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Broken traditions

Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07

lesbians3

Nicholas Badger

DaisyDukes

Matthew Woolbright

Dixiechicken

Matthew Woolbright

Northgate

Matthew Woolbright

Several establishments in the Northgate area are considered ‘unsafe’ by the GLBT community at Texas A&M.

Diegos2

Matthew Woolbright

Senior accounting major Diego Arvizu said he has experienced prejudice.

Some Aggies do not feel accepted in some traditions near and dear to Texas A&M; traditions such as the Century Tree and Midnight Yell.

"I went to Midnight Yell once in the beginning and it would seem really awesome to go, but because I'm afraid to take my girlfriend, I feel like I'm missing out on one of A&M's really cool traditions," said Destiny Winning, a freshman environmental geosciences major. "It's sad because I can't do that like everybody else. It's really a letdown."

The Texas A&M University campus is in the heart of a homophobic region of the country, said Lowell Kane, director of the A&M Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.

Kane said the reason "Closet Station," or the concept therein, exists is a false pretense most people have about GLBT individuals.

"I think there is a huge stereotype that exists out there that the defining quality in GLBT people is sex or sexuality. The stereotype is they're constantly looking to date people and that is just not the case," Kane said. "That stereotype is very hindering and damaging to the community."

COMING OUT

Winning was lucky, she said, in terms of her "coming out" experience with her family.

"My parents took it really well, and most of my other family," Winning said. "‘As long as you're happy, we're happy,' they'd say."

About five times a semester a student will visit the GLBT center because their family has disowned them; sometimes it is a temporary thing, but other times it is permanent, Kane said.

"At 17, 18, 19, even 20 years old, to lose the support of your family, not just the emotional support but also the financial support, can be a very scary time for students," Kane said.

While Winning's parents were O.K. with her choices, Winning's first girlfriend's parents were not, and that is why they broke up. Senior accounting major Diego Arvizu did not tell his parents about his sexual orientation until two years after his first relationship.

Arvizu grew up in Crockett, Texas, a "technologically backwards" place, he said, and most in his family are devout Catholics.

"This was my own adventure that I could take, one that my brothers could not go," Arvizu said. "It was something to get out of the house and venture to my own world. This was new to everyone in my family: ‘gay son, online, boyfriend, what is next, not Catholic?'"

MOST CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS

The Princeton Review's latest rankings put A&M on the top of the list for "most conservative students;" usually not a favorable thing for GLBT individuals.

"We talk about ‘We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we,' but that might not always be the experience for individuals here," Kane said. "One of the most common concerns I hear about is not feeling a connection, when so many students do feel that connection to being an Aggie."

To Winning, sometimes it's the unspoken messages she gets that sting the most.

"People won't come up to your face and say anything, but if you wear a certain T-shirt or act different, you can just see it in their eyes," Winning said, "like, ‘Oh god, look at that shirt.'"

Arvizu agrees and said he usually "brushes off" the verbal attacks.

"I'm usually too busy to pay attention to [people saying insults], plus they can only bark like dogs, it's the silent dogs that I pay attention to," Arvizu said.

Arvizu and Winning have been warned about not being received well at some places in the Northgate area.

Arvizu is a very adventurous person, he said, so when he was told of a place not for "his people," he wanted to check it out. When Arvizu and two friends walked towards Daisy Dukes, they were silently ‘deferred' by two large white men, Arvizu said. It took him a minute to realize what had just happened.

"They put all the puzzle pieces together for me and I was surprised that such acts of violence that happen in the news and across the world was inches away from happening to us," Arvizu said.

Winning said she received a similar warning about the Dixie Chicken, much to her dismay.

"It kind of bothers me because the Dixie Chicken is a big A&M thing so I want to try that out, but now I'm a little tedious, cautious to try that out," Winning said.

LIVING NOW AND LOOKING AHEAD

Winning said she has lost friends because of her orientation, and feels many people just want her to go away and is more stressed because of the populace's view of GLBT relationships.

"It causes a little more stress and it makes you more weary to trust somebody," Winning said.

Kane said many GLBT individuals are forced to conceal themselves and relationships because of the atmosphere around A&M. While GLBT
individuals have extra stress in their life because of their sexual orientation, Kane said this speaks to their resilience.

