way be easier for LGBT people.
The only way life on this campus will be easier for LGBT people is if people stop beating up people because they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, if people stop making remarks such as “That is so gay, and “You are such a fag,” and of people stop discriminating against other people just because they love differently.