by guest blogger Nadja Spiegelman
October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day for people to proclaim loudly and proudly who they are and how it is that they identify. This year, on Yale’s campus, this has been extended beyond gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender identities for whom the day was designed. Some on this campus wish to let their homophobia out of the closet.
Along with the numerous LGBTQ co-op emails informing people about the exciting activities the co-op planned for the day, on Wednesday many Yale students woke up to find thinly veiled hate speech in their inboxes in the form of a joke email. Disguised as a letter from the co-op board, the email is signed by the National Organization to Gain Acceptance for Your Sins (NO GAYS). It urges people to “come out” as male chauvinists, Nazis, or racists. “Are you a homophobe?” the e-mail asks, “So was JESUS.” The letter ends with “There’s no shame in being who you are. Just remember, admitting it doesn’t make it right.”
How hard it must have been to keep these vehement and hateful feelings under wraps for so long. On a liberal college campus, the life of the bigot must be a difficult one. In an environment where queer students who come from repressive communities or un-accepting homes are finally able to be themselves without fear of being ostracized, reproached, or victimized by hate crimes, the latent homophobes among us must be livid.
On Yale’s campus there is little queer political action. There are the valiant and heroic efforts of QPAC (the Queer Political Action Committee), and there is the LGBTQ co-op, newly invigorated under Anna Wipfler’s (BR ’09) leadership – but mostly, in the gay community, there are parties, drinking, and hook-ups. In part, this is due to the fact that, up until now, most of the homophobia present has been subtle – acts that, while hurtful, are easy to ignore and difficult to protest (the pandemic use of “that’s so gay,” and the general separation between the heterosexual and gay male community being but two examples). An email signed by NOGAYS on the other hand, is everything but subtle. If everyone who received this was even one tenth as outraged as I was, then this is a very effective call to arms.
I must admit – this is refreshing. Someone is finally taking a stand. And, even though you are hiding behind a hidden email address and anonymously posted flyers, mystery sender, we will find out who you are and confront you directly. Please do not think for a moment that your cry for help has been ignored. Whoever you are, I hope to shake your hand in front of Excom.
Let me now address all the other homophobes still languishing in the closet: show yourselves. Lets confront this issue head-on. If, in this day and age, you are still misguided enough to truly think homosexuality is wrong, then let us show you otherwise. Come to our co-op meetings. Come see the faces of the people you are condemning. Come see our struggles, our bravery, and our strength. If you hate us for religious reasons, come talk to those among us who are religious and learn about the incredible hurdles they’ve overcome. If you hate us because you are ignorant, come educate yourselves. We are people and we are good people. Stop hating us in silence or from behind hidden email addresses. Come talk to us. You’ll be surprised.