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The other shirt

Megan Trout | Friday, January 29, 2010

 It is just a shirt, just an orange shirt. But I have to admit it is hard for me to wear, and not just because orange is not my color. Suddenly when I wear that shirt on campus it is as though I am wearing a target, and people can say whatever they want to me or about me for wearing the shirt. But I make it a point to wear the shirt to show support; support for a group that is usually discriminated against and sometimes ignored (I will not go into which is worse). I want to support people on campus who have had the unfortunate experience of coming out at a place like Notre Dame, a place that is not known for welcoming those in the GLBTQ community, even if it does have a “Spirit of Inclusion.” It is only once a semester, but it is still important to me that I join with those brave enough to face the comments that orange shirt can bring.
People have a variety of reactions. “Couldn’t they have found a better phrase?” “I would never wear that shirt,” “It’s NOT fine by me” and even “Go to hell.” Yes: “Go to hell!”
Really? I was amused by the “Obama? Fine by me.” shirts. I really enjoyed the “Dumbeldore? Fine by me.” shirts, but “Gay? Go to hell?”
Thank you. Thank you Notre Dame students for demonstrating how ridiculously hard it is for GLBTQ people everyday, all of the time. Thank you for reminding me that this campus does not have the “Spirit of Inclusion” that it claims.
This is the obvious time to go off on a rant about how hateful and disrespectful it is to wear a shirt that tells someone to go to hell, and how absurd it would be if I wore a shirt that said “Catholic? (or male?) Go to hell.” I am simply here to say that I wore that shirt and I am glad that I did. And I am sorry that I had to be in class Wednesday at noon instead of standing next to those who protested. But I am the most sorry that we scare you so much that you feel like you have to tell us to go to hell.
We are trying to express love and support — not hate, so I will not return hate with hate but I will say that I am sorry that we scare you and I hope that you can find some sort of comfort in that “Spirit of Inclusion” here at Notre Dame.

Megan Trout
graduate student
off campus
Jan. 28