A Morehouse College student newspaper column titled “Is Gay the Way?” has caused a stir in Atlanta as well as the national blogosphere, with many gay and transgender activists accusing the writer of being homophobic. The opinion article, published Feb. 16 in The Maroon Tiger, questioned masculine norms at the all-male historically black college.
Gerren Gaynor, who wrote the column and serves as the paper’s associate opinions editor, told Southern Voice he believes his message has been misunderstood.
“In no way was my article an anti-gay piece,” said Gaynor, a sophomore English major.
“This article was exclusive about the way in which it affects the campus of Morehouse College and no other institution, not even the United States government … While I do agree that I went about my topic the wrong way — and please be advised that this was an article done over night for a weekly college publication — it is completely wrong to disregard the feelings of other students on campus, gay and straight, because every homosexual is not comfortable with seeing a man with feminine qualities,” he said. “Nowhere in my article do I attack gays. The article is strictly a critique on gender norms.”
In his column, Gaynor states, “It’s not so much that ‘straight’ men of Morehouse are uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle, but more so because that the lifestyle is constantly and robustly thrown in their faces. Does being a gay man include adopting the traits of a woman? Because if that’s the case, there’s a more fitting school, and it’s not an all-male institution.
“Over the years, despite social divergence on campus, the Morehouse community has done its share to both accept and adjust to the growing homosexual population. But don’t you think this has gone too far? A boy with a pocket book is far,” Gaynor wrote. “I’m all for being who you are. If you like women, go on and date women. If you like men, be my guest and date men. But if you are born a man, you should be just that — a man. If I have to look twice to tell if I’m looking at a man or woman on an all male campus, then something is tragically wrong …
“I’m not saying that having gay students at this institution damages the image of Morehouse, but as the only all male African American liberal arts college in America, we have a certain image to uphold and a man with hair weave just isn’t it.”
As a product of Morehouse I am ashamed that this article appeared in a notable paper like the Maroon Tiger. I was someone that worked with Safe Space, Morehouse GB group that attempted to try to defeat these stereotypes. The writer needs to understand that he is living in a microcosm of a world. There are effeminate men in the world and if they choose to go to Morehouse or any other male institution then its their right. While I respect the authors opinion, I believe that he needs to listen and learn before he writes anything else with the word "Gay" in it. This type of writing draws division and promotes stereotypes. Morehouse with its rich legacy must overcome the battle of homosexuality by first acknowledging that homosexuals in every capacity attend Morehouse and that Morehouse must move past an idle stance on this topic by educating the student body and holding serious conversations to break these stereotypes that many have.