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There is no excuse

Michelle Patzelt | Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Last week I witnessed firsthand the ignorance, bigotry, and cowardice that persists on this campus. My disappointing experience can be summarized as follows.

I was walking with a friend, who happens to be gay, to an off-campus location to enjoy ourselves on St. Patrick’s Day. My friend was wearing a festive outfit which some might consider “flamboyant.” A group of Notre Dame students approached us and as they passed, one of them muttered, “Faggot.” Not one of his buddies spoke up against him. My friend tried not to show a reaction, but it soon became clear that this exchange had ruined his night. He opted to return back to his room rather than put himself in a situation where he could become a target of further disparagement.

In the two and a half years I have been at Notre Dame, not once have I witnessed such an overt display of hatred. It seemed to me that throughout the “non-discrimination clause” debate, the student body as a whole was largely accepting of the GLBTQ community. Each year this petition garners thousands of signatures, most of which come from students. However, in speaking with my friend about this issue, I have realized that ignorant views permeate the minds of more students than I had realized.

While I still believe that the majority are not so bigoted as to use a pejorative term against a stranger based on his clothing, I know that many harbor homophobic sentiments which they often do not hide well. This prejudice is unacceptable.

Cliché as it sounds, peer pressure is one of the most effective agents of change for social mores. I urge the students here to make it a point in their daily lives to rise above discrimination.

Regardless of your beliefs on the morality of homosexual behavior, there is no excuse for discriminating against homosexuals as individuals. I hope that this campus can work toward this goal and learn to be welcoming to GLBTQ students. They have as much a right as anyone else to be here, and we need to treat them accordingly.


Michelle Patzelt
Breen-Phillips Hall
March 23