The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

No truth in Day of Truth

I'll never forget the afternoon my brother Patrick told me he was gay. It was the summer before my junior year of high school, and Patrick, who had been out of college for more than a year, was visiting my family for the weekend from Washington, D.C. He sat my brother James and me down and said he had something important to tell us. The situation seemed very eerie and set-up. I remember feeling sick to my stomach watching him as he struggled with how to begin.

"There is something I have been wanting to tell you both for a while," he said. "It is really serious, and I can't imagine how you're going to take it," he uttered, as his eyes filled up and he covered his face with his hands.

"Oh my God, he's dying. My best friend, my brother, is dying," I thought to myself. I remember just wanting to cut to the chase and find out what level of cancer it was and how much time he had left.

Well, he wasn't dying. Not even close. I remember in that very moment having two very distinct thoughts: A. Wait, really ... you are? and B. Why did he prepare us for "I'm gay" the same way he would prepare us for "I'm dying"?

Last week, Scott Davis, a Virginia Tech alumnus, said in his Collegian opinion article that rather than a "Day of Silence," he would be supporting a "Day of Truth." It seems as though Scott (correct me if I'm wrong) has no issue with gay and lesbian people, but rather with the idea of gay and lesbian relationships.

True, Scott, you do not have to have same-sex relationships, but you also cannot overcome who you are. And unfortunately, sexual orientation is not a "feeling," but rather a trait with which we were born. If people decide to forego elements they were born with to live by their beliefs, go for it, but that doesn't mean that they are straight, or right.

Patrick seriously considered going his whole life pretending to be someone he was not. How much easier it would be. He wouldn't have to face my parents, my brother, myself, friends, high school and college teammates, fraternity brothers ... former girlfriends and, most importantly: society. He seriously considered living his whole life, his one life, being somebody he was not.

Why would he do that?

Because society says it's wrong. Society also made black people use different water fountains. Society also said women couldn't vote until about two days ago.

The Bible says it's wrong. I once got into a heated debate with a Richmond student whose last and desperate defense after a series of failing ones was, "It's just that I'm really religious." When I responded, "Oh, so then you've naturally never had pre-marital sex ..." there was no response. Unfortunately, to maintain a credible argument, you cannot pick and choose aspects of the Bible you like and dislike.

For those who do not pick and choose, I have one word: interpretation. To reference a sermon I heard from Deacon Mullen a few weeks ago: For centuries, lepers were considered social outcasts based on interpretation of scriptures from the Old Testament. Something they had no control over, that peasants and kings could contract, made these people outcasts based on "God's word." Interesting.

It's a choice, not a trait. I think this one gets the gold medal. Choosing to be gay. This argument not only: A. implies that we are all gay but just choose not to act on it, but also B. slightly parallels the idea of choosing to be black in the 1970s South. Who would ever choose to live a harder life? I'll never get that one.

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I don't know when these conversations and Collegian battles will end. I don't know when and if the Nick Uehleckes of the world will stop saying, "It's just that I'm religious," when it's not just that they're religious.

But I do know that when kids are staring wide-eyed into their history books in disbelief of the way things were, there will be lots of us out there trying our hardest not to say, "I told you so"

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