LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Did you know there is a Queer-Straight Alliance in Abilene whose members include ACU students? No? Did you know that two weeks ago was Ally Week, conducted in opposition to harassment and discrimination against queer people?
You probably didn’t, because the administration does not allow us to publicize our activities or conduct them on campus. We understand the administration’s reasoning and sympathize with their obstacles. It would probably be easier for them if queer students and their allies would go away or be quiet. But we cannot go away, and we will not be quiet.
ACU’s culture of silence on GLBTQ issues needs to end. It seems many in the student body have forgotten about SoulForce’s visit and the promise for more Chapel forums and discussion on this topic. But we have not forgotten. Dr. Beck’s Chapel conversation last Tuesday was a start, but there is still a long way to go before the silence is ended.
This culture of silence is toxic to queer students, because it tells them they are alone, that no one wants to hear from them, that their identities are shameful and must be kept secret. How many queer teenagers have committed suicide in the past month because their classmates did not accept them? The culture of silence is harmful to straight students, because we are uneducated and unprepared to conduct Christian service and leadership in a world that increasingly includes openly queer people. If ACU is to fulfill its mission, we must be able to discuss these issues openly between the students and the administration. We must be able and willing to learn from each other.
Did you know that there are dozens of queer students in ACU’s community? Did you know that they are your friends, your classmates and your neighbors? Did you know that they are your brothers and sisters, and that true Christian community is impossible where people’s identities are secret, shameful and silent? I believe this community is necessary and possible. Do you?
It’s time to find out. The silence ends now. Start the conversation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Ruth Riggan, senior missions major from Concord, Calif.
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