Letter to the Editor
I have been a student for a while now – I recently attended my seventh Welcome Week this September. In that time, I have grown from a closeted, small-town teenager to an educated mid-twenties openly gay man that strives to be inclusive.
One of the most disappointing and frankly unwelcoming experiences during my entire campus life was a recent Thursday partaking in Pub Trivia at the Owl. I have been drinking pitchers and answering questions there for years. Usually, the most disappointing thing is a handful of mom jokes that elicit eye-rolls from my table. But this time was different.
Early in the evening, one of the trivia team’s taglines – an opportunity to have something funny read aloud after each round – used very homophobic language for a laugh. More specifically, the word ‘faggot.’ A few teams chuckled, which I tried to shrug off. When one of the hosts announced something like “these are the kind of words we are looking for,” I was sick. I felt isolated and scared in a place I have been welcomed into hundreds of times. Moreover, I was saddened to see my student colleagues seemingly okay with what was going on.
Not only were the hosts insensitive, they were perpetuating the hateful language. The word ‘fag(got)’ was used a half-dozen times more, plus lines like “so-and-so sucks dick.” They eventually caught on that some participants were offended, and stopped. I guess that was the best they could do on National Coming Out Day. ‘National Go-back-in-the-closet Day’ was a much more accurate description for how I felt.
I love the Owl, and I won’t stop going. I know the management there does not condone such actions. I call on the Owl to handle this issue quickly and seriously, and I call upon the hosts – they know who they are – to publish a written apology and attend one of the many Positive Space Workshops provided by UR Pride. For the rest of us – don’t let jerks be jerks.