At QueerPHC, we welcome guest posts that are affirming and relevant to LGBTQ students and graduates of Patrick Henry College. To submit your own guest post, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m an alumna of PHC, and I’m going to tell you how I – finally – came out of the closet. If you are at PHC, you probably haven’t heard a lot of narratives from people in the LGBTQ community, let alone happy ones, let alone from someone who shares your background.
I was home-schooled overseas; the fundamentalist, non-denominational Bible church that my grandfather founded was the locus of my social life. I never fit in with the girls at youth group and preferred to shoot hoops with the guys. Boys were my pals, not my crushes. I pushed down any inklings that I was gay. I told myself that I had more important things to think about than love, like college admissions. I remember catching myself staring at bikini-clad women on the beach. This is wrong, I told myself. Not only is it a sin, but if I tell anyone of these inclinations, even my parents, I will be seen as an abomination. And so I didn’t. I didn’t even fully admit these tendencies to myself.
“This is great silliness of course, but it is the great silliness of highly intelligent and perceptive people.”
~ Alasdair MacIntyre
I committed a decade of my life to the HSLDA-sponsored homeschool debate league, NCFCA. This league was started by Michael Farris’ daughter, Christy Shipe. During that decade, I learned the importance of approaching controversies with a rational, balanced perspective. I was taught to respect opposing viewpoints and that giving viewpoints the freedom to exist was essential to both the American political experiment as well as Christian morality.
My fellow contributor, Alan Scott, brought this story by Chris OGuinn of AfterElton.com to my attention. The clips that have been compiled in the article (it’s 3 pages long) are from Make It or Break It on the ABC Family network.
Admittedly, I’ve never watched the show myself, but I have watched a handful of programs produced by ABC Family and I’m found them to be interesting enough that I’ve usually watched them in their entirety. One aspect that has stood out to me in the past is their protrayal of LGBT characters. They don’t use inflammatory material, tired Glee-style stereotypes, or the over-the-top hyperbole of The New Normal. What I’ve seen on ABC Family is primarily LGBT characters being portrayed as they exist in real society–dynamic, diverse, many-cultured, and going about their daily lives just like heterosexuals.
What stood out about this particular example was the description of Max’s (our character’s) sexuality. His true struggles are acknowledged. It’s not easy being in the middle. What is even more striking is Max’s straight friend’s reaction upon discovering that Max is bisexual. No hyper-hetero “I have to punch you/something to restore my manhood” no panicked fear and aggression. It’s very unusual to see this kind of portrayal. Personally, I want to think about it some more, but watch the videos, I’m curious what insight you readers have on the issue.
For those who cannot read the text on the jpeg, it says, “After further consultation, I withdraw my note from yesterday. While we believe in the inappropriate nature of the use of our trademarked name, we believe that litigation is not appropriate.”
While we believe our use of “Patrick Henry College” to be legal and appropriate, we are happy to hear that Farris will not be suing his own students.
For those who can’t load the screenshot jpeg above, the message is from Michael Farris’ official Facebook page, and it reads:
“This page is in violation of our copyright of the name Patrick Henry College. You are hereby notified that you must remove this page at once. On Monday we will began [sic] the legal steps to seek removal from Facebook and from the courts if necessary. In this process of this matter we can seek discovery from Facebook to learn your identity and seek damages from you as permitted by law. The best thing for all concerned is for you to simply remove this page.
Find another way to communicate your message without using the term ‘Patrick Henry College’ in any manner.”
There’s not much to add, except that our message is intrinsically tied to the name Patrick Henry College. We are students of Patrick Henry College. We share about our experiences at Patrick Henry College. We reach out to other students at Patrick Henry College. The demand that we stop using the school’s name is really a thinly disguised demand that we shut up.
Update: Stephen Colbert interviewed Sir Ian McKellen on Monday, and it was just too funny not to share. Go watch it. ”You know we’re making a sequel. In Middle Earth. Ah, perhaps I shouldn’t say. [Looks over his shoulder.] It’s going to star Gandalf the Gay.”
Yesterday I posted about how Morgan Freeman has endorsed marriage equality. Today I get to deliver the exciting news of another endorser of marriage equality: Gandalf! (a.k.a. Sir Ian McKellen)
And there was a great disturbance, as if millions of homeschooler voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced when Gandalf said, “It shall pass!”
Seeing as how it’s the dawn of a new month (the last one ever, if you believe the Mayans), I thought it apropos to share this video from the Human Rights Campaign narrated by the ever epic Morgan Freeman:
“Freedom, justice, and human dignity have always guided our journey for a more perfect union. With historic victories for marriage, we’ve delivered a mandate for full equality.
The wind is at our back, but the journey has just begun.”