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6 comments | Monday, May 11, 2009

Morehouse College hasn't exactly been a welcoming and affirming place for it's gay students. As a matter of fact the prestigious all male college has been downright hostile in recent years towards it's growing gay population and those even perceived to be gay. The unfortunate 2002 assault on former student Gregory Love by classmate Aaron Price has earned Morehouse College a well deserved reputation of being a hotbed for homophobia. And a recent anti-gay op-ed published in the Maroon Tiger, Morehouse's student newspaper, by writer Gerren Gaynor only added more fuel to the fire.

But a recent op-ed published over the weekend in The Washington Post may be signaling a shift in the homophobic attitudes so pervasive on campus beginning from the top down.

In a speech titled "The Soul of Morehouse and the Future of the Mystique” , President Robert Franklin addressed the need to respect different sexual orientations and the contributions of gay men to society.

As an all-male institution with the explicit mission of educating men with disciplined minds," said Franklin, "the great challenge of this moment in history is our diversity of sexual orientation."

"Why don't we," he asked the students, "use this opportunity to model something our community needs?"

"Straight men," Franklin said, "should learn more about the outlooks and contributions of gay men. Read a book by a gay author. Have an intelligent conversation with a gay neighbor." Franklin reminded the Morehouse students: "At a time when it was truly scandalous to have homosexual friends or associates, Dr. King looked to Bayard Rustin, a black gay man, as a trusted adviser. And, Malcolm X regarded James Baldwin, a black gay man, as a brilliant chronicler of the black experience."

"To my straight brothers," he said, "diversity at Morehouse is an opportunity that can enrich your education if you are courageous enough to seize the opportunity. We cannot force you, but we invite you to learn from your environment."

h/t Mad Professah


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

This is a refreshing bit of news. Let's hope Pres. Robert Franklin's words don't fall on deaf ears.

May 11, 2009 3:08 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Nothing new here. We Morehouse men have been having this same conversation for many many years, and sadly not much has changed, even under the President.

May 11, 2009 5:18 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

O please!! Its still just as homo-hating as it ever has been here at Morehouse. Lets not forget the REST of that very speech where Dr Franklin also states:

"And, to those who would experiment with wearing clothing associated with a women's garb (dresses, tunics, purses and pumps) I am directing that you not exhibit these items on the Morehouse campus. A man in women's clothing on campus is provocative and will not be tolerated."

Meaning its okay to be a homosexual on our campus, just don't make it obvious. Don't let that rhetoric fool you... not much has changed.

May 11, 2009 8:53 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Now that some black people realize they can't stuff all gay people into the closet, they are changing the parameters to where "straight acting" black gay men are grudgingly tolerated, but the femmes are still to be hated.

May 12, 2009 9:42 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Regarding Dr. Franklin's statement that he doesn't want men in women's clothes running around on campus, I say give him some slack. His exhortation to his students to learn more about the contributions of black gay men is a step in the right direction.

I would also say that the record of black gay men towards our more "flamboyant" brothers is not a record a lot of us can be proud of. Black gay men who live in glass houses should not throw stones at Dr. Franklin.

May 12, 2009 12:34 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Great step or as some would view it, a good positive gesture made by Morehouse College President Robert Franklin. However, Morehouse is an HBCU, which means its student base is predominantly BLACK. Our race alone and our upbringing will always provide a road block for us and specifically the students at Morehouse College to respect a Gay Black Man....deuces

May 15, 2009 3:45 PM


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