KarMel Scholarship 2008
Honorable Mention: Best Editorial
“Taking a Stand”
By Katherine Dettman - CA
Desciption of Submission: “The editorial that appeared in my college’s
Why Karen and Melody Liked It: We love how she found the courage to tell everyone on your campus about her sexuality in an attempt to help educate them and to try to end GLBT discrimination.
“About the truth, if
you give it to a person, then he has power over you. And if someone gives it
to you, then they have made themselves your slave. It is a strong magic. You
can never take it back.”
My purpose in writing this editorial is to open the eyes of the College community, and hopefully in turn to change also the thinking of our family and friends. I am doing this, despite the risks and fears I have, despite my every instinct not to, despite the implications of Cisneros’ quote, because I feel it is my duty as a moral person. The past three and a half years I have spent at Canisius have been filled with joy and new friends and learning about myself. I have also learned a thing or two about my classmates, my teachers, and the administration at this Catholic institution.
Unfortunately, I have learned that Canisius does not recognize the existence of a very important minority that no doubt exists here. That minority is the homosexual minority, of which I am a part. I am attracted to both men and women, and identify with no labels. I feel I must speak for the entire Canisius community, and help to make everyone realize that we must embrace every member of this community, no matter their skin color, their gender, their economic status, their background, or their sexual orientation.
I admit that I have neither experienced nor observed any outright discrimination against gay people during my time spent as a student and active member of the community. I can, however, say that I have observed an outright assumption that we do not exist, especially on this campus. This in itself is reason enough for significant concern. I have wracked my brain trying to come up with a reason or two as to why there is no student group for gay, lesbian and bisexual members of the student body. I can think of no good ones. Despite the Jesuit mantra of “Men and Women for others” the school’s refusal to acknowledge the homosexual members of its faculty, staff and student body opens the door for discrimination in its various forms.
Many of my close friends here at Canisius have never been exposed to people of different sexual orientations than their own. There is nothing wrong with this, but when they attend a school like Canisius where it is assumed that we do not exist, they remain in a kind of ignorance. Or they accept the thought that, if such people do exist, there is something wrong with them, and it is okay to make fun of them, or even to hate them. Part of the reason they allow themselves to continue to think in this way is that they see that their school ignores the existence and indeed the very personhood of gay people. Why don’t we all just come out then, you may ask? Well, take a look around. The majority of the students are openly straight at Canisius. The College is Catholic. We rarely hear any opinions on gay people, and when we do, they are too often negative.
Many people who I consider very good friends here at Canisius, and who do not know about this aspect of myself, often make comments in my presence about gays that are often rude, insulting, ignorant, and most of all hurtful. This is in part a plea to every member of the school’s community to think about things before we say them, because we are everywhere. Do not assume that everyone you know is straight, especially since you are at Canisius.
We are human beings just like every other member of the College’s community—gay, straight, bisexual, black, white, male, female, young and old. I encourage the members of the College community to support any attempts to start a gay, lesbian and bisexual group on campus.
Do not assume that gay people are immoral, dirty, or in any way not normal. Homosexuality is in no way a choice. We are born this way, and cannot change this part of ourselves. Please accept us as such, or at the very least acknowledge our existence. Judge us as you would anyone: based on our kindness and our abilities as people, not based on who we love.