"[A&M] is a difficult place to be, but they are here and they are thriving," Kane said.

 

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Anonymous
Wed Apr 21 2010 12:43
This article is legit, it's the comments that are show. I'm a gay black man in this place called College Station, but I am a realistic gay man and agree with both sides.

To the gays:
You're right, this place is homophobic, racist, prejudice, conservative, religious and all the other things that have been said in the comments. That's the area, you came here knowing that (I came here knowing). This isn't the first time I have been to a place like this, it won't be the last. I know myself well enough to say that after my two years here for school, I'm getting out. I treat this time in my life as if I am in the waiting room to the rest of my life. Just like in a waiting room, keep your head down, don't make eye contact with strangers, read your magazine and wait for your name to be called (ie at graduation). Then leave and miss the people, not the place.

To the straights:
You're right, I came here knowing what I was getting into. I keep my sexuality to myself in groups of people I don't know or when I am on Northgaye but my 50+ friends in this place know, that's because I trust them not to be, well, crazy in my opinion. I don't go on dates in public or provide you with the gay PDA (I wish you wouldn't provide me with the straight PDA either, I'm just not a fan of watching two people eat each others faces). The only thing I'll say to the straights, look at your university. Look at the rankings outside of these social issues, but the academic. I'm here because the TAMU program I am in is #1 in the nation. I had the chance to go to the #2 in a much more liberal town, but I want my degree from the #1. So at least acknowledge the were aren't all white, straight, male, conservative...

All in all, I think everyone should keep their mouths shut about their personal beliefs at any gathering that takes place for TAMU. Whether it be Yell Practice, in class, at Muster, or any other tradition this place has just be an Aggie.

And to spite the non-believers, you don't know me and I don't know you. One day my or your name may come up at Muster or Silver Taps, we'll still be there ignorant all the less because we're both Aggies for Life. Get your head out of you know where.

Anonymous
Sun Apr 18 2010 15:28
As being an international student at A&M for 2 years, I have observed that the community in the region is totally conserved about their believes in anything including politics, sexual orientation, God etc. I know the traditions, and believes are inherited from generations to generations. Unless someone experiences something strange to your family traditions, you and your family cannot distinguish and understand the importance of this strange thing to your family traditions, structure of your famiy and of course to the family member directly experiencing this strange thing. The strange thing may be anything such as cancer, AIDS, alcoholism or in this case "gayness". I realized my gayness when I was five years old. I haven't told it to anyone for a long time and still my family and friends has not heard it from me. I'm aware it is a very hard and curicial decision (including courage) to tell your sexual orientation to others not in Texas, but in any other parts of the world including the most avant-garde Europe . People always give a strong negative reaction to anything strange to the conserved idea. It takes some time to prove this new idea is not that strange, and we need to give them some time to digest this idea. Overall, it is hard to be gay in this heterosexuall oriented world. Whether in Texas or in Saudi Arabia or in London, being a stranger, different than the rest of the community is welcomed with question marks, intensive criticism and many times with exclusion. Just, "patience"... Our time will come soon!
Anonymous
Sun Apr 18 2010 15:26
As being an international student at A&M for 2 years, I have observed that the community in the region is totally conserved about their believes in anything including politics, sexual orientation, God etc. I know the traditions, and believes are inherited from generations to generations. Unless someone experiences something strange to your family traditions, you and your family cannot distinguish and understand the importance of this strange thing to your family traditions, structure of your famiy and of course to the family member directly experiencing this strange thing. The strange thing may be anything such as cancer, AIDS, alcoholism or in this case "gayness". I realized my gayness when I was five years old. I haven't told it to anyone for a long time and still my family and friends has not heard it from me. I'm aware it is a very hard and curicial decision (including courage) to tell your sexual orientation to others not in Texas, but in any other parts of the world including the most avant-garde Europe . People always give a strong negative reaction to anything strange to the conserved idea. It takes some time to prove this new idea is not that strange, and we need to give them some time to digest this idea. Overall, it is hard to be gay in this heterosexuall oriented world. Whether in Texas or in Saudi Arabia or in London, being a stranger, different than the rest of the community is welcomed with question marks, intensive criticism and many times with exclusion. Just, "patience"... Our time will come soon!
Anonymous
Sat Apr 17 2010 04:53
well here's a question. where do you draw the line? are all actions justified by how strongly one feels about them? love is a mysterious emotion. but just because you feel something does not mean that it is right. is all sex okay? I feel like even a homosexual sympathizer/homosexual would say that bestiality is wrong, or incest. etc... but those people feel like they neeeeeeeeed it too (otherwise they wouldn't do it). so does it make it okay if you feel strongly about it? drug addicts feel strongly about their habit as well.

as for equating the issue with race, I think that is just complete trash, but that is a whole different issue.

