Volume 94, Issue 25
Friday, October 13, 2000
Where have all the gays gone?
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Traditionally, the week following Thanksgiving is proclaimed by the University Students' Council as Coming Out Week, a time for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students at Western to feel a sense of pride about their sexuality.
Yet the question remains where are all the homosexuals?
Surely many of you are thinking to yourself, "Coming Out Week why haven't I seen anything?" Rest assured, you're not alone; thoughts like this are certainly indicative of the sorry state of gay affairs on this campus.
In fact, this year's Coming Out Week has passed with barely a whimper. Aside from the omnipresent drag queen show, there didn't seem to be much support for the week's events. At first glance, it would be easy to pin the blame squarely on organizers, yet the lack of student interest or involvement is hardly something they can control or even gauge.
Still, the involvement is not there and that's disconcerting. Countless social groups have failed because no one seems interested in attending meetings or socials. Western, a school with almost 30,000 students, is likely the only school of its size in Canada to be without some form of gay and lesbian social or political group.
Despite efforts from both administration and the USC to create a strong, gay positive infrastructure on campus, a majority of gay students continue to view the world of Western from the cracks within their figurative closet doors.
Consider the following efforts in particular:
In almost every washroom on campus, a set of telephone numbers are posted on the wall adjacent to the sink, including one intended to assist students struggling with their sexuality.
The Student Development Centre offers significant support services available to students, while Positive Space training for Residence Advisors, dons and a select number of orientation sophs gives first-year students a primary link to positivity about their sexual orientation at Western.
Even though some may argue it's pandering, self-promotion, even the USC's board of directors show their support for gay and lesbians by marching in London's annual Gay Pride Parade.
Finally, the Pride Library is an entire room full of resources and archives exploring a wide scope of gay and lesbian culture. It's the only library of its kind on a university campus in Canada.
Yet no matter what infrastructure is built, nothing seems strong enough to tear down Western's wall of heterosexuality and bring forth a Trojan horse full of homosexuals. As a gay man walking through this campus, I cannot help but feel like I am the only one, lost in this massive sea of straight people. It's like Where's Waldo, but with a contemporary, better-dressed gay spin.
Despite the efforts of Western's key administrators, gay students are not getting the message. They continue to sit on the fence and keep their sexuality a secret. What are they waiting for who knows? To many, Western may be a place to lead and think, but it has yet to prove itself as a safe place to "come out."
Rather, it's a place where homosexuals refuse to raise their voices and speak their truths because no one, it seems, wants to hear them.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000