OUT week: Be more inclusive
To the Editors:
According to a statement by BGSA leaders, Haliday Douglas '05 and Caitlin Connolly '05, in the October 8th Student Digest, OUT week was intended to be "a time of awareness and reflection on issues of sexual orientation/identity." With such activities as a film showing, information table in Smith Union, and a panel discussion, the BGSA seemed to be ensuring the success of OUT Week on campus. However, despite whatever successes BGSA might have had in creating awareness of issues of sexual orientation, I was sad to discover one of BGSA's failures right out on Bowdoin's quad.
Of BGSA's many chalk writings I read, I was extremely disturbed by one in particular. Just next to the flag pole was a chalk quote stating, "Straight people are OK, but Gays are better." As I walked past the writing I had to stop and reexamine the statement to make sure I did not misread it. I wondered, how could BGSA, a group promoting awareness about homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual concerns, allow such a harmful, misleading, and public statement to be written on its behalf?
I learned that the statement was written with an intention of momentarily placing heterosexuals in a position where they were unfairly judged and criticized because of their sexuality, something experienced by homosexuals every day. However, I believe statements like the one in question fail to further the crusade for Gay Rights in this country and instead truly hurt the cause. Homosexuals are no better than heterosexuals, nor are heterosexuals better than homosexuals, and why anyone would make such an incorrect, unfounded, and harmful statement is beyond me.
I am genuine supporter of Gay Rights, but more importantly a supporter of Equal Rights. Homosexuals are no better than heterosexuals, nor are heterosexuals better than homosexuals. Sadly, we live in a country where homosexual individuals do not hold the same rights as heterosexuals. Our country's restriction of gays' rights threatens not just homosexuals Americans; this discrimination weakens the foundation of all our constitutional rights by denying the equality of all our citizens.
Fortunately, the Gay Rights movement in America is in a time of true progress with the Supreme Court's recent removal of restrictive sodomy laws and the media's expanding acceptance of homosexuality with shows like "Will and Grace" and "Boy Meets Boy." In maintaining current momentum, it is crucial to gain support from not just gay communities, but also from the heterosexual population. And in continuing to promote understanding and awareness on these issues I hope that BGSA will work harder to include members of all sexual orientations and avoid the resurgence of any more harmful and prejudice statements.