‘That’s so gay’

By Deanna Cabinian

“What do you think of when you hear the word ‘gay’?”

That’s what Margie Cook, coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, asked students who attended Wednesday night’s “That’s So Gay” presentation at the Grant Towers North lower lounge.

The program began with about 35 students brainstorming what they think of when they hear the word “gay.” People came up with words such as “different,” “queer,” “fag,” “oppressed” and many other terms.

“I think it’s safe to say that perceptions of gay people are predominantly negative,” Cook said. She said that even though attitudes toward homosexuals are better today than they were in the past, they still are mostly negative.

After the brainstorming session, Cook had students pair up to talk about how their lives would be different if they had a different sexual identity. In this role-playing exercise, students talked about how their sexual orientation would impact different areas of their lives, such as their relationships with family and friends.

There also was a panel discussion, in which two gay students and one bisexual student talked about their experiences with LGBT issues and what it was like for them coming out to their families and friends. Two straight students that were also part of the panel talked about why supporting the LGBT community is important to them.

The last part of the presentation dealt with how to be an ally to the LGBT community. Cook said ways to support the LGBT community include attending LGBT events, refraining from using offensive terms such as “fag” or “that’s so gay,” and being open-minded toward people with a different sexual orientation.

“Don’t assume every gay person has to fit a mold,” Cook said. “Stereotypes don’t always hold true.”

Cook said that often lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are defined only in terms of their sexuality.

“See past the label,” she said. She said students should realize there is more to people than their sexual orientation.

“I thought it was a good learning opportunity. It’s always good to learn about different types of people,” said junior political science major Mary Scapley.

Matthew Kreps, a senior history major and peer minister at United Campus Ministries said, “As a Christian, I believe we all need to love each other. Most Christians don’t do that. They need to be open and not tolerate hate.”