I remember a friend telling me a story a few months back about how her visiting grandparents were watching a popular TV drama at the time. She asked them how they liked it, and they responded that it was a great show ” until the main character starting dating “a colored boy.” Her jaw dropped at hearing the very phrase “colored.” But I would take a very optimistic attitude about the incident. Our grandparents’ generation, representing a society of Communist witch hunts and Cold War, was comfortable using overtly racist overtones because that was the atmosphere at the time, sadly. But as our parents’ generation learned from those mistakes, pushed for Civil Rights, and made blatant racist discrimination something to abhor, so has our generation followed the example, specifically with homosexuality.
While our parents’ generation might still be uneasy with the idea (again, probably as a product of their times), we are a new generation that is comfortable with our sexuality and the sexual orientations of others. This was proven on in February of 2004, when the young San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (a total stud, by the way ” I think all of San Francisco can agree with me), after hearing President Bush’s harsh stance on gay marriage, declared any law prohibiting same-sex marriage was in violation of the California Constitution of equal protection of rights. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, lesbian activists and partners for 51 years, were the first couple married, celebrating how far the women have come in their fight.
Although Newsom was stopped in August of the same year for what was called “illegally defying state law’s definition of marriage,” the voice nonetheless was heard. The movement for gay marriage may seem to be at a standstill right now, but the increasing feeling of tolerance and acceptance of all sexual orientations has caught on. We at Cal Poly are lucky to have an active Pride Alliance, which is supported by the Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals United (GLBU), to hear the representative voice of an important group at this school.
I realize that, in a sex column concerning college students, too often does that voice go unheard. It’s easy to generalize about relationship problems guys and girls face when a person has only experienced a heterosexual relationship. But in the end, we are all just people, and we inherently have a need to love and be loved. Our generation has proven that stuffy, conforming rules don’t apply to love and relationships anymore. The laws of this country might still insist that marriage is strictly a union between man and woman, but the general social order allows that, as long as a relationship is healthy, nonviolent, and between consenting adults, gender has become a mere footnote.
This week there are several opportunities to become informed on the gay pride movement and learn more about the student groups on campus that represent the gay voice on campus. Tonight specifically at Downtown Brew, Tristan Prettyman will perform slam poetry about the subject. We are a generation who has the ability, like our parents did, to change the climate of our society and push civil rights for everyone. No matter what your sexual orientation may be, this is a perfect time to get involved and encourage more pride here at Cal Poly and in our society. Make me proud.