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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 11, 2000)
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Samuel McKewon
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Day should be used to show
intolerance won't be tolerated
There are some brave people in this state,
and they will be on display today.
They’re not brave because they have dan
gerous professions or put themselves at risk
for the well-being of others.
They are brave because they have the abili
ty to be themselves in spite of heavy opposi
National Coming Out Day is today, and
many gay Nebraskans will turn out to take
pride in their identity.
They’ve decided not to hide their true
In this state, their courage could easily be
seen as ignorance.
Who would tell the truth about themselves
in a state like this - a state where gay people
are openly discriminated against?
Not only are gay people not entitled to the t
same benefits as heterosexual people, but a
certain sect in this state has banned together
to put an initiative on the bal
is clear to
to be pro
- race, gen
- is wrong.
But as loud
may be, it
is still a
lot aimed at maKing sure gays
don’t feel welcome here.
Those people want to
make it blatantly clear that
tolerance is not high on this
state’s priority list.
They’ve closed their minds
to even trying to understand
Their minds are clouded
with common tradition, and
they let it be known that this
state is not progressive; it is
Nonetheless, gay people
will come out today and take
pride in their lifestyle, which
is condemned by the majori
ty of the state.
Is that courage or stupidi
Well, was Martin Luther
King Jr. courageous or stu
How about Susan B.
Is hope something that
should be rewarded or
The answer is clear to any
one who claims to be progressive.
Discriminating against people for any reason
- race, gender, sexual orientation - is wrong.
But as loud as the voice of Nebraska’s gay
community may be, it is still a minority.
So progressive, open-minded people -
both gay and straight - should not let this
chance to make a difference go by.
They should get out and show support for
Nebraska’s gay community.
They should show that it is immoral to
force a certain group of people to be ashamed
of who they are.
They should show that intolerance and dis
crimination is not going to be part of
Nebraska’s tradition any longer.
Even though they might not be gay, people
can still fight the single largest form of dis
crimination still prevalent in our society.
And their actions might just reverberate
into early November.
Sarah Baker, Bradley Davis, Josh Funk, Matthew Hansen,
Samuel McKewon, Dane Stickney, Kimberly Sweet
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reflect the views of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A cokrrn is solely the opinion of its author, a cartoon is
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cy is set by the Daly Nebraskan Edftorial Board. The UNL Publications Board, established by the
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Just today I received an e-mail from a professor
about a concerned student who had problems
with other students who said the class was too easy
and spent their time in class talking about things
besides the topic in class.
The professor for this class also went on to
announce his resignation at semester.
I find this all very disheartening. Even though I
am only a sophomore, I have noticed that the
Computer Science and Engineering department
seems to have a hard time holding onto professors.
I had always assumed it had been due to work
in the industry paying better than the University,
and this offered some comfort. Now I wonder if it’s
not the quality of the pay, but the quality of the stu
dents. This is a thought I find very disturbing.
Maybe if every student stopped and thought
about how they have acted in class and tried to
improve their attitudes, the university would be a
Representation without what?
What is with ASUN lately? Isn’t it supposed rep
resent the student body as a whole?
I don’t ever remember being asked or having
voted for changing any holiday names or about
being against DOMA. What about the students
who are for DOMA anyway? No, but last I knew we
were students, too. Last I heard, ASUN was sup
posed to represent the whole student body. Did
anyone ever ask me about changing holiday
names or if ASUN could take sides on political top
ics? I surely don’t remember it. Maybe somedqy I
can find out if I will ever be represented in ASUN
because, so far, everything it is doing does not rep
resenting me at all as a student.
I think it is unfair to the students who are for
DOMA not to have any representation in the sup
posed “student government.” I don’t care so much
about it changing holiday names, but I do think it
was stupid. What really ticks me off is that the stu
dent government is supposed to be neutral or at
the least, represent both sides equally.
Maybe it should ask the student body before it
makes decisions such as this. Better yet, maybe we
should impeach ASUN and get new people in there
who can represent everyone equally.
Chemicals don t clear anger
The journey starts in the
pit of my stomach, or maybe
in my small or large intestine; I
don’t know biology.
* * *
As Mike and I walk into the
living room, a small figure is
bent over rapidly scrubbing - „
the floor. Mike shoots me a “'ane
weird glance, making his way hh^b!biSL
toward his soft recliner.
