*This is an opinion column.
So, imagine this. You find out that someone you know, Sally Mae, is having a birthday party and everyone is invited. You don’t really like Sally Mae or agree with some of her actions. What do you do? Do you consistently make posts or comment under the birthday flyer about how much you hate Sally and cannot wait to miss her birthday party? Or do you let Sally enjoy something special to her, regardless of how it makes you feel?
This is a perfect metaphor for members of Spectrum and other organizations starting a project, Rolling Rainbows. Spectrum looks to roll trees in rainbow, black and brown toilet paper as a sign of solidarity with LGBTQ students and students of color.
After The Plainsman article was released, many in opposition of the event were outspoken in posts and comments.
Comments like “do some of the students plan to roll Toomer’s with toilet paper to promote inclusivity of straight students?”
Or “can’t say that I’ve ever thought about someone being a racist or homophobic for their use of toilet paper. If your feelings are hurt because of my toilet paper, it really isn’t my problem.”
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Or, one of my favorites, “okay. I’m gonna throw some Hillary Clinton TP too.”
So, here’s the thing. If you are not willing to attend, support or take part in this protest, then just don’t show up.
Surprisingly, it’s just that simple. Regardless of how you feel about Sally Mae, she is allowed to celebrate something important to her. Though you may not like her, she has the right to spend time and rejoice with the people who do.
If you don’t like Sally Mae and skip the party, no one would care or even notice. It you are commenting hurtful things under Sally’s birthday invitation or try to persuade others not to attend, it says nothing about Sally and plenty about you.
It is not wrong of you to skip Sally’s party. It’s wrong of you to attempt to taint Sally’s party or take away her right to have one.
Homophobia is not a difference of belief. Homophobia is being opposed to someone’s freedom, simply because it does not align with yours.
Sally is not forcing anyone to come to her party. It’s open to everyone. Just because Sally wants to celebrate something important to her doesn’t mean that she is begging for your approval. It simply means she wants people who do support and love her to attend something meant to serve as a celebration of her life and all she has accomplished.
LGBTQ people are not forcing things down your throat. They are not begging for you to love and accept them. They are not pleading for you to attend Pride parades or subscribe to the same belief that they have.
They are simply throwing an event for those that support them.
There is one difference between this event and Sally’s birthday party. If you are upset that Sally is having a birthday party and you aren’t, then you can have a party of your own when your birthday comes around.
The difference is that all people experience a birthday, but not all people experience homophobia or transphobia.
The difference is that all people experience a birthday, but not all people are kicked out of their home or abused within it because of their sexuality.
The difference is that the average life expectancy of an American is 78, but the life expectancy of a trans woman of color is 35.
The difference is that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Services, LGBTq youth contemplate suicide at three times the rate of heterosexual teenagers.
The difference is that all people experience a birthday, but because of their sexuality, some experience fewer birthdays than their cisgender, straight counterparts.
The reason these differences (higher suicide rate and lower life expectancy) exist are because of the vicious rhetoric that people receive when they extend an invitation.
Don’t try to put an end to the event. Simply decline the invitation.
So, you want to join me in celebrating this community, and an Auburn win, then I cannot wait! If you would rather not, then that’s okay too.
Also, do me a favor. Please make sure that there are no homophobes at my birthday party.
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