Marriage equality not the final blow to homophobia
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 00:01
Many people seem to think homosexual couples being granted the right to marry will solve all the issues the LGBTQ community currently faces.
The right for homosexual people to seem more like heterosexual people will not be the end of homophobia. I am not denigrating the cause advocating same-sex marriage; I believe that federal recognition of same-sex marriage will be a key stepping stone in the LGBTQ rights movement. However, when the federal government recognizes all same-sex marriages as legal, the LGBTQ community will have won a battle, not a war.
The true war is the one against ignorance and hate.
Irrational fear, aversion of or discrimination against something is usually caused by ignorance.
“Misunderstanding arising from ignorance breeds fear, and fear remains the greatest enemy of peace,” said Lester B. Pearson, winner of the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize.
Misunderstanding leads to ignorance, which breeds fear, and subsequently matures into hate.
Cyril Connolly, an English writer and critic who died in 1974, once said, “Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise.” Connolly is supported by Merriam-Webster, whose primary definition of hate is “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury.”
The most successful way to combat ignorance has always been education. For instance, in the ubiquitous contraception versus abstinence debate regarding sex education in schools, a 2006 article by Rebecca Goldin, Ph.D., of George Mason University cites the decline in teenage pregnancies from 100 in 1,000 for girls aged 15 to 19 in 1995 to 75 in 1,000 in 2002, as 86 percent due to contraceptives and only 14 percent due to abstinence.
Ignorance breeds more than just teenage girls. It is the root of fear, which leads to hate.
As I mentioned in an article from last term, “Speak against transphobia,” Oregon State University is one of the most queer-friendly campuses in the country. OSU is currently ranked 37th out of 359 campuses in the nation, and we received a 5/5 score from the Campus Pride Index.
OSU is one of the most queer-friendly campuses in the nation. Yet, it is still possible to overhear queer jokes and hate speech when walking on or around the university campus.
LGBTQ@OSU is the LGBT Services Office of Oregon State University. Part of their mission, as stated on the website, is to keep LGBTQ students at OSU, and pursues “the goal of fostering relationships within Corvallis and across surrounding communities to help build relationships through which LGBTQQIA students can thrive as they pursue future educational, career and life goals.”
Heterosexism is a form of homophobia in which homosexuals are seen as abnormal and something to be pitied or cured. This seems to be a more common form of homophobia on college campuses, where tolerance is the byword.
However, tolerance is not acceptance by its very definition. When something is accepted, it does not need to be indulged or allowed — simply because it does not require the permission of others to exist.
Preaching tolerance only encourages heterosexism and ignorance. Acceptance is what we need more of in the world; we need to not look down on other ways of life simply because they are not our own. As college students, we are surrounded by an atmosphere of learning — we need to open our minds to more than just academia. Our generation is the one that holds the future leaders of nations, CEOs of big businesses and educators. We will be the policy makers — it’s our responsibility to leave the world better than we found it.
The LGBTQ community does not only include lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, questionings, intersexes and asexuals; straight allies are included too. All you need to become a part of the community is to make the decision to join the fight.
Knowledge is the weapon with which the LGBTQ community will win the war against hate and fear, and will help first our campus, then the nation and the world, to be an accepting community, and not only a tolerant one.
Irene Drage is a senior in English. The opinions expressed in her columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Drage can be reached at email@example.com.