Robert Quesenberry

 

In light of the campus controversy concerning a member of student senate allegedly saying he believes sexuality is a choice:

As part of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been an extremely lucky individual. I’ve rarely had homophobia directed towards me and I recognize how privileged I am to be in a position where my sexuality has not caused any physical or mental harm when so many others have suffered because of it – when so many people are caused pain because of who they are. Being LGBTQ+ is not a choice. Period.

There’s no debate about it, and I urge people who may have differing opinions to consider where they are coming from and take steps in order to further your education on the topic. While everyone is entitled to their viewpoints, that does not change the fact that sometimes people are going to get hurt because of what you believe, what you say or how you treat others.

While I do not speak for all of the community, it is hard to hear when someone has an opinion that completely undermines who you are as a human being – an opinion that unintentionally passes judgment onto us when so many people struggle with their identity already. Being wrong in any way shape or form is something that is hard for us to grasp, but it is important to be open-minded and willing to hear the viewpoints of others.

Do not make assumptions because you think you know a person. Do not blindly defend those who have offended when you have not heard the entirety of the story, when you fail to recognize what it could feel like for a LGBTQ+ person to passively hear damnations, to hear people say that your existence is wrong – that we decided to be this way.

There is nothing wrong with us bringing awareness to those who may have hurtful opinions. Levelheadedness and patience can change a lot, and I absolutely believe that we should be critical, that we should challenge those who have opinions that can bring harm to a group. Whether it be intentional or not, shedding light on problematic aspects of a belief system can lead to change, to better representation and understanding.

It is not anyone’s duty to call out any sort of problematic behavior. There are no expectations whatsoever for anyone to be responsible for educating those who so obviously lack proper sympathy and a desire to educate themselves.

But to those brave people who stand up for who they are, who have lived their life in fear of being judged for something we cannot control, I commend you deeply for tackling problems head on.

While blatant discrimination in any way is of course a terrible thing, the minor, passive beliefs and comments that are made need to be brought to attention as well, or we’ll continue to live in a society where fear, hatred and isolation are turned into everyday occurrences. Discrimination exists in many, many forms.

So do not assume on the behalf of others, do not speak out in defense when people have been affected by what others say. Take a moment to listen, hear what those who are willing to speak have to say and be critical of those who may do and say things that are wrong.

Most importantly, be responsible for yourself and things you say, or those brave people will continue to call you out until you have properly learned.