This Week in Drew History: From The Acorn Archives “Dispel Fear of Gays”

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To look back in Drew Acorn history we dug through our archives to see what Drewids have felt compelled to write about. This article was originally published in The Drew Acorn on Fri., Feb. 24, 1978. Disclaimer: this article is outdated and problematic. The Acorn understands the erasure of gay women in this piece.  

Oppression is in our midst–oppression so subtle that most are not even aware of it.  I am talking about the oppression of gays on this campus. What is needed is education about gay life in general so as to dispel the myths associated with homosexuals. More importantly, what is needed is dialogue between gays and straights.  

The issue here is homophobia–the fear of gays on the part of both gays and straights. As with any phobia, the symptoms are an illogical fear of an object or situation, in this case gays. The root of the problem lies deep and thus the persons involved are often unconscious of the condition. The fear is covered up with aggression, and thus oppression is born. But what is being covered up? What is the real fear?

This has to do with another feature of phobias in general, for the stimulus is often a symbolic representation of the true source of fear. What then is the source? It is the projection of the “feminine” stereotype. By the “feminine”, I mean those behavior patterns which are receptive: intuition, art, music, literature, home, family, child rearing, cooking, etc. All those things we in our culture associate with women through social conditioning.  

But these traits are no more inherent in women than is the “masculine” to men. Associated with the “masculine” are those things that are aggressive: reason, science, mathematics, office, business, military, mechanics, etc. Both the aggressive and the receptive belong to both male and female. It is just that one becomes associated with the male and the other with the female due to cultural stereotyping. This, then, is the start of oppression.  

Unfortunately for us, gays, like women, have been stigmatized with the “feminine”, which does not fit us anymore than it does women. The fact is that the variation within the gay population is as diverse as it is anywhere else. In the gay world you will find everything from the more effeminate stereotype to the macho football player type. In fact it was quite a revelation to some to learn that even football players can be gay, specifically Dave Kopay. Another stereotype down the drain.

What must be realized is that the stigma associated with gays is totally unfounded. As with any prejudice there are just no facts to back it up. We would all be better off if people would stop thinking of gays as “pansies” and recognize the true person behind the label. History has repeated this lesson with Blacks, Jews, and women. Now you can add gays to the list.

You were my friend before you knew I was gay—why not now? Perhaps the worst offender is the closet gay himself–the gay person who cannot accept condition and joins in the persecution. You of all people have no excuse save hypocrisy. There are more gays on this campus than people care to think. Come out and support us. We know who we are–do you? Gay, straight, or bi. We love you for what you are–can you love us?

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