Letter to the Editor: Pride flag on campus
I recently read your article, “Should Laurier be flagged for pride?” in the most recent edition of The Cord. The article discusses a current ongoing discussion on campus about whether a pride flag should be flown on campus. As a member of the WLU Rainbow Centre I have to ask, what discussion are you talking about? I have heard nothing of this matter.
Nonetheless, in my opinion, flying a pride flag on campus would be an empty gesture of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. It would be nothing more than some vague sign of support. Before flying a flag, we have to ask: is Laurier supportive of LGBTQ+ people? I think not.
I have been out during my entire duration at Laurier. As a queer student, I am lucky enough to have only seldom experienced homophobia and transphobia in the classroom. This, however, is not the case for many of my friends.
Homophobia and transphobia plagues this campus. If you don’t see it, it is most likely because you are a cisgender and/or heterosexual.
Two years ago, Rainbow Centre posters were defaced.
Last year, your newspaper ran a story called “Straight to the Gay Club” where a cisgender, heterosexual frat boy went to a “gay club” uptown to gawk at gays, lesbians, bisexuals and “transgenders” (yes you actually printed that).
Last week, a transphobic anti-choice demonstration stood in the quad until forcibly torn down by pro-choice students (it was also torn down for other reasons, obviously).
Everyday, trans students are verbally harassed on campus.
Repeatedly, LGBTQ+ students are subjected to homophobia and transphobia in the classroom. Professors voice ignorant opinions or fail to shut down hateful comments spewed by their students. You don’t “believe in” gender-neutral pronouns? That’s fine, it’s your (ignorant) opinion. Broadcasting that opinion in your classroom, however, is absolutely unacceptable. The right to free speech does not include the right to hate speech.
How do we have such ignorant people teaching at an institution for higher learning? How do The Cord’s editors allow homophobic material to run? What can we do so these situations are not continuously repeated?
I don’t want a pride flag on campus; I want actual support. I want systemic change. I want gender and sexuality informational training for faculty. I want the burden of educating our professors on trans issues to be put on the institution instead of on trans students. I want honest and thoughtful consideration of systemic barriers that face LGBTQ+ students.
My thoughts are my own. They do not reflect upon all LGBTQ+ at Laurier. That said, I’m sure many would agree with me.