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Jesuit University Hosts Drag Show, Gay Studies

By Matt Abbott
Op/Ed

There is so much of this type of thing that it's becoming a non-story. Still, it doesn't hurt to shed a little light on the darkness, particularly when it involves a purportedly Catholic institution.

"Santa Clara University is a Catholic and Jesuit institution that makes student learning its central focus, promotes faculty and staff learning in its various forms, and exhibits organizational learning as it deals with the challenges facing it," according to the university's website.

It just so happens that SCU has a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alliance (GALA), which has its own website. We learn that GALA has a page titled "What is homophobia?"

According to GALA, "homophobia" can be defined in the following terms:

"Different people have different views about sex and sexuality. Some people have very powerful fears of homosexuality and homosexual people: called 'homophobia'. This section has background information about homophobia. This is only an introduction to the topic.

"What causes homophobia? Psychologists and sociologists suggest there are a number of sources of homophobia:

"Maintaining power

One view is that men use hostility to homosexuals to reassure themselves about their own (hetero)sexuality and masculinity and to assert the dominance of 'masculine' men over women and 'effeminate' men.

"Prejudice

Another view is that this fear (a negative feeling) becomes self-righteousness (a 'positive' feeling). This self-righteousness is then used as a cover or excuse for prejudice. This self-righteousness can take the form of a 'moral repugnance' of homosexuality or 'being sickened by' homosexuals. These prejudices might provide a basis for other, seemingly 'rational' accounts for homophobia, such as a belief that homosexuals are a sexual threat to children or that homosexuality is a 'sin'.

"Denial

Another view is that people who have homosexual feelings themselves want to deny this because society does not approve of homosexuality. This confusion and conflict causes them to want to distance themselves from people they perceive as homosexual. In other words, people bash and hassle people they think are gay or lesbian as a way of showing that they aren't themselves. Most people who use violence against lesbians and gay men are younger people - the age when we have to start sorting out our own sexuality. Some studies have shown that people with homophobic attitudes often have same-sex attractions themselves.

"The need to hate

Some people with low self-esteem appear to need to identify some minority that they can hate and feel superior to. Over the past 50 years, African-Americans, Communists, and now gays and lesbians have fulfilled this role in sequence. If their religious faith supports bigotry against that minority, then they are given additional justification for their hatred. Many churches teach that one must love the homosexual while hating the homosexuality; this concept is usually lost on these people; they end up hating both the homosexual and the homosexuality. If you disagree with this statement, just look at the faces contorted with rage at any meeting or demonstration attended by those opposed for equal rights for homosexuals.

"Control mechanism

Another view about why homophobia happens is that homophobia is a way to maintain control over people's behaviour. This view sees that 'society' regulates or makes people conform through a range of attitudes and values. Homophobia might be just one.

"Maintaining privilege

Another view is that some groups of people are marginalised and blamed for social problems so that other, more powerful groups can keep their privileges and benefits. This view holds that some groups of people are disadvantaged and discriminated against to keep things the way they are.

"No one knows for sure

For many homophobes (persons who exhibit homophobia) these multiple meanings are not troublesome. An individual who hates homosexuality may well hate homosexuals as well, and probably discriminates against them. Their hatred is typically based on fear. However, many conservative religious people become distressed when the term is used to define their beliefs and actions. Some state that they, and their God, hate homosexuality but love the homosexual. They do not wish to be lumped with racists and sexists. This is one of the most rampant forms of homophobia."

In addition, SCU "has put five gay studies classes and a drag show into rotation." Why the drag show? GALA says it's to work "against the homophobic conditioning that compromises the integrity of heterosexual people by pressuring them to treat others badly, actions contrary to their basic humanity. The event also seeks to appreciate gender diversity, increasing everyone's safety because each person has unique traits not considered mainstream."

For those who wish to see photos from the "First Annual Drag Show 2001-2002," click on the following link: http://www-acc.scu.edu/clubs/GALA/Photos/Drag2001.htm.

Not surprisingly, the official teaching of the Church regarding homosexuality is nowhere to be found on GALA's website.

Contact

Matt Abbott
IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author,

Email

mattcabbott@hotmail.com

Keywords

Catholic, Abbott

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