Anonymous
Fri Apr 16 2010 22:39
wow to the poster below that is a horrible thing to hear. i am sorry you feel that way and understand were you come from and i hope one day you can overcome that. but i have members of my family who are gay and i know for a fact they were born that way and were never exposed to that as children.
Anonymous
Fri Apr 16 2010 21:26
I'm just confused as to why everyone is so sure that it is something you are born with. I deal with feelings for the same sex, but I believe they are a product of my environment, and specific things happened in my childhood that I believe led me to this place. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a person who feels this way that didn't have some sort of relational development issue with a parent or sibling, or a history of early exposure to homosexuality as a child through abuse or even a friend who just wanted to do naked stuff with them.
Anonymous
Thu Apr 15 2010 15:27
It is about treating people with utmost respect. Do you really think that just because you're born loving a person of the opposite sex you're more entitled to that? Give me a break. Just as people have to accept you for being ignorant and hateful, picking and choosing aspects of your religion you will tend to focus on (the sins that do not apply to you, therefore you're all for sending those sinners to hell!) you should pay others the same respect.

The fact that so many of you on this board can't see that it is wrong for people to not be allowed at certain restaurants for the simple fact of their sexual orientation only helps solidify the stereotype of A&M being a bastion of backwards idiots. "We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we (only if you're white, straight, christian, and conservative)"

Anonymous
Thu Apr 15 2010 13:37
The issue of homosexual prejudices aside, this is a poorly written article. Am I reading a university newspaper, or a forum posting? Just because you can fit in a few prompted quotes does not make your writing journalism.
If it is true that there is such hostility enacted upon those oriented toward the same sex, it’s sad that such an amateur article was written in their defense.
That being said, I have no issue with the GLBT community. I cannot possibly understand what it is to be in their position. This is a very conservative region, with a majority likeminded student body. It is, however, a choice to attend this university – a privilege in fact.
Conservative or not, no student has the right to hatefully discriminate another for whatever purpose, but the GLBT community – however genuine their attempt – has put a target on their backs.
Act with a little tact and most hostile situations can be avoided. There’s nothing wrong with being proud, but be careful not to provoke. Hopefully one day this will not be an issue.
I CAN QUOTE THE BIBLE TOO
Thu Apr 15 2010 13:12
This seems very relevant right now:

ASK DR. LAURA

Dear Dr. Laura, Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? I also know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Now I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Then, Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

A friend of mine also feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? And Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Anonymous
Tue Apr 13 2010 20:27
Don't ask. Don't tell. Don't care.
Anonymous
Tue Apr 13 2010 17:03
You must understand that not everyone sees homosexuality as "wrong" like you do. Murder and theft are wrong. We have laws against them. They hurt other people. The fact that there are gay people out there has no effect on my life. I don't have a problem with gays as long as they aren't all in my face about it (which most of them aren't). We have no right to tell them how they should live their lives. We also don't have a right to tell them to leave because they feel oppressed. Sure you don't like their lifestyle, but you're just going to have to learn to live around people who aren't the same as you.
Storm
Tue Apr 13 2010 16:05
I'm just saying that it's wrong, and that it should not be accepted. I don't hate them but I do think they need to stop their homosexuality and repent. By your standards it would be okay to go around lying on a day to day basis and then be mad at other people for not accepting that you are a liar and treating you with respect. You're the one who is associating the sin of lying with that of homosexuality, Both are wrong and I am just as guilty of sinning as anyone. The difference is that I'm not trying to say that I am not guilty and complaining because everyone is not okay with my sins.
Ital
Tue Apr 13 2010 15:54
Hey Storm, the Bible also says liars are going to hell. So if you've EVER lied before, you deserve just as much hate and prejudice you're giving the GLBT people right now. And by your standards, God is very disgusted with you just as much as he is with gays.

