Homosexuality and closely related issues have become more frequent on FAMU’s campus. Homophobia, coming out of the closet, and discrimination against gays are just a few matters that students face.
“There have been complaints about homosexual roommates,” said Marvin Thompson Jr., a resident assistant in Gibbs Hall.
Thompson, a sophomore math student from Atlanta, said homosexuality has been discussed at quite a few hall meetings, which are held to address residents’ concerns.
“You can’t do anything unless the person is infringing upon your rights,” he said. “Nor can they be kicked out based on [sexual orientation].”
According to an article in the Sept. 25, 2001 issue of “The Advocate,” a national gay and lesbian news magazine, gays and lesbians are living in 99.3 percent of all counties in the United States.
Yet it is still hard for many to be open about their sexual choices.
“It is psychologically damaging living in the closet. Homosexuals should inform their friends and family members about their sexual orientation,” said Terrell Freeman, director of student affairs and a counselor at the Center for Human Development.
According to the American Psychological Association, the “coming out” process is often difficult for lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals.
Depending on their families and living environment, they may have to struggle against prejudice and misinformation about homosexuality. Gays and lesbians also fear the possibility of being rejected by family, co-workers and religious institutions.
For people with loved ones who have “come out,” professionals say it is best not to overreact.
“Sexuality shouldn’t be the standard for love or friendship,” said Gwendolyn Singleton, a professor of psychology. “Don’t try to be the judge and jury. They (homosexuals) are the same people that you loved before.”
Students on campus are becoming more accepting of homosexuality and are knowingly interacting with gays.
Jessica Bryant, 21, a senior business administration student from Palm City said, “I have several friends that are gay.”
Although she maintains her friendships with them, she admits feeling weird around her lesbian friends, but is not as uncomfortable with her gay male friends.
However, some people have a tendency to be more receptive of lesbianism than male homosexuals despite the fact that both men and women can be gay.
Singleton said, in general, society’s standards are based on views of men. So while some men might find lesbians arousing, gay men are ridiculed.
“Females are softer. I don’t mind if women are homosexual, but men should not be gay,” said Michael Williams, 18, a freshman business management student from Orlando.
Singleton said that homophobia is fueled by ignorance.
“Homophobia is spurred by believing things that are presented without finding out the facts.”
Contact Yolanda Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org