Mike’s brother, Scott, a
pudgy, older real estate agent who gets his kicks from
the Husker football team and the LA Lakers, is bent
over the small figure like a foreman over a child labor
“Mike, we’re trying to get your stain out," Scott
says, pointing to the floor where the small figure keeps
digging away with a cloth. “This here is my new best
friend, uh, what's your name?”
The small figure exposes a high voice, curly hair
and loads of acne as he lifts his head.
He has some sort of strange accent. Hie fact he is a
male surprises me because I honestly didn’t know.
Mike just gives him a wry smile and turns on
ESPN. I look at the television and just see colors flip
ping about. My eyes turn back to Shane.
"There’s no ammonia or dyes, so you can just use
it as a spray and wash," Shane says. He sprays more
yellow liquid from the bottle onto a towel.
Scott’s leery eyes peer out from his fat face and
"Can I see the brochure again?” he says, sticking
his hand out in disgust “I can’t believe you don’t have
copies of these things. You should tell your boss it only
costs a couple of cents to make copies.”
Scott, you see, is a business aficionado, and he has
no problem spewing such advice whenever the situa
* * *
This deep burning eats away at my insides. My
heart is not immune from the fire.
It slowly creeps up inside, and as it does, it pries
open my mouth, and a scream begins to brew from
The veins begin to snap. It’s not a beat; it’s a crisp
The bum starts working its way up into the lungs,
and every breath carries a sharp, hot sensation, much
like a kidney stone punctures the urinary tract.
I breathe deep to keep it at bay, but the deeper I
breathe, the hotter it bums.
It makes my neck stiff to know I can’t control this
feeling. I try to stretch it out But I don’t gain any con
trol; it keeps moving upward.
* * *
“You can get a quart of it for $35, but that includes
shipping and handling,” Shane says, eagerly awaiting
“Shipping and handling?” Scott’s voice rises as his
ruddy face turns red. “You’re in the same room. How
can there be shipping and handling?”
“Oh, we ship it in from California,” Shane says,
flaunting plastic confidence. “They don’t make stuff
this potent in the Midwest.”
“Where is it now?” Scott says.
Shane informs him it is in a truck, circling the
neighborhood, and it will arrive at exactly five minutes
before 8 p.m. It is currently 7:10 p.m.
Mike turns his eyes from the commercial featur
ing some weight loss program, where you pay only $7
plus the cost of food to lose 10 pounds a week
He looks at his watch and tries not to laugh at
Shane. There’s a tint of anger and annoyance in Mike’s
I just look back blankly at Shane. He is wearing a
gray shirt with printed letters that read: “I’m out of sick
days, so I’ve decided to call in dead.”
His curly, red hair flows out the bottom of his hat,
and his face is covered in different sizes of red bumps.
He looks no older than 16.
* * **
It’s not going away; it’s just burning hotter. I hate
this feeling so bad. It just takes over and won’t let go. It’s
like a determined demon taking hold of my body and,
even worse, my mind.
I want to scream at it to let go, but what good
would that do?
It’s oozing up my throat. Every centimeter it rises,
my mouth widens, ready to let lose the terror.
* * *
“How’d you get into this?” Scott asks as he begins
'writing in his checkbook.
“Well, it’s about the only job I can get,” Shane says.
His fake salesman attitude has worn off. He’s just hon
est and vulnerable now. “It’s not that bad. I get to trav
el around and meet people.”
Shane slides a receipt toward Scott and asks him to
write his address, phone number and other informa
Scott jots down the information and pulls his copy
flee. “Wow, you haven’t sold very many of these, have
Shane looks down. “You’re my second sale of the
Scott shows no remorse. "Well, you’ve got a lot of
work to do.”
Shane tells Scott he reminds him ot his boss, a nice
guy but someone who can get annoying.
Mike changes the channel to a baseball game.
Shane perks up toward us. “ Who’s playing,” he
says in an ultra-friendly voice. He doesn’t know we’re
too poor to buy stain remover, no matter how amaz
ing it is.
“The Dodgers and somebody else,” I say. Mike is
too cold to respond.
Shane just stands there. He’s feeling Mike’s cold
“Where are you from?” I ask. I feel sorry for him. I
can’t hide it
“North Dakota,” he says with a slight cynical smile.
