Muhlenberg has a thriving gay community, and campus life as a queer person is pretty good… if you’re white.
To be clear about the intention of this piece, it is crucial to acknowledge that the journey of coming out that all queer folk must take is not being belittled. Queer identity and gender identity are personal and sometimes painful journeys that queer people need to have because of our heteronormative society. I am not delegitimizing the struggle that all queer people face during their coming out. I am instead pointing out how queer identity as a white person does not equal the same oppression as queer people of color face on this campus and in this country.
Muhlenberg College is a predominantly white institution. This does not necessarily mean that people of color are outwardly discriminated against or rejected, but tokenization and insensibility to narrative are all too real. Here, white people are enabled and set up for success. So, when white gays try to make themselves seem as oppressed as the queer people of color on this campus, that narrative is harmful and toxic. White queer people will brag about how they are illegal in 70 countries and force their “wokeness” on social media. This all feels too sinister, and it is really time to shut up.
As a gay, Central Asian-American, cis-man, white gays do not make me feel as supported or accepted on this campus as they would like to think they do. I am a person of color; however, I benefit from light-skinned privilege. Black and brown queer folk on this campus likely feel even more ostracized because of this rhetoric at our predominantly white institution that is controlled by white queer people.
So, white gays, it’s time to check your privilege and notice when you are taking up space that you shouldn’t be because the queer people of color on this campus have had enough.