I'm gay. A queer. A homo. A fag. A Fruit, queen, sissy, poof, fairy, sodomite, nellie, swish, maricon, deviant, confirmed bachelor, faggot, flamer, invert, friend of Dorothy, "that way," switch hitter, homophile, uranian and a hundred other euphemisms and terms of approbation you could throw at me as a homosexual male.
I just wanted to get that out of the way up front -- first of all to set the tone of this column -- I didn't want there to be any doubt in anyone's mind where I stand. But more importantly, as a result of this column, I will probably have a few of them thrown at me, and I wanted to make sure that you spell them correctly. There is nothing sadder than a bigot who can't spell.
So now that I have established what I am, the next question is why am I writing about it?
"That's fine if he's gay, but why does he have to flaunt it? Why can't he keep it in the bedroom where it belongs, instead of shoving it in our face? Why does he need to write about it in the Collegian?"
So why SHOULD The Collegian have a regular column on homosexual issues at K-State?
I can give you several good reasons.
Homosexuality is arguably the second biggest hot-button political issue in the United States today (only abortion is more contentious). As in any political issue, it's very important to encourage a public discourse, to present all sides of the issue. It's clearly not "just a bedroom issue."
John Hart has made his point of view on this issue well known on these pages for a long, long time. What better way to present a homosexual point of view, than from a real, live, homosexual K-State student?
Please note that I said 'A' homosexual point of view, not 'THE' homosexual point of view. There are as many homosexual points of view as there are homosexuals. The only thing that holds homosexuals together in our movement is the commonality of sexual orientation and a shared sense of oppression. If you think there is some 'monolithic gay movement' where we all believe the same thing, you are sadly mistaken. We are so diverse that we often oppose each other over ideological differences. Gay democrats have different issues than gay republicans. What a European American college student like myself has to say may be totally alien to an African American working-class lesbian. Why, at the 1993 March on Washington, we had the Gay Animal Rights Contingent protesting the Gay Rodeo Contingent! Not exactly what I would call "unified!"
The truth is, there is a lot of ignorance out there about issues of sexual orientation. Myths abound, misinformation is rampant, and issues are misunderstood. It's my job to explain many of these issues to the K-State community, both heterosexual and homosexual. People are so often afraid to talk openly about gay issues. I'm here to change that.
There are a LOT of lesbigay people in the K-State community. Estimates place the numbers anywhere from 2 percent to 10 percent of the population (I tend to favor somewhere around 6 percent). That being the case, there are a lot of 18 and 19-year-old freshmen out there who are from small-town Kansas, who have never been given any information about queer issues and who are really confused about these feelings they are having toward members of the same gender. It is my intention to make sure that they do get to hear a voice that says, "You are OK" and "You are not alone." Many others experience the same thing you do. And believe me, I know what it is like to be alone on a college campus and think that you are the only one who feels the way you do.
How often do we see information about heterosexual relationships in the Collegian? More than you think. With Valentine's day coming up, look at how many ads make reference to heterosexual love. See how many columns are written about dating, love and marriage. Read 'Dear Cassandra' on almost any day of the week, for crying out loud! Heterosexuals abound, flaunting their sexual orientation!
But where are the representations of the same-gender relationships in the Collegian?
I hope to balance that invisibility out a little bit by making sure that gay voices are heard, too. Naturally, since heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals at least 10 to one, there will be lots more straight content than gay content here. But gay relationships and marriages DO exist here on the K-State campus, and it is my intention to make sure they aren't totally invisible.
TO CONTINUE KELLY KLAWONN'S LEGACY
I am not the first queer-issues columnist the Collegian has had on staff. That honor goes to a good friend of mine, Kelly Klawonn. Many of you don't remember Kelly, but a couple of years back she broke the ground that I am now treading with a regular weekly column on lesbian and gay issues. Kelly has since graduated and moved on, but she has not been forgotten by those here who saw her as an inspiration. Her courage is a legacy to all gay people at K-State. Kelly, This one's for you.