Morehouse’s ugly marriage to homophobia

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imageContributing blogger Darian Aaron is an Alabama native who now calls Atlanta home. He’s the creator of Living Out Loud with Darian, a blog that offers his take on social, political and religious issues that impact the LGBT community.

A new op-ed appearing in Morehouse College’s the Maroon Tiger newspaper by student writer Gerren Gaynor is sure to fan the flames of homophobia once again on a campus that has had it’s share of anti-gay attacks and bullying.

“Is Gay The Way?” is the title of the piece and Gaynor poses a series of questions to the reader in an effort to determine which is more important–protecting the Morehouse image or embracing the “others,” which is in this case the Morehouse “homosexual population.”

“Over the years, despite social divergence on campus, the Morehouse community has done their share to both accept and adjust to the growing homosexual population. But don’t you think this has gone too far? A boy with a pocketbook is far.

It’s not so much that “straight” men of Morehouse are uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle, but more so because it is constantly and quite robustly thrown in their face. Does being a gay man include adopting the traits of a woman? Because if that’s the case, there’s a more fitting school, and it’s called Spelman College.

I’m all for being who you are. If you like women, go on and date women. If you like men, be my guest and date men. But if you are born a man, you should be just that–a man. If I have to look twice to tell if I’m looking at a man or woman on an all-male campus, then something is tragically wrong.”

In 2009 this type of gay-panic is beyond tragic. And it should be quite embarrassing for a college-educated Morehouse man such as Gaynor not to know that although one might identify as gay it doesn’t necessarily mean that they desire to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Much work has been done at Morehouse in recent years to combat the pervasive homophobia on campus. From the student-led gay organization Safe Space, to the groundbreaking No Homo Initiative Week, and visits from gay Christian organization Soulforce, the dialogue needed to create an environment that is safe for all students has been happening over the past few years.

A step in the right direction on the heels of the vicious 2002 beating of Gregory Love by fellow Morehouse student Aaron Price. Love was struck violently in the shower with a baseball bat because Price believed the victim was “looking at him naked”. So with all of the progress being made at Morehouse this homophobic attack in the Maroon Tiger by Gaynor is quite an unfortunate setback.

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