Being anti-gay is not OK, folks

We’re not quite racist. We’re not totally sexist. But my, we’re homophobic. Pause. Before I slap on that label, let me define the diagnosis I’m assigning to many people. Homophobia (n.) – irrational fear of, aversion to or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.

Press play. I’d say that described a whole gang of Grambling students.

I must say, coming here from Jacksonville, Fla., has been one humongous heap of country culture shock for me. I’m accustomed to city life – living and letting live. But here, people are more vocal about everything involving other people, namely how other people choose to live and how they look.

For one thing, my long-limbed frame has been the topic of so many passing conversations that I wonder if people know that I know I’m tall. A real, live, walking, talking 6 foot girl who doesn’t play basketball or run track? My lack of personal interest in athletics led one band member to call me “tall with no talent.” Apparently I’m nobody with a pen in my hand. Maybe if I had on gym shoes instead of flats I’d fulfill my duties as a member of Tall People Anonymous.

As if this isn’t amusing enough, I’m surprised by the heavy fear of the misunderstood here. I have never met a more homophobic lot.

Intelligent people casually use ignorant, derogatory terms to describe other people’s sexualities. “Fag” and “dyke” are dropped like they’re “government names.” People don’t think twice about it.

I do not understand.

One of my closest male friends from home is easily the baddest chick I know. He wears his sexuality like his stilettos and allows everyone to see how flamboyant (read fabulous) he can be. I have another friend who’s an exotic, Italian transsexual. But, I know better than to bring them here any time soon because people would see their arched eyebrows and Adam’s apples and find it acceptable to disrespect them.

What about their hearts? Intellect? Loyalty? To many, it’s all about who they date and who they do.

Homosexuality is rampant in our community (and in society in general), but it seems that people aren’t as judgmental about what happens between the sheets, rather they dislike the owning up to it. I’ve heard guys describe bisexual females like they’re the newest delicacy on the planet, but these same dudes want someone to pass them a barf bag if they see two men holding hands.

How is it that at a Black school, where we’re no strangers to the biting hand of racial prejudice, so many will slap sexual preference discrimination on each other?

Who other people date or lay with isn’t really our business unless we plan to date or lay with them, or already have done so.

I come from a majority White (female) school of the arts, but I’m quite straight. So straight in fact that my eyes often spastically scan the halls and the caf because of the attractive guys here. I see some of these guys in slow motion and break my neck trying to look at them. Just as my eyes light up and the word “dreamy” comes to mind.

I snap back to reality, recalling the hatred and ignorance involved in it.

As if intolerance isn’t a bitter enough pill to swallow, (many) homophobic people are arrogant, too. All the Crankin’ That Superman, Spiderman, Weatherman, Anchorman, and Wu Tang Clan (*sighs*) has us thinking we’re too fly for words. Too cool for school.

But are we too ignorant to change?

I’ve conversed with guys here who won’t walk on the same sidewalk an (openly) gay man walks on. Dude, every homosexual man does NOT want you. Just like every straight woman doesn’t. I sure don’t (because you’re insecure about your sexuality and I’m not one for unpleasant surprises).

People act like gay is the common cold. It’s like – Oh man, that gay dude sneezed on you, so a purse is going to grow out of your left arm. Uh-oh, sista, that lesbian coughed on you, you’re about to grow a beard.

Yeah right.

Standing by a lesbian doesn’t give me the Great Gay Urge, so I’d expect that any other truly straight person could feel the same.

I’ve had females warn me about other women from their fear of being drawn onto lesbianism. Being “turned out” is a load of crap. Unless a gay person can detect some questionable actions and or vibes regarding a so-called straight person’s sexuality, most won’t bother you, unless you ostracize them. I’m not afraid of lesbians because, frankly, they can’t offer me anything new, I don’t want them and have no problem with explaining that. People turn themselves out by succumbing to shifty sexualities.

At the end of the day, gay people are just that – people. They’re someone’s friend, sister, daughter, son, uncle, brother, maybe even parent. Being homosexual doesn’t mean that they are so consumed by the gayness of life, they lose sight of common sense.

I’m not asking that we agree or disagree with homosexuality. Just that we treat others with respect and understand that what affects (or afflicts) our neighbor also impacts us.

Black people know all too well the stories of mistreatment, fear and hatred. Jena 6 anyone? Let’s try not to make a new group of outcasts. Don’t like gay? Be the anti-Nike. Don’t do it.