First of all, if this is the best writing sample that has been produced by The Maroon Tiger, then I feel as though I’ve missed my calling as a journalist because I think I write better than that.
Secondly, and more to the issue of things I think Mr. Gaynor is speaking naively without placing himself in the shoes of a gay person living in a heterosexual world. The ultimate question raised for me is to what level of tolerance would YOU want if you were in their position?
Actually, my response ends with that question, but I have much more to say.
I think if I hadn’t attended an HBCU and hadn’t had the experiences that I had with gay people on campus, then perhaps I would have left my response as such, but since I did, I have some advice for some of my homosexual bretheren.
I remember when I was a freshman at Dillard University in New Orleans, that in addition to the general culture shock that is the State city of New Orleans and being away from the parents and what not, there was this added issue of the gay presence on campus. To be specific, there were four young males on campus, two of which took “out” to the next level. These group of men would go to Ashley Stewart, wear Bebe shirts and everything. Not to mention they called each other “bitch” all the time.
Now, because I had a female friend who was friends with them, I kind of got to know them on a less flamboyant level, but what I do remember was that they thrived off of attention–or at least that’s how it was interpreted to the rest of the campus. They thrived off of getting a rise from the heterosexual male population of the campus. These guys would put an extra flaunt in their step when they walked by a certain bunch of the alpha males in our freshman class. These guys would be super extra with talk of sex and other various encounters that they had. I remember vividly being in the lounge and one of them walking in with just boxer shorts and tank top t-shirt, and this was something that not even the heterosexual dudes of the dorm would do.
Oh did I mention one of them walked out of the shower down the hall naked?
Ohhhhh…yeah, I remember why, some of the straight dudes had taken their clothes while they were in the shower.
See, this whole issue is multi-layered and one straight-forward approach doesn’t apply. Whereas I fault the gay dudes on campus who knowingly raise the ire of idiotic and egotistical straight males, I still question the motives of the straight males who would take the clothes from someone who already threatened to walk up and down the hallway naked.
And who’s side does it help out that the rumors on campus were that the same straight dudes who ridiculed the gay guys on campus were the same ones who were knocking on their door at 2 and 3 in the morning?
Now, since this is my blog, I do have something to say about males wearing purses.
I think that’s more a matter of personal responsibility. Society isn’t really ready for that–yet. That would take a fundamental shift that I don’t see coming in the near future at all. I really don’t think the males on Morehouse’s campus, or any campus for that matter should lose any sleep over a fellow classmate wearing a purse to class–you’re there to learn. However, my concern is for the purse wearer. They live in a society that will force them to compromise: either be who you be and wear the purse or don’t wear the purse and stand a better chance of being accepted by larger society.
Of course an even deeper question would ask is wearing the purse being who you really be, or is just a tool to get attention?
I don’t know, I’ve never worn a purse, nor had the desire. Aside from being the man at the mall who was stuck going with his wife to Black Friday sales at Macy’s, I’ve never really held a purse. I’m sure the response to that is, why should gay males have to cater to and compromise their being just to fit in with larger society?
I don’t know. Pose that question to yourself.
It’s my understanding that one goes to college to prepare for the “real world” or whatever we want to call post-college life these days. The primary objective of college life is to successfully pass classes and that all other social interactions are secondary. In the midst of all of that, there is some sort of assimilation that takes place–reality is that homeboy with a grill in his mouth, tattoos on his neck and arms, jeans down to his ankles is probably not going to get the corporate job. HBCUs especially foster an atmosphere for him to dress how he wants to dress outside of the classroom, but once inside the classroom HBCU professors have a tendency to slip into Sunday school teacher mode or Church Deacon mode and tell the boy, “Son, pull ya pants up,” or if someone dressed like a goon walks in, they may actually take the time out to see them after class and ask them “Where do you expect to see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”
I pose the same question to these gay people that decide to wear purses and wear weaves: where do they see themselves in five to 10 years–let alone at the age of 40 or 50.
Oh remember the guy I was talking about who was prancing down the hallway naked–yeah, he’s dead now. One of four classmates that the Dillard class of 2006, the first post-Katrina class, has buried since 2005.
