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September 12, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bent

In accordance with its gnarly prison-like appearance, Victoria University is a place where students come to learn about stuff in order to score hellish buraeucratic jobs that they stagnate in for decades afterwards.

Luckily for you, if you dig a bit deeper, it actually does much more than that; it is a social and cultural convergence where personalities are fostered, diverse folk are met, and cultures and ideas are explored. University is, generally speaking, an opportunity to improve yourself and your life.

And so you should. Make the most of your time here—go forth and self-improve! But first, take a moment and think of others, you selfish prick. I’m here to give you a whirlwind informing session on giving the minorities a helping hand; let’s call it queer-improvement. Just give me a second to climb up on my soapbox. I mean to address an issue perhaps more damaging and certainly more widespread than blatant homophobia. It’s complacency, and it’s a dangerous affliction—common amongst all people, regardless of sexuality. Don’t sweat it, Bent isn’t here to blame anyone. We’re here to cure the affliction!

It’s pretty common to see queer rights movements disregarded as historical artefacts now that homo/lesbo-sex is legal and we have the ‘privilege’ of civil unions. Fact is, many of the problems facing the queer community are deep-rooted social issues, often more so than they are legal ones. Think about it: how many times have you heard “I’m fine with gays/lesbians, just as long as they’re not in your face”? Why is being in your face regarded so adversely? Surely queers need to be ‘in the face’ of a society that shudders at the notion that I take boys to bed.

So yeah, we do need passionate queer rights advocates—both queer and straight. I’m one myself. Call me a crybaby and a nit-picker, whatever, but I choose to actively acknowledge societal inequalities when I see them. I don’t like having the door slammed in my face, regardless if it’s the door to the local church or the adoption centre, or any other door for that matter. I don’t want to get looked at scandalously for holding hands with someone of the same sex in public, if that’s what I want to do. Whether this is down to me being a self-serving, attention-seeking killjoy (and I am) or a inexplicable possession of some overarching internalised ethical code is, well, pretty moot. And you should be passionate in these matters, too.

For those not concerned with self-preservation, and those who want to remain complacent and ignorant, fine. I hope, for the mean time, you have the moxie to tolerate your straight-acting, discreet, top/bottom, not-out, GSOH, archetype that the mainstream knuckle-draggers want you to live by. But when you fall crazy in love with someone, and you can’t acknowledge them legally the same as everyone else, can’t adopt the children you want together, and you get taunted by a stranger for showing affection to them in public, I pray, for your sake, you can see the humour in it.

Because, let’s face it; wider society isn’t going to cater for queers out of the goodness of its own hearts. Majority rules, and all that schtick. We need to make a collective effort to do some queer-improvement. Complacency is dangerous, and queers are merely between being out of the frying pan and into the fire. Remember, rallying for change in social attitudes towards queers isn’t always rallying in a literal sense. Everyone can do positive things for the queer community through getting to know queer people, and actively trying to do more than tolerating through clenched teeth those who the status-quo gatekeepers would rather see pushed to the back.

It’s not difficult, and it makes a big difference to the day-to-day people around you. Some wise words from King Beyoncé: “put yo’ love on top!”

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