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A spirit that is not afraid

COLUMN | Stop homophobic humor

The Auburn and Opelika communities gather at Kiesel Park to celebrate Pride on the Plains on June 5, 2022.
The Auburn and Opelika communities gather at Kiesel Park to celebrate Pride on the Plains on June 5, 2022.

To everyone who reads, 

Maybe you’re looking for advice, or maybe you’re just reading because the buzzword set you off. Regardless of the reason, I applaud your agency and willingness to listen.

This issue is one that divides and cuts deep into our ideas about identity, morality and human decency. 

If you take away one thing, let it be this: the issue of homophobic humor is not one of a political stance, it is about showing respect to other humans — or it reveals a lack thereof. 

I believe there are three reasons for homophobic humor: a genuine belief that it is okay, a lack of criticism for one’s cultural upbringing and, lastly, peer pressure. 

This is not an attempt to justify homophobic humor only an attempt to make the problem clear by putting it into words. 

If you truly believe that it is okay to make fun of the LGBTQ+ community, you probably aren’t reading this. 

But on the offhand chance that you are, I ask you: what about this people group is so different that you believe you are superior — and superior enough to hegemonize? That is a personal issue of pride. 

The inability to interact with an entire community because they behave differently is not only uncompromising but is becoming impossible in today’s progressing culture.

Even if you disagree with their way of life, it should not reflect the way you treat members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

In your eyes, they could be different, maybe even opposite, but it remains a lateral comparison. 

A person’s existence and interaction with the world should be unaffected by relative opinions, that hold no moral weight in their life. More simply put, personal convictions are not enough to treat someone negatively. 

Maybe, homophobic humor is a knee-jerk reaction. Being raised in a culture that is unaccepting is difficult to break out of.

However, it is your responsibility to manage how your upbringing can lead to discriminatory behavior.

Being unfamiliar with and distanced from the LGBTQ+ community does not justify mistreatment or jokes at their expense. 

Old habits cannot override equality. 

It takes awareness and critical thinking to analyze one’s culturally instilled ideas, but this is absolutely necessary to be a responsible member of today’s society. 

If a set of beliefs tells you that it’s okay to mistreat people, examining those should be your order of action. This issue cannot stay suspended in empty space. Each of us must connect the dots between convictions and justice to function in this world.

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Maybe the reason you tolerate homophobic humor is due to peer pressure. The solution, once again, is critical thought. It may take more bravery to confront peer pressure than it does to confront habits or personal beliefs, but you must let human respect be your motivation. 

It might be awkward to disagree with people from high school or a group of friends you’re trying to be cool with. However, it is right and necessary to challenge prejudiced behavior. 

On the flip side, just because someone has made an inappropriate joke in the past doesn’t mean they ought to be blocked off forever. If we do that, we are stunting any positive growth and killing the opportunity for any change to take place. 

The purpose of this column is to encourage introspection and growth. We can all be more responsible and considerate humans; we can apply these principles to any other realm of inappropriate jokes or injustices. 

It is not the job of the LGBTQ+ community to educate others on how to interact with them, but honor, respect and kindness are good places to start. 

I hope this column starts dialogue even if it’s internal. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for listening. I hope you found something meaningful. 

The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors. 

These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.

Sami Grace Donnelly | Communications Liaison

Sami Grace Donnelly, senior in English literature, began writing for the Plainsman in the Fall of 2021. She has served as a columnist, the Opinion Editor, writer abroad and is now an executive member of the Plainsman's editorial board.


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