A Safe Houghton
Posted 20 January 2010on:
The announcement has been made by Sharra Hynes, the VP of Student Life, to the Houghton College campus that we, the Equality Ride, will be visiting on March 9th. (I seem to be getting some hits from the college community, Welcome!) In her announcement she writes that, “We want Houghton College to be a place where all people, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated with love, respect, and dignity, and where all sides of an issue may be studied and discussed in a safe learning environment.” Doesn’t that sound nice? Unfortunately, the reality is that this is not the reality. As a presumably straight woman she cannot understand how we as queer-folk feel when we read the Community Covenant. It states, “We believe that Scripture clearly prohibits certain acts, including drinking alcohol to excess, stealing, speaking or writing profanely or slanderously, acting dishonestly, cheating, engaging in occult practice, and engaging in sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage (including premarital sex, adultery and homosexual behavior).” Seriously? My sexual orientation is akin to occult practice or adultery? When you call our loving relationships sin, we are not being treated with the “love, respect, and dignity” that you claim is the goal of the College. That is why we as the Equality Ride must come onto your campus.
Because of this clear lack of understanding on the part of the college, it is very difficult for queer people in their community to get the love and respect that they need. I never felt that I was able to open about who I was, and statistically there are many more who dare not speak. That’s why I set up a network, Queer Houghton, a few months ago to bring in queer students and alumni as well as our straight allies. Hopefully, this can be the beginning of a safe space in the Houghton community. A place where the entire rainbow of God’s creation can be loved and accepted. A place where they are no longer told that their desire for intimacy can only result in sin and destruction. That day and place is coming, and I am so glad to be a part of it.
Peace & Rainbows 🙂