This is NOT me being anti-gay, but rather this is me being realistic. Sadly, life is not a utopia like Morehouse or even Atlanta for that matter. For those that can find their niche outside of the campus communities, that’s fine, don’t let anyone stop you. But, everytime someone sends me a clip of transsexuals or gay boys fighting on Youtube, my heart breaks because my ultimate question, and one I pose for everyone, is how are you being a productive member of society? No, this doesn’t have anything to do with have you made your family proud, or even your friends, but honestly, have you reached a plateau for your own existence or do you still have a ways to go in just being who you be?
Is being gay comparable to being black?
Well, let me clean that up a bit. I do believe that some people are born gay, and I think that some choose that way or become that way as a result of a plethora of life’s circumstances. I think how one chooses to carry themselves as a gay person is NOT comparable to being black. And of course that goes into how does one define being gay; is it the action itself? is it self-identification? or is it societal identification? My rubric is that if a gay person took it upon themselves to apply for a job, their interviewer doesn’t necessarily know that they are gay–all of that goes into how one decides to dress, comport themselves and how they speak; they’d see I’m black from the moment I walked through the door.
Or maybe from my name.
As far as the civil rights struggle and fighting for equal rights, I believe that there is much to be learned from the Modern Civil Rights struggle during the 60s that could be applicable to 2009, but it most certainly is a different world in which we live. We have a different set of rules by which successive generations operate from that was not the case in the 1960s. Not only are we more tolerant, we’re more accepting of different lifestyles, in fact we celebrate diversity on a level which has not seen before. But, to borrow the words of Attorney General Eric Holder, “we’re a nation of cowards” not just when it comes to race, but when it comes to sexuality as well.
I know it sounds like I’m all over the place with this, but it’s because I am, and I think that one should be in order to fully understand the breadth of the world in which we live. We live in a complex society and the simplicity of the structures we try and impose on it are falling bankrupt. Our previous norms and concepts of accepted living are changing and the inability for our various institutions such as educational facilities and various churches to keep up with the conversation is going to result in less tolerance from the majority society.
And let me address personally Mr. Gaynor, the author of this article “When Does Tolerance Go Too Far?” and by extension the editorial staff of The Maroon Tiger:
Clearly we have “hard work to do, and loads to lift” because the title alone of Gaynor’s article fails to understand the idea of tolerance in the first place. If tolerance were placed on a continuum, going farther would in face be acceptance. Many of us profess this Christian ideal of God and Jesus loving us all and accepting us all, but dammit, we’ve created our own mantra’s that get us around really practicing that such as “love the sinner and hate the sin.” And I be damned, if the authority of biblical scripture doesn’t get in the way of us fully accepting each other. We try and reconcile a biblical text that CLEARLY is irreconcilable because of it’s many authors and vastly different authorial intents.
Frankly, I’m borderline convinced that the Bible has solely prevented us from fully embracing what is humanly natural to accept, not just tolerate, all humans. But the “us vs. them” dichotomy as outlined in the biblical record has a stronghold on most mindsets.
Granted Gaynor didn’t go into the politics and religious aspects surrounding this controversy, I think his article proved to be homophobic and naive. Seriously, what Atlanta world is he living in? He writes “Is it fair for a straight male to come to an institution where he is forced to live in an environment that makes him feel uncomfortable?” To which I say, for the nearly $40K that’s being paid for tuition and other expenses, there are thousands of other schools in the country from which to send one’s money to, if you don’t feel comfortable, then disenroll and go elsewhere.
Not to mention, an anonymous source has let UNN know that the author of this article is rumored to not necessarily be straight himself.
Okay, that was messy as hell, forgive me, but if I can be totally honest I almost picked that up from the little picture they had in the article.
I hope I didn’t come off as some intolerant, narrow-minded bigot just because I really believe that some of these gay boys on campus purposely incite the ire of the straight boys and I think that concerning this issue, this is a real issue and needs to be told.
Okay, after all of that, what I want you the reader to walk away with is this: if the shoe was on the other foot, just how far would you want tolerance to go?
Alright, leave your comments down below. Keep them cool and not just completely dogging folk out. This is a touchy subject for some, and I want to try and keep this a hate free zone as much as possible. Failure to do so may result in your comment not being posted or summarily removed.
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL