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Why the “Fucking Fag” Faces Homophobia (A Response to Last Week’s Letter, “Why A “Fucking Fag” Has Had Enough of the Homophobia in Isla Vista”)



It’s a paradox really. To have one of the most gay-friendly campuses in the UC system, with numerous programs dedicated to, and for, the support of the LGBT community and then less than a 20-minute walk away have a community where anti-gay slurs are commonplace. It makes me think of São Paulo in Brazil, glimmering skyscrapers and affluence literally across a highway from slums.

 

That said, the writer of the letter published on Nov. 5 was foolish for expecting any less out of the peoples of Isla Vista. Now, as someone who would identify himself as a bisexual male, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at me (I don’t wear bright clothing and hate “Jersey Shore”), I can say I never condone homophobia. However it’s simply something you put up with in these circumstances. I am referring, of course, to the Isla Vista party scene.

 

The homophobia in the I.V. party scene stems from two sources, the best I can tell. One is the male culture of Isla Vista itself. Perpetuated by MTV and other television shows that depict college life as a drunken orgy, it is commonly believed that alcohol is the medium of exchange. Young girls come to parties to be provided alcohol and in exchange are expected to flirt, dance and in general “hookup” (whatever your definition of the word may be). But this notion also encourages a form of masculinity that revolves around men being the dominant structure in this exchange.

 

Anything perceived as being weak is criticized or attacked by men to assure not only their own dominance, but to put down the weaker individual to separate themselves from that weakness. In this case homosexual men (and women) are perceived as weak because they don’t fit into the accepted cultural exchange of alcohol for human company. Ergo those who identify as or are perceived as homosexuals are berated and ostracized by those who fear being seen as weak themselves. And that is the root of most modern homophobia.

 

The second major cause of homophobia is the Greek system. Don’t get me wrong, the Greek system is not homophobic in and of itself (go to any frat party and you’ll see plenty of girls kissing and more), but unfortunately it reinforces the masculine notion of domination.

 

Again, plenty of members of the Greek system genuinely support gay rights. Despite this however, the Greek system represents the alcohol-for-human-company exchange more than any other organization. Have you been to a frat party? There are more handles and cans of beer than people! And so even if many members of the Greek system truly advocate for gay rights the system itself unintentionally perpetuates a belief that encourages homophobia.

 

It also comes down to their notion of, well, fraternity. A Greek friend of mine once told me that part of being in a frat is brotherhood and that “it would be weird if one brother wanted to sleep with another.” Again, nothing inherently homophobic about it, but that line of reasoning provides the mentality that gays, and for sororities, lesbians, cannot be part of this “sacred bond,” as my friend put it.

 

But this brings me to my main, wonderful, point. Unlike many other campuses, Greek houses don’t have the monopoly on partying. Not only that, but there are many cases of partying specifically tailored to LGBT partygoers. I’ve heard about numerous “gay parties” from my female friends and the costumed and themed parties thrown by various groups, including sports teams and clubs, provide an outlet for the flamboyant in the LGBT community. So there are outlets for those who wish to go party-going and happen to be gay.

 

Is homophobia wrong? Yes. And I’m in favor of removing hateful speech from legally protected places such as the workspace or schools. But you have no Constitutional right to party, no legal protection against apartment party bouncers and the Supreme Court has yet to rule on quotas for ragers (they’re too busy with racial quotas right now). If someone calls you a hateful name, sue them; that’s your right. If they commit a crime against you because you’re gay, report it; juries eat up hate crimes. But when walking into a party you should have nothing to expect about the treatment you’ll receive if it’s not your party. Get mad all you want but as long as the party culture dominates, I.V. homophobia will always exist. These are my observations.

 

Scott Camus is a third-year economics major.

 

 

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.

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One Response to Why the “Fucking Fag” Faces Homophobia (A Response to Last Week’s Letter, “Why A “Fucking Fag” Has Had Enough of the Homophobia in Isla Vista”)

  1. Taylor Reply

    December 27, 2012 at 2:37 am

    I wouldn’t say that Greek system inadvertently causes homophobia. That’s a far reach if anything.

    I agree on some points: that culturally homosexuality isn’t popular, and that fraternities are expected to have a plethora of alcohol. That one causes more separation and hate towards a group is a correlation at max.

    To paraphrase your argument:

    Guys with alcohol, bash on gays to impress girls who want alcohol. Or at least make guys like gay guys less.

    Now in my mind -to a girl- hating on a minority group probably doesn’t seem attractive, nor would bullying be, nor is using words to put others down (ladies if I’m wrong please let me know). So to me, that argument is invalid.

    If you find a group of people you enjoy spending time with and feel like they’re family, join that fraternity. if they are that close, then your sexual preference shouldn’t matter. If you aren’t that close enough to where they would accept you, why would you want a bond with those people? Shoot, make your own fraternity. Greek life is about making a new connection with people.

    Just because you’re in these groups doesn’t dictate how you view masculinity. Some of my friends in and out of fraternities view masculinity as muscle mass, how many girls they pull, how much money they make, the clothes the wear, and even the grades they get in school. Masculinity is all relative. Therefore, I can say with utmost certainty that being in a fraternity, with no influence from their own upbringing previous the Greek system, didn’t make people start thinking to themselves, “oh I don’t feel manly, better go put some minority group down”. That is a personal problem. Bringing in the WHOLE Greek system just seems like a lazy cop out.

    I like the idea, of trying to find a cause for homophobia, bringing awareness to it, and hopefully fixing it, but by making shallow accusations like that just isn’t fair to a system that as you have said has worked towards resolving the issue.

    Taylor

    PS: To the point of “it would be weird if one brother wanted to sleep with another”

    Yeah, big surprise. It’d be weird to me if my sister wanted to sleep with me too(which would actually be really funny because she’s a lesbian). Fraternities and sororities are family. I don’t know if there are or aren’t gays in the Greek system, but in the scenario that two were in the same house, they wouldn’t want to anyway because they are connected through that sacred bond of family.

    Good night.

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