The University of Virginia has a bit of a problem on its hands. Its football team has a very long culture of homophobia that it just can’t seem to quit. But that might be changing soon… Maybe… Possibly… Hopefully… We’ll see?
The school’s fight song “The Good Old Song” has long been a point of contention between LGBTQ people and football fans.
The issue stems from the lyrics to song’s opening verse, which are are as follows:
That good old song of Wah-hoo-wah—we’ll sing it o’er and o’er,
It cheers our hearts and warms our blood to hear them shout and roar,
We come from old Virginia, where all is bright and gay,
Let’s all join hands and give a yell for the dear old UVA.
Since the 1970s, fans have chanted “not gay” after the word “gay.” Over the years, many have called for the homophobic chant to end, but to no avail.
In 2001, a petition circulated urging the school to take action on the issue. A campus protest was also staged. Nothing ever came of either.
In 2012, a resolution was passed by the school’s student council calling for the chant to stop. The resolution was ignored.
Now, nearly 20 years after being asked to do something about the problem, the school is finally taking some action.
On Friday, it released a video featuring UVA football players, students, and celebrity alums like Tina Fey, asking football fans to please stop from using the homophobic chant.
Going forward, the video will air in the stadium before every game in the hopes that fans will take the message to heart.
While the PSA is definitely a step in the right direction, not everyone thinks it’s enough.
as glad as i am that the good old song no longer has "not gay" smack in the middle of it, it's very on-brand for UVA to pat itself on the back for doing "slightly better" than blatant homophobia
— annie (@avparnell) September 4, 2019
Augusta Free Press columnist Chris Graham went so far as to say the school should just scrap the song altogether, writing:
Here’s another idea: scrap “The Good Old Song.” There’s no place to “not gay!” if there’s no “Good Old Song.” Yeah, I get it, this is another “this is why we can’t have good things” kind of thing. A few people – OK, not exactly a few people; it’s a lot of people – continue to f*ck this up for everybody. And getting rid of the song is letting them win. News flash: they’re already winning. They’re pretty much farting in our general direction every time UVA scores. The video was a nice touch, but it’s not going to work. So, scrap the song. We’re not exactly beholden to tradition anymore.
UVA obviously is a gay school or it wouldn’t sing the song. Like…duh! If I were lgbtq there I’d ride on that. But then who needs more conflict, scrap the song for a better and more accurate one. Or just change a few words in the lyrics. Talk about SLOW to the party. Like 40 years over due. And I thought the Catholic Church was more dumb slow to change.
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Virginia is for Lovers. Hmm. That has been around since I was a much younger gay man, and most of us laughed at the mantra. But, I remember when in Virginia straight couples could not live together in the same apartment unless married. That prohibition was in fact part of the standard form lease.
UVA has an excellent academic reputation. But, it may take a few more centuries before those good ole boys admit they like one up their ass and one down their throat. Queerly denial is still in fashion, forcing many into the dark reaches of the underbrush or forest after dark.
Or, more commonly, Cabell Hall. Find a late night “study” room, close the door, and do whatever your sweet gay hearts desire. During my time at UVA Cabell was better than Disneyland.
As a UVA graduate I can tell you Cabell Hall was extremely active. More like a bath house then any thing.
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