Nice hateful, narrowminded comments. You're implying that being gay is just as bad as being a murderer? It's embarrassing that you call yourself an Aggie.

Storm
Tue Apr 13 2010 13:18
Your right the new testament doesn't specifically say that it is "wrong". It just says that it is indecent and offensive to god and that those involved in homosexuality are going to hell, hey but other than that it seems like the new testament is all for it...
Anonymous
Tue Apr 13 2010 12:46
funny how none of those verses of the new testament say anything directly about homosexuality being wrong...glad to see you've been completely indoctrinated by the Christian Bubble and can no longer interpret anything for yourself. Congratulations.
Storm
Mon Apr 12 2010 16:48
Why do the "GLBT" populace feel that they need to be accepted by the entire populace at A&M. Trying to force everyone to accept your choices is no different from people disliking your choice of lifestyle. Get over yourself. People have every right to be homophobic if they want to. If it makes you feel any better, I have issues with thieves, murders, drunkards, scrooges, and braggarts too.

"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Leviticus 18:22

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. The must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:13

"In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Romans 1:27

"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." Romans 1:32

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually Immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders" 1 Corinthians 6:9

Furman
Fri Apr 9 2010 21:50
this article is gaay...
Anonymous
Fri Apr 9 2010 20:31
Word, Liz 09! And Ricky and Johnny, did you know that all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve?
Josiah
Fri Apr 9 2010 14:25
I find it absolutely lovely to consider the fact that I am gay a threat or the opportunity to shove my agenda down someone else's throat. You know, I was raised believing I was straight, so coming out as gay is simply my chance to get back at the community. In some ways, it's my life's goal, because I have the time in college, as opposed to studying, working, or hanging out with people, to dedicate toward being ramming my homosexuality in EVERYONE'S face.
~~
Look at what I wrote. Just look at it. Does anyone out there seriously believe what I wrote above is true? I'm busy. I attend events on campus, i.e. Gay Awareness Week that reaffirm my spirit, as many attend A&M to affirm their political beliefs. I'd like to take time here to point out that attending a campus or not attending campus for its political bias should not need to happen. For an institution that touts itself as one of the leading universities in the nation, we must recognize that diversity in student background produces a more well-rounded institution. I digress.

When I go out on a date, unlike my heterosexual counterparts, I sometimes get strange looks. When I go out with my two best friends, who appear almost boyish to others (I don't see how you can mistake them for males, but others apparently do) people talk behind our back. Homophobia is a word now used beyond its original meaning. The word defining fear of gay individuals now also remarks upon social stigma & hate toward glbt people. I find it very un-Aggie-like that anyone would be willing to push around another based upon appearance or self-identity. "We are the Aggies, the Aggies are we" reasons upon a very collectivistic society.

No, I will not argue that everyone in Aggieland carries this view of hatred and discrimination. I will argue that the conservative stereotyping here does produce a fear. I will argue that many conservatives try to hide behind this stereotype as a way of alienating other students with "Keep College Station Normal" slogans.

We come out because we want you to know we trust you. We want to trust you not to take offense to part of us that's neither a choice or a lifestyle. Just as those of us are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender are glbt, straight individuals are straight. Hateful comments and actions consistently discredit a glbt individuals trust in the larger society, whereby establishing the proverbial "closet."

To end, let me tell you a little story Ags. As a junior in college, I consistently hear about people getting married or becoming engaged or dating from my straight friends. I love, trust me when I say the hopeless romantic in me swoons at the idea, that people are finding the one they can spend the rest of their life with. Despite how thrilled I am with the idea, others consistently say that I would be the one shoving my non-existent gay agenda out there simply by coming out.

Danielle
Fri Apr 9 2010 12:01
I'm sorry, but to those who argue that you are tired of us "shoving it down" your throats need to pay a little more attention to the world around you. If we had full equality and did not face discrimination then we would not need to speak out and work so hard to provide our friends and family with the rights and protection that most people are born into. Stop trying to make us second class citizens and we won't have to shove it down your throat that we want equality.

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