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"Kiss-in" critic misunderstands gay rights

Will Scruggs' letter ["Lobby 7 `kiss-in' offends some heterosexuals, Nov. 14] is a beautiful example of the ignorance, heterosexism, and hateful tolerance that sexual minorities must strive against daily. He claims to support gay rights and quickly points out that he is not homophobic, but then tells how disgusted he is by something as simple as a kiss or a hug. His entire tone suggests that explicit and perverse sex acts occurred in Lobby 7 which disturbed the MIT community so greatly that gay rights has suffered because of the demonstration. He seems to have missed the entire purpose of the demonstration and willfully misinterpreted the participants' motives. Such a reaction can only be explained by his intolerance and internalized hate toward gay men and women.

Homophobia means more than "fear of homosexuals" in the simple semantic sense. It has many more manifestations which are just as phobic -- such as disgust, repulsion or hate. The "inappropriate display of physical attraction" and "the blatant homosexual contact" was mostly hugging within a large sampling of the MIT community. Over 10 student groups attended, fraternity and sorority members attended, as did MIT staff, and others. It was an act of live, unified, and shared support between homosexuals, bisexuals, and heterosexuals, not a wicked, gay orgy that defiled Lobby 7 as he seems to imply.

Scruggs professes to champion gay rights, but seems to have no understanding of them whatsoever. He claims that heterosexuals are tired of reading gay signs and posters, but what about the vastly larger barrage of heterosexual life that is forced upon us daily? You cannot walk to class or eat lunch without being reminded that you are in a straight world. You cannot watch a movie or read a book without being reminded that you are in a straight world. The few reminders that homosexuals exist, too, should not tip the scales so drastically that heterosexuals become "belligerent" toward gays, unless they have some originally deeper-rooted problem with homosexuals. Gays have a right to hold hands, and to kiss, and to love whomever they choose without being harassed or condemned. The attitudes that Scruggs supports in his letter are in condemnation of gay rights, not in support. Why does he see this as "forcing heterosexuals to see blatant homosexual contact" when we are "forced" to see the same contact between non-gay couples dozens of times each day?

Scruggs graciously offers to be tolerant toward gays if they keep to themselves and "try not to offend heterosexuals." This oppression is worse than any other kind. I know many that support black rights, but don't want blacks to move into their neighborhoods or work in their jobs. Differences should be accepted and enjoyed, not merely tolerated if the oppressive majority approves of the way those differences are expressed. No group that is fighting for equality and acceptance should strive to offend as few people as possible. It is those that take offense at the least provocation that should logically examine their own beliefs and why they are offended.

Jason Satterfield '90->