BLACK: Breaking the bubble



Brigid Black

In what seemed like an unprecedented occurrence, one couldn’t help but notice that there were three LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)-related pieces featured in last week’s issue of The Villanovan.

One of these pieces was the cover story that thoroughly looked at Villanova’s own Gay-Straight Coalition and confidential OASIS group.

The second piece expressed the writer’s discontent over the sudden axing of a popular storyline that involved a same-sex relationship between two female characters on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.” It was refreshing to know that others sensed that ABC had made a huge mistake.

However, it was the third and smallest piece that perhaps stood out the most. In a letter to the editor titled “The Villanova Bubble,” one student described how a visiting friend from another school who is openly gay was aggressively turned away at a party held by an unnamed Villanova fraternity.

How ironic that this shameful incident retold in writing was just pages away from an article highlighting the University’s resources and support for its LGBT students and their straight allies.

This juxtaposition is a grim reminder that there is only so much that the Gay-Straight Coalition, OASIS and even the Safe Zones program can do. The GSC can show insightful films, host inspirational speakers and provide excellent programming and events for the community, yet homophobic attitudes still resonate on this campus.

This is certainly not to say that the GSC and Villanova’s other organizations have failed.

On the contrary, they have enjoyed an increasing amount of success within the past few years. For example, attendance is noticeably on the rise at both GSC and OASIS meetings.

Additionally, Safe Zones, a program that provides visible, supportive and safe spaces on campus where bigotry and discrimination are not tolerated, now has over 200 active volunteers, a record-high.

Interestingly enough, however, only a little over 50 of these many volunteers are students. The majority instead consists of faculty and staff.

This sheds light on an interesting trend that many would argue exists here at Villanova – that the University’s faculty and staff are often more accepting than the students themselves.

Instances like the one described in last week’s “Villanova Bubble” letter may lend some truth to this statement.

Keeping this in mind, in order to produce a more effectively open-minded campