Recently, in our SCOM 330 class, our group came across a very interesting issue that has yet to truly be addressed in our society. Our campus, as well as many others, have come to accept homosexuals in recent years. This is an impressive feat in and of itself given where many campuses were just 30-40 years ago. However, do we truly accept? While we freely tolerate the LGBT community, as of now everyone still assumes that everyone else is straight. This problem is labeled as homocentrism. The anomaly is that while we openly accept the LGBT community, there’s an invisible line that has been placed there by the straight community to separate the LGBT community from everyone else. As long as the LGBT community stays out of our way, we’ll "accept" them. While the straight community probably doesn’t even realize that this is occurring, the LGBT community is very aware of this anomaly and is trying to bring it to the foreground of our minds.
Still confused as to what I mean? Ask yourself this: how often do you see two girls holding hands in a campus dining hall? Or two men kissing on the quad? Probably not much, right? That’s because the LGBT community still feels very intimidated at showing themselves in the public setting. I have occasionally seen a gay or lesbian couple holding hands, and every time I see it I think, “Good for them!” for being willing to show their love in public. But that’s the problem: I should not even half to think that. I should look at something like that and think nothing of it just the same as when I see a heterosexual couple holding hands. See what I mean? An attention intervention needs to take place on campuses everywhere to shift our attention away from LGBT couples and onto our own stories of love.
So what can we do to fix this problem? Well isn’t that the question of the day? You can’t just preach tolerance. It’s more than that. We have to recognize that an intervention must take place between the LGBT community and the straight community. The straight community has to shift its attention away from those labeled as homosexuals and stop viewing them as anomalies. This is not an easy task. I went to an all male high school in my younger years and I think this really taught me to not just accept those of a different sexuality, it taught me to treat them exactly as I would anyone else. Going to an all-male high school helped me to shift my attention away from the fact that the person I was talking to was homosexual and onto their many likes and qualities. The only way that we can truly learn how to accept those in the LGBT community is by interacting with them and making them feel just that: accepted. Included. This is certainly a long and arduous task, but it must happen in order for the LGBT community to truly feel accepted. We can't just talk about this anymore. We must act.