I nod, looking for something profound to say, but
as I dig deep, I only find the bum.
Shane takes his receipt book back from Scott.
“Thanks a lot, man. I’ll be back at five *til 8.”
With that he turns and lumbers toward the door.
His heavy sneakers take away any grace he may have
been blessed with. He lets himself out and slips into
As he passes me, I’m tom and frozen.
* * *
The fire is unbearable now. It’s almost to the point
of no return.
As the air parts for the passing figure, it moves
toward me as I’m frozen by anger, ignorance and pity.
My mouth begins to open. I try to speak words that
will change the world and send things to their right
place, but my body goes rigid.
But the fire does not die.
for a new
Take Jim, the
major that lives
down the hall in
your dorm, who
plays nis music
too loud at night. Jake
Or Sheila, the Glazeski
girl that pointed mmmmmmtmmmm
out a couple of
your mistakes on your calculus assign
ment. Or Dan, the guy you totally
crushed on last year, except he didn’t
seem interested in you at all.
Take your boss or your employee.
Your sister or your brother. That old
single guy that lives down the street
from you who would always yell at you
when you were young for getting snow
on his sidewalk. Just look around.
.They're all around you.
They might be gay, lesbian, bisexu
al or transgendered. But one thing's for
sure: They’re not straight. And most of
the time, you wouldn’t know. Unless
they come out to you. That’s what
today is all about.
Oct. 11 is National Coming Out
Day. It is a day to commemorate the
act of coming out - which is a unique
and scary experience, take it from one
who has done it dozens of times - and
it is also a day to “do it,” to face the
truth and to reveal to those close (and
maybe to those not so close) some
thing important about one’s self.
Contrary to stereotype, GLBT peo
ple don't just stick out of the crowd,
especially not in Nebraska. You may
look at the population and think for
lack of seeing stereotypically gay peo
ple, that there are no gay people here.
But rest assured, they are here, and
they are far more common than you
Homosexuality, after all, is a part of
humanity. It shows up in some form in
almost every known culture, both in
those present and in those that we
know about from the past, and in a
majority of them, homosexuality plays
a functional and socially accepted role.
It is our society, which marginal
izes and oppresses the natural expres
sion of homosexual affections (both
platonic and sexual), that is abnormal.
The reasons homosexuality has
always been with us, and always will
be, remain open to debate, but there is
something about it that we can’t shake.
You don’t have to have divorced par
ents or a tough childhood. It is as nor
mal as heterosexuality it’s just not as
Since it is so against the nature of
humanity to condemn homosexuality,
GLBT persons now are trying to push
forward and change our abnormal cul
ture. They are attempting to change
the moral values of society so that
homosexual acts can beseen as moral
Conservatives rail against this
movement as immoral. But the alter
native is no better. Homosexuality will
exist in some form; it cannot be elimi
nated entirely. Even in societies that
condemn it, homosexuality continues
to exist. It just takes on a darker, more
insidious form, which further fuels the
moral sanction against it.
Homosexuality in this country, for
example, before the '60s, was by neces
sity secretive. Secrecy leads to brevity,
so for many gays, “being homosexual”
meant making dangerous arrange
ments using code words and signals.
There was no such thing as a "homo
sexual relationship” for these people
because there wasn’t enough air or
time for one to exist. The act was pure
ly sexual, purely secret - and thus it
was easy to call it evil.
But now there is some air, and con
servatives are trying to take that air
away, to keep homosexuality evil.
What they don’t realize is that as
homosexuality takes a more natural
position in society, the “acts" them
selves will no longer be so necessarily
evil. Gays will still sleep around, but
gays will also be aole to form stable,
long term relationships with people
they love because then they won’t have
to be so secretive any more. There
won’t be as much to hate; not as much
Coming out is the best way to cre
ate the space GLBT people need to
thrive. By being visible, by showing
that, yes, it is possible to be a normal
person and gay, the cultural norm will
change, and it will be impossible to
keep calling queer love “evil.”
So it is our obligation, we being
GLBT people, to come out to those that
we live with. Homophobia does run
rampant, and I won’t pretend that
there aren’t consequences. But it is
something we must do to make things
better for GLBT of the next generation,
in the same way that those before us
have made even this column possible.
So think about it.
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