My freshman year in college, I lived in the dorms. My roommate was in the art program, and we had our share of antics (namely, we regularly asphyxiated ourselves making chairs out of popcorn or some other shizz) and were no strangers to the local hospital. Anyway, we were outcasts in a building that had mostly sorority girls, and I didn’t care – in fact, I thought it was better to lay low and stay out of the catty trouble. Anyway, we had a LESBIAN living across the hall, and though we didn’t talk to her much (we didn’t talk to anyone) we saw her in the communal bathroom, were pleasant, and generally treated her like a neighbor who hopefully didn’t know that we occasionally had a pin joint up on the off-limits roof – and anyway, I am absolutely certain she didn’t want anything to do with us. One day upon returning to the dorm, I caught some girls ripping LGBT tolerance and pride signs off the halls of our dorm, crumpling them and throwing them in the hallways. Well, despite my strong desire for dorm anonymity, and a little worried that bringing attention to the situation might cause our neighbor some grief, I wrote the following open letter and posted it in the bathroom:
I noticed today that many of the signs that celebrate the tolerance of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals were missing from our floor. I have witnessed people taking them down, and I’ve heard people talking about them. I cannot tolerate this behavior. We are all women, and because of this, we all should be able to understand oppression. Though I do not believe in “feminist” activism in this day and age, I do agree with equality among all people of any race, creed, socio-economic background, and gender. I also believe in equality of all people concerning sexual orientation. Not too long ago in this country, women did not have the freedom to go certain places, to work in a man’s world, to go to college. In that world, all of us women who live in this dorm today would be considered “progressives.” I don’t think any woman on this floor or on this campus would not agree that we have a right to be here just as any man, and we have a right to be proud of the fact that we are women, and that we are different and special. Under the same premise, gay, lesbian and bisexual people deserve to have a voice – and to take it even further, they deserve to live here and be respected. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to listen to what these people have to say, and I think that is supremely sad. I think the decision to rip down the signs this week was made out of hate, and I think that is wrong. We, as women, should all be able to relate to hate and inequality. Though you may not agree with someone, they are still entitled to an opinion and a voice, and it is wrong to take that away from them out of hate, dislike or discomfort. I am deeply saddened and disappointed in my fellow residents. I invite anyone on this floor to come discuss this with me. Thank you.
Now, I am almost embarrassed by my sympathetic approach to this reprehensible act that occurred in my dorm that year, especially since later, our Resident Advisor told me that someone had also defaced our quiet neighbor’s door. I was livid – she never bothered anybody, and how DARE these women – there for HIGHER EDUCATION, no less, act in such a way? Today, I would take a much more vocal and hostile stand in defense of my neighbors, my best friends, and even strangers in the LGBT community. Upon an invite from my neighbor following my open letter, I joined an LGBT support network on campus, and still continue to support gay rights – specifically gay marriage – even (and especially) today. I share my story in support of the HUMAN BEINGS in the LGBT community that I feel a part of, even though I am a straight woman, and I dedicate my post to the memory of Safe Bet, a woman I never knew, and her loving wife Amy, who I also don’t know, but respect and love as part of this OS community. I have great hope that I will SOON see days where this type of hatred (and much worse) will no longer be perpetuated and we can all be one big, happy HUMAN family!
To my “family”: I simply wouldn’t be myself, or probably be alive without you. I need you and love you.