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March 31, 2005

A Letter to the Homophobic Student

Matt Bowers

Dear Friend,

      I write this in response to your recent efforts to stall the inclusion of the term “sexual orientation” in your university’s non-discrimination clause.

      I would like to preface this letter by admitting my outsider status, being neither homosexual nor well-learned in the catechism. But it seems that at this especially crucial time of policy change at Boston College, the Jesuit ideals of love, compassion, and tolerance that are at its very foundation are stained by a homophobia that undermines its practice.

      Although your university is adhering to state law which allows them to bar two words from a discrimination clause, it seems awfully stubborn and academically bankrupt to starve a student body of powerful and unique minds, as they have done over the years past. The absence of the words “sexual-orientation” in the clause certainly has and will continue to deter a more diverse, tolerant, and astute student and professor population, which smacks of impudence.

      First, you must understand the source of your hatred, namely, fear. George Weinberg, the psychologist who coined the term “homophobia,” describes it as “a morbid and irrational behavior flight or the desire to destroy the stimulus for the phobia and anything reminiscent of it.” Your homophobia may come from subconscious jealously toward sexually unrestricted, creative, and open-minded people, whose freedom and identities you want to crush.

      It’s also an intrinsic fear among homophobes that gays are tirelessly conspiring to get into the pants of “straight” people like you. You may feel threatened by the prospects of being overcome by someone of the same sex, which is often an inescapable feeling no matter how tolerant one is. But this is a fear of being dominated or marked as territory, a rape that rears its ugly face everywhere from wars to jail cells to everyday life. That fear speaks of a different type of homosexual expression, one that is not the love between same-sex partners that disgusts you, but a mixture of hatred, dominance, and everything ugly.

      Second, the idea that homosexuality is a disease is absurd according to today’s psychological research. A July 1994 record of The American Psychological Association’s Statement on Homosexuality reads “…The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sex. Study after study documents the mental health of gay men and lesbians. Studies of judged stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals.”

      And finally, the Church. The Catholic Church does not condone homosexuality, and defines it in the Catholic Encyclopedia as "[s]exual activity between persons of the same sex. It is not normal considering the acts being against nature are objectively wrong." Then if homosexuals deviate from the “natural” because they cannot procreate, isn't it the same for all non-procreative sexual activity (for example, masturbation, partner masturbation or sex with contraception) is unnatural and therefore not exempt from such judgment? So is it right for you to reject homosexuality if you yourself engage in sexual activity that doesn't allow for conception?

      Underlying the Church's intolerance of homosexuality is love, which is greater than fear and greater than homophobia. The catechism says the following: [IN #2358] 8) Homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, and every sign of unjust discrimination should be avoided. So is your disdain for gays truly rooted in your faith? Is your school justified in discriminating against homosexuals, be it student admissions or the hiring of professors? Or is it fear working here, I wonder? I look forward to continuing a civil dialog with the community over this matter.


Matt Bowers

Front Page (March 31, 2005)

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