Homosexuality exists in over 1,500 species, yet homophobia only exists in one: Homo Sapiens. Ironically, in Latin, this means “wise man,” yet this race proves to be one of the most ignorant to roam the planet.
In Wantagh, a predominantly well-behaved area, bullying exists. There are assemblies each year to try to prevent “cyber-bullying” or simply just bullying; an area that is never touched upon is homophobic/transphobic bullying. This year, the Variation Club was started by two freshmen in the hope to put an end to the hate. John Mateer and Jaclyn Weiner, with the help of Ms. Sebastiano, created this club to ensure a “safe-place” for anyone who feels out of place – not only members of the LGBTQ community. They also hoped to educate students on different sexualities and promote not only awareness, but acceptance. It wasn’t too difficult to get the idea of this club approved by the Board of Education, but it took immense planning.
The intent of this club is simple: to make everyone feel like they have a place. A judge-free zone in which students can go to feel that they belong, this is a very crucial part of high school, where often students feel ostracized. Although it has been a success and accepted, some students haven’t taken too kindly to the new club. The posters promoting the club have been ripped down and mean-spirited phrases have been written on them. Weiner and Mateer hope that by not responding to the hate, they’ll receive more positive feedback in that they didn’t let the negative people get a rise out of the club members.
Homophobia is the extreme aversion to homosexuality. Merriam Webster defines it as an irrational fear or hatred towards homosexuals. Irrational being the key word; not endowed with reasoning. There are many reasons as to why homophobia is wrong – but what’s the reasoning that it’s “right?” Many argue that The Bible states that it is sinful to be a homosexual. The Bible stands as it is, or falls as a whole. By virtue, Christians are supposed to fully support The Bible and its teachings.
Lev. 18:22 states, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” To believe that homosexuality is a sin, they must take every aspect of the Bible for what it is. Now, fundamentalists want to argue that homosexuality is wrong – but so are people who participate in intercourse out of wedlock. Deuteronomy 22:20,21 states that a woman must be stoned to death if she is not a virgin when her husband and she are intimate for the first time. If this is to be held true, homosexuals aren’t the only students who should be condemned, but so are the 68% of students across the nation who have engaged in sexual activities.
Unless you believe that Eve was taken from one of Adam’s ribs, meaning that they have the same genetic make-up, and that a talking snake tricked her into eating the forbidden fruit; that Eve and Adam were the first two human beings to be intimate; making everyone marry/reproduce with their brothers, sisters, uncles, etc, your reasoning is flawed in that you only believe few teachings of the Bible. Homosexuality isn’t wrong – homophobia is, as is ignorance.
Many different sexualities exist, as is the same with different forms of hate. In any case of these sexualities in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community, these attractions are both emotional and physical. Homosexual individuals are solely attracted emotionally and physically to the same sex, whereas bisexuals identify as being attracted to both males and females. In comparison to “queers,” bisexuality, based on the etymological breakdown of the word, is of two sexualities. Queers are able to broaden their horizons and date transgendered people, not to say bisexuals aren’t – but the connotation makes them limited, not the denotation.
Transgenderism vs. Transexuality is a subject that confuses most people. Transgendered individuals’ sex doesn’t match their physical anatomy. Simply, they are “born in the wrong body.” Someone who identifies as male or female but whose gender identity conflicts with their biological sex. That is, they were born male or have XY chromosomes, but experience themselves as female. They may experience “gender identity disorder,” which is a psychological issue. Transexuality is a medical issue in which someone is born as a female and has undergone a sex-change due to being born with male genitals. The two may overlap if a sex change is involved.
Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY,) and the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) group have worked across the nation and on Long Island to educate on homosexuality and advocate a safe-place in schools. The word “alliance” in GSA provides the connotation of a war-time, in which countries form alliances. In the plight to end homophobia/transphobia, that’s exactly what this is. This bullying is the leading cause of suicide in teens, especially those in the LGBTQ community, they are 8.4 times more likely to attempt to take their own lives. The fact that they are victimized have raised the statistic to 43% of gay teenagers committing suicide in the past ten years.
The discrimination is a pressing issue, as are the results of the bullying. Lawrence King, 15, from California, was shot to death in his junior high school computer lab. This was after him confiding in his “friends” that he was questioning his sexuality. Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old student at Rutgers University was bullied so viciously that he jumped off of the G.W Bridge. Relating back to religion, “Thou shall not murder,” there these fundamentalist homophobes go, going against the Bible again.
Contrary to most ignorant beliefs, homophobia does in fact exist in Wantagh. Students have assured The Warrior that they know someone who has been victimized. The Variation Club has a lot in store for next year, bake sales, fundraisers, and they hope to have an assembly to help stop the hate. “Hopefully students that were afraid to be themselves will find a sense of acceptance and hope in themselves,” said Mateer.
Help stop the hate, and support students who feel isolated in a place they should feel surrounded by people. Every Tuesday in room 203, you can be a part of a safe-space. Homophobia is ignorant, and not justified. There’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, anyway.