The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Staring down homophobia

Raymond Herrly | Thursday, April 11, 2013

Please gather around, everyone. Today’s lesson concerns Carter Boyd’s article “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” published in Wednesday’s Observer.
Let me provide several quotes from Mr. Boyd’s article: “As a society, we don’t use the ‘God made this person that way’ argument to justify the behaviors of alcoholics, murderers, rapists, adulterers, robbers, swindlers, liars, cheaters or terrorists. Why do people use this argument for homosexuals.” “These crazes and fetishes of homosexuality have only developed in lavish, wasteful societies … ” “Jesus loved some of the wickedest people in his time … We must find a way to enter the hearts of those in our communities who struggle with homosexuality … heal them and change their hearts and lives.”
This is homophobia. Right here. Can everyone see clearly? Step forward and take a good look. Notice the false equivalencies at work (between homosexuals and terrorists, no less), stemming from an outdated and scientifically-refuted understanding of human sexual orientation and compounded by an inexcusable misreading of one of the most thoroughly studied books in existence today. Notice the pseudo-scientific, pseudo-historical analyses of the nature and extent of homosexuality in society, as well as the en passant dismissal of homosexuality as a “craze” and a “mania.” Notice especially the total lack of empathy (not compassion, Mr. Boyd, empathy) with any member of this community who identifies himself or herself as a homosexual, as well as the almost-willful disregard for the social and cultural stigmas which might perhaps have led to the rise of this “latest social justice fad” – or as it’s sometimes known, the LGBT rights movement. And above all, notice the laughably inaccurate and thoroughly discredited idea that a person can somehow determine his or her own sexual orientation is not just an unintended byproduct, as is often the case with this type of argument, but rather the foundation upon which rests the entire article.
 I also draw your attention to the fact that although some of the points made by Mr. Boyd might possibly be worthy of inclusion in a mature and well-informed debate, their salience, and indeed their validity, are thrown into jeopardy by the prejudiced and generally uninformed nature of the article as a whole. For check of proof, I refer you to the article directly across from Mr. Boyd’s, “True Matrimonial Equality” by Mark Gianfalla, that manages to address the timely issue of gay marriage, and in fact argue against it, without finding it necessary to include a quote about the gay movement as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”
This is homophobia. Don’t shy away. Don’t be afraid to look it in the eye, and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to call it what it is. Do note that it is not the person himself who is the problem (I am not accusing Mr. Boyd himself of being homophobic. I am sure he is not) but rather the arguments such as these, which create an unhealthy and at times actively-hostile environment for the LGBT community on this campus.
Any questions?

Raymond Herrly
Fisher Hall