Overcoming Ignorance

By: Emily Shultz

When men first started wearing earrings, they were often gay men. Upon seeing a man wearing an earring, we would whisper about how different he was from the rest of us. It was as if male earring-wearers were an exhibit at a museum that people would only point at to gawk in amazement. Now, many men wear earrings, and we do not even think twice about it. Look at some of the rocks hanging off some athletes’ earlobes and I’m pretty sure that 90 percent of those guys are not gay.

Likewise, there used to be a day when only certain people would get tattoos. When we saw a person with a tattoo, we automatically threw him into a stereotype of backcountry, biker or rock musician. Today, it is quite common for people of every race and economic status to have tattoos.

I think the same thing is going to happen when it comes to people accepting the legalization of gay marriage. For many of us, it can be disturbing and uncomfortable to see two people of the same sex kiss or hold hands. However, I honestly believe that in a short time, most people will just accept gay couples as just two people entitled to equal rights to live together, raise children and be eligible for medical benefits, just as we accept these rights without pause in regards to heterosexual couples.

New York legalizing gay marriage this past summer is a milestone that gay couples have wanted for years. If you feel equally inspired, think about starting or supporting a movement to legalize gay marriage in Ohio. Or, if you would rather take a more subtle approach, you could join the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Union or the Akron chapter of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays.

LGBTU’s goal is to provide an environment in which these students can freely come together to provide each other with support and bring about campus awareness to significant issues.

PFLAG has over 350 chapters in the United States and is welcoming to any and all family and friends of lesbians and gays. They celebrate diversity and provide an open and friendly environment for anyone who is interested in attending.

By joining either of these organizations, a student at UA could speak his voice proudly, and perhaps even make an impact on the University large enough to get national recognition. The first step in making a difference is actually standing up for that in which you believe.