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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 9, 1973)
I want to single out the more subtle kinds of oppression.
I wish straights could understand the feeling of being
smothered every day by values and behaviour which not
only negates one's whole existence, but which also is
destructive to them. Perhaps minority groups can
understand, but never completely. Although they have been
cast as a minority group politically, gays can disappear into
the fabric of society. Few gay people are recognized and
the "closets" are full of persons who keep this part of their
lives a secret.
Maybe this would come in handy, (I'll admidt I
sometimes feel like a mouse in a corner), but the main
result of hiding one's gayness is internalizing the
oppression. Not only do gays feel badly about what people
say, but they don't dare object for fear of disclosing their
Let me give you a few examples of the day-to-day
oppression of which I'm speaking. Think about your
girlfriend or boyfriend. Now pretend every time you want
to . hold hands, kiss or even look at each other
affectionately, you have to look around to make sure no
onejs watching. Pretend you're with your friends or
parents, you have to call herhim a "friend" (gays say
Go one step further. Let's pretend you're living with
your boyfriend or girlfriend without the benefit of
marriage, but you've decided to tell your parents about
your feelings for one another. How would you feel if your
parents kept saying: "When are you going to find a nice girl
and settle down?" It amazes me that many gay "marriages"
do survive this pressure. It's far easier, after all, to maintain
a bachelor's image than that of a man with a rooommate.
The best way to describe the alienation is by visualizing
the popular poster dealing with black feelings in a white
society. The poster shows a black boy sitting in an all-white
room with all-white accessories. Nowhere are there any
positive role models for gays.
If there are a number of well-adjusted gay people
around, they are systematically excluded from any
respectable position (remember, if you will, the attempts
by some regents last year to ban gay speakers from the
ASUN-sponsored Time-Out Conference).
The type of oppression has a more damaging effect than
any number of archaic sex laws. The gays' lot probably
won't improve until the cycle of oppression is broken
which keeps individuals quiet. Until more persons disclose
their gayness, public attitudes are not likely to change.
Unfortunately, most gays will not come out openly until
they see a shift in the public's attitude.
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