It’s not easy being white, middle class, and heterosexual. Just ask the students at Youngston State University in Ohio. Earlier this week they began distributing posters advertising “Straight Pride Week” from May 1 to May 8. (Not to nitpick, kiddos, but calling your eight day festival a “week” is inaccurate. Technically, it’s a week and a day.)
The posters, which were plastered anonymously across campus, called for students to kick off finals week “by not annoying the shit out of everyone about your sexual orientation,” and not “telling everyone how ‘different’ you are.”
The bottom of the poster read: “Brought to you by the students that are sick of hearing about your LGBT pride. Nobody cares about what you think you are, or what you want to have sex with. We have nothing against your sexual orientation. We just don’t give a fuck.”
The posters were quickly removed by school officials, who called the idea of a university-sanctioned straight pride week “completely bogus.”
“Reaction has ranged from concern to outrage,” Ron Cole, the university’s public information officer, told The Huffington Post. “While we recognize the right to free speech, this is counter to our mission of being a diverse and accepting campus.”
Several students felt rattled by the homophobic signage.
“This feels like it came out of nowhere,” Lisa Ronquillo, vice president of YSUnity, said. “I honestly feel blindsided by it. It’s not something that I expected from our student body. Everybody for the most part, they’re angry, they’re confused.”
The YSU student government association released the following statement in response to the posters:
When individuals belong to dominant societal cohorts (Caucasian, male, heterosexual, etc.) it is very easy to state “We have nothing against your sexual orientation” and to claim that efforts to raise awareness are “annoying.” For minorities who every day face discrimination and marginalization, such efforts are necessary — without zeal and persistence, sociology teaches that minority concerns very easily go by the wayside. Thus, dismissing the efforts of LGBTQIA students to push for equitable treatment as unnecessary is dangerous because it catalyzes discrimination, whether meant to do so or not.
“There’s no room for this on a university campus,” Ronquillo said. “It’s unprofessional, it’s childish and we need to get people to see we’re just like you, we’re not trying to force an agenda. We need to pull together as a community.”