Homophobia - Educating Against Heterosexism

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Homophobia. It is defined as an irrational fear of sexual minorities including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and transexual individuals. It exists in our society, although at times it seems that our safe haven within the "university bubble" contains people that are both rational and educated preventing homophobia from becoming a reality. Denying that homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation are problems and identifying them as issues for "other" people can be extremely problematic. It is this type of thinking that perpetuates the status quo of heterosexual privilege. There have been several incidents in the past few weeks that have brought the existence of homophobia on our college campus and others as well to the forefront of many people’s minds. The incidents subsequently mentioned demonstrate the necessity of better education and understanding of sexual minorities not only for their own advancement towards equality, but for the growth of heterosexual individuals as well and progression away from the status quo.

To provide a truly complete and fulfilling educational experience at Colby and other similar schools it is necessary to provide educational materials on all lifestyles and examples of diversity that exists not only in our own culture, but others as well. I believe that facilitating this complete learning experience leads to developing the individual mind morally as well as academically. I would argue that it is becoming more and more essential for our schools to provide the means for the moral development of our youth and young adults. We are living in a society where we are constantly bombarded by messages from the media, church, and even family that normalize only one way of living. It is necessary for there to be at least one facilitator of expanded thinking in people’s lives and for many college students and youth this can be found in the world of academia.

Although I believe inclusiveness of sexual minorities is essential to a successful education, I demand that an institution such as Colby needs to do even more than this. The inclusion of sexual minorities is only a part of the larger picture of what needs to be accomplished to build a diverse and accepting community here at Colby. The college needs to become an institutional ally. Colby needs to do more than passively support gay, lesbian, intersexed, transexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBITTQ) issues on campus, it needs to take a stand on these issues and demand that there is progress to begin to disrupt the institutionalized heterosexism that currently exists.
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