From the Editor’s Desk: Unearned Privilege and LGBT Rights

Originally published in Issue 5, Fifty-First Year of The Minstrel (November 3, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue. 

Grandparents are fantastic; they’re always trying to feed you, give you money and provide you with unconditional love and hugs. But one thing many of them have in common is that they’re slightly racist. It’s not exactly their fault either. It was a different time period when they were growing up.

I grew up going to public school and I had friends of all different kinds of nationalities. I had friends who identified as Indian, Chinese, Dominican and even if I wasn’t friends with some of them, there were so many ethnicities in my classrooms. I grew up and treated them all the same. I had group projects with them and it never dawned on me to treat them differently because of their ethnicity. The same thing goes with sexual orientation. Why discriminate against people based on this?

I was very happy to be alive on the day the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in 2015. It was a beautiful day about love and equality, and especially meant a lot to me because I just attended Philly Pride that month to support a friend who identifies as a lesbian. And to be honest, before I was friends with her, I didn’t have a wide perspective on lesbians and gay.

The truth of the matter is that fighting for LGBT equality is not over. Whether you identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, questioning or other categories, there are differences between each. Yes, we are all human beings, but it’s our differences that make us unique and we need to be able to understand and support each other.

In 2015, the Solidarity Initiative scheduled an LGBT forum that was cancelled. However, don’t we need to talk to the LGBT students in order to understand their needs? DeSales does a great job of making a welcoming and inviting atmosphere on campus, but some students are not willing to speak out against these issues individually. We need to hear what LGBT students have to say before we can put a plan into action.

Another danger is that many of you reading this have unearned privilege and privilege is often invisible to those who have it. Men may not think about women’s issues because they are the superior group with privilege. The same goes for economic status, race and sexual orientation. You may not think there are issues with LGBT on campus because you are straight; however, you must broaden your perspectives. You can start by reading the news piece on the front page where we hear perspectives from a professor and a student who both identify as gay.

The Minstrel also has perspectives on Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate running for president, and much less weighty topics including DeSales hosting the NCAA cross country regionals and student Adam Desseyn who is developing a video game. Enjoy this issue and keep widening your perspectives.

Peace, love & DeSales,

Kellie Dietrich

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