Volume 95, Issue 36

Tuesday, November 6, 2001
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Perched on rooftops and in unmarked vans

This just in: CentreSpot's a huge ripoff

Let's open our eyes and look at each other

Let's open our eyes and look at each other

Re: "Perpetuating gay stereotypes," Oct. 24

To the Editor:

I am amazed at the amount of na•veté Mandi Caputi shows about her own university community in her letter that questioned the "propriety" of having a drag show in the University Community Centre atrium as a central event for the Coming Out Week program.

At issue is the broad comment that "Western is not a 'gay' community as such." Somehow she has equated 'gay' with 'drag queen' in her assessment of the diverse student population at Western.

This is sad. It's sad mainly because she doesn't even know the richness and plurality of voices to be experienced all around her and also appears to be making sweeping generalizations.

Such generalizations, she asserts, only serve to reinforce stereotypes in society. This is another point where she has lost me – "not everyone who is gay dresses in drag," she says, but doesn't mention that not everyone who dresses in drag is gay.

What strikes me about these statements is there is an inherent definition of what society defines as an "acceptable" representative of these communities when, in fact, there can never be a singular definition or a common history attached to a community as large as this.

The many gay/lesbian/bisexual/transvestite communities are as diverse in appearance, lifestyle, occupation, education level and social "class" as every other community in the world – it is not something specific to people loving others of their own gender.

Opening up the mind to this truism will help to overcome the use of stereotypes about all kinds of people in our society and world.

Let's open our eyes and look at each other instead of at each other's clothes for just a minute and maybe, just maybe, our minds will open as well.

Mike Bickerton

Media, Information and Technoculture 2001

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