Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Beyond the Label

"I've become a real believer in not defining every single thing. It seems like every time you think you've figured out what something is, it just becomes something else."

I was just reading for Core 10 and thinking about the discussion we had on Tuesday about the ethics of homosexuality. Honestly... I was surprised that there were people in my class who were against homosexuality. I guess sometimes I forget how conservative a lot of the people here are (probably because the majority of them are quite promiscuous and just don't seem to fit the right-wing stereotype). To their credit, though, most of them did have halfway decent reasons and avoided the it-grosses-me-out response.

I got to thinking... why do we care?? Making the assumption that no one in my class is homosexual (for argument's sake), the homosexuality of others is not affecting us-- as a class-- at all. So why do we need to talk about it?? Why is so much emphasis placed on labels like "gay," "straight," and "bi"??

Brother Rob made us anonymously answer the question "Would you have a homosexual roommate? Why or why not?" (We had to write our answers on pieces of paper and then he collected them, shuffled them, and passed them out randomly, and we had to read each one aloud.) I was pleased to hear that most people wouldn't mind having a same-sex, homosexual roommate... but disgusted when one answer read "I would not want a homosexual roommate because that's gross and I wouldn't want him around my stuff."

I have three roommates. When we were getting to know one another before moving in together, I didn't ask any of them-- nor did they ask me-- about sexual preference. Instead, we talked about things that we thought would help us become acquainted with one another. We talked about sleeping habits, study habits, hygiene, cleanliness... fun stuff like decorating style, hobbies and pasttimes, favorite tv shows and books, musical tastes... never once did we mention anything that would clue anyone in to our sexual preferences.

I *can* understand why someone would not want to have a homosexual roommate. I'm not completely ignorant... I can imagine some of the problems it might cause. But to not want to live with someone simply because you think "that's gross" is unacceptable. Boundaries can be set, lines can be drawn, and respect can be given to both parties.

Maybe I'm just more laid back than the others in my class......... but I highly doubt it.

I have quite a few gay and lesbian friends. In many cases, these people are better human beings than I am, yet they are judged more harshly simply because of the sex to which they are attracted. My friend "Paul" is not My Homosexual Friend "Paul." He is "Paul," my friend who collects stamps and loves to walk a mile before dinnertime. During the week, he works nine-hour shifts at a small daily newspaper, editing out the garbage no one wants to see in print. After work, he feeds his dog and reads a chapter of whatever book he happens to be in the middle of at the time. On the weekends, he goes to bars and, like any other single, twenty-five-year-old male, looks for someone who can make him happy. Why should it matter to anyone the sex of the person he seeks? It's not "gross"-- to him, it's natural. It is what comes and has always come naturally to him.

I just hate to think that there are young people out there-- right here, within feet of my doorstep-- who are so closed-minded and judgmental. And I hate to think that someday soon these young people will be less young and will be raising young people of their own and probably will pass down the same mindset to their children.

[I am not name-calling or pointing my finger at all people who think homosexuality is wrong... probably the majority of my friends would disagree with my own stance. I am, however, asking the people who take that position to give a better reason for their opinion than "it's gross."]

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