To the editor:
Recently, there have been two reports cited in the Journal-World, if juxtaposed, that say something about the tension and, sometimes, confusion, about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals. On the one hand, there was a report from a Gallup poll done on May 23 that showed for the first time that a majority of those polled said that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized as valid by the law with the same rights and traditional marriages (53 percent to 45 percent). In 1996, the same kind of polling from Gallup found 68 percent saying that such marriages should not be valid.
Later, it was reported that the pro basketball player Joakim Noah, frustrated by the taunting of a fan, turned to him and bellowed an anti-gay slur. Given what little I know about him (as a public figure) I don’t think that Noah is prejudiced. That isn’t the point, anyway. The point is how easy it is for anti-gay remarks to come tripping off the tongue in a moment of anger or frustration.
As a former faculty adviser to GLBT student groups on two campuses, I can tell you that these kinds of comments, no matter what provoked them, hurt and cause a variety of anguished feelings, including for a few, a tragic kind of self-loathing. For many of these students, just beginning to come to terms with their sexual orientation, such comments can really sting, and they throw an unnecessary monkey wrench into the process of self-development and self-acceptance.