*This is my response to Chelsea Heaton’s letter from February 21st 2017 “As USU students we should feel safe to disagree in class, right?”
As USU students we should feel safe to come to class
In the case of LGBTQ individuals feeling “safe” has not been the norm. What Chelsea advocated for is a return to the “norm”. A norm that advocates for the discrimination of people based on who they are. she is coming from a perspective of always being in the majority, and now that equality is finally gaining momentum she feels threatened. Furthermore, she is advocating against a core principle of this country, a separation of church and state. Those core beliefs that she mentions are firmly based in religion and therefore have no merit in a state facility or in the law system of the United States of America. I have always been perplexed as to why people feel that they need to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else (I am a heterosexual male, the bible tells me that I should be a heterosexual male, therefore everyone should be a heterosexual male and we should stone those who are not). LGBTQ activists are not asking you to be gay or to be bi or lesbian they are simply asking you to accept them for who they are. Whether you agree with their lifestyle or not is not the point. You have your right to believe whatever you want but you do not have the right to suppress others. People should be free to choose how they want to live their lives without the fear that others are going to persecute them for it. Some may believe that LGBTQ lifestyles are morally wrong but that does not give them the right to oppress them. I think what the writer of “As USU students we should feel safe to disagree in class, right?” fundamentally does not understand is that members of the LGBTQ community have lived in fear for generations. They are only now finding the courage to stand up for not only their beliefs but their rights as individuals. I don’t know where the author got her 60% figure but the fact that we are even talking about this issue in class tells me that the percentage of students who disagree with being “welcoming and tolerant” to those in the LGBTQ community is much less than 60%. In fact, by claiming this fact she is in effect trying to use peer pressure to initiate a response from a greater number of students who oppose any form of acceptance of LGBTQ students by inferring that her beliefs are in fact in the majority (which since tolerance of LGBTQ people is still as issue is most likely the case). In addition, she is publicly shaming people for being accepting and welcoming to new ideas and praising those who won’t even come to the table. The LGBTQ community has been “STANDING” for something that isn’t popular for a long time and even still have trouble being welcomed, accepted, and even tolerated in schools, in public, and in the world. Continuing to support the authors rhetoric only continues to hurt good people and separate communities. It’s time to be more accepting and open to other people, cultures, and Identities. You can believe what you want but please don’t dismiss something purely because you disagree with it. Take a minute listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from before racing to judge and condemn.
— Bret N. Mossman