Friday, October 24, 2008

Talking to the Wrong Person

Yesterday, one of my fellow university students incurred my wrath when I learned that they had donated $200 to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. We had just walked out of the keynote address for University Pride week, and this person frequents the LGBT Resource Center where I volunteer. After they informed me of their donation, I asked them why they did that. They responded that it had been a busy week, and that many things were going on in their life, but one of their family friends had approached them about it and stated that it was needed because gay marriage is morally and ethically wrong. I asked them if they self-identified as homosexual, and they responded that they weren't sure at the moment. I then asked if they had gay or lesbian friends. They turned and looked at me, and said something to the effect of they considered me a friend. I then asked if they felt that they should have the right to be in a relationship with a person they cared about. They responded this would only be appropriate if the person were of the opposite sex.


I was enraged, livid and shocked. How could someone that so frequently interacts with the LGBT community do something so callous? I quickly went up to the LGBT Resource Center and began discussing the incident with the people that were there. I erred in that I probably should not have given the person's name, but I felt that since that person frequently visits the Center and that their donation made me feel uncomfortable with their presence in an area I thought was supposed to be a safe place for LGBT persons and their allies, I felt compelled to speak out and ask how I try to welcome that person back into the Center. I told at least 10 people, and although I should feel remorse for doing something like that, I felt justified by the fact that I no longer felt welcome in that space myself when that person was present.


Later in the day, this person approached me and told me how hurt they felt because they didn't feel welcome in the Center after that. Imagine that! They said that they had been ignorant of the issue, and didn't understand what kind of group their money was going toward. They said that school and work were really stressful, and their mind hadn't been in the right place at the time. They tried to make me feel guilty about my telling other people what they had done, when they offered no remorse for their actions, only a plethora of excuses. I know it's caustic of me, but if you don't understand an issue, learn about it. Don't donate based on the opinion of a single person. Gather your wits and intelligence and learn about the things that you are contributing to. Ignorance is no excuse for actions. It only exemplifies that maybe your grasp on life is a little loose.


I am going to the "Gay"-la dinner tonight to end the Pride Week celebration and am wondering about the response I am going to get. I feel a little alienated by some of the people that frequent the Center because of my strong reaction to this person's actions. Some people feel that I should have moderated my actions, and although I do feel that maybe I went a little overboard, I have had a number of other things going on with regards to this Proposition that have biased my outlook. I have problems sleeping at night because I am so worked up over what will happen in the 3 states with amendments against gay marriage this year. Regardless of outcome, I will be happy when this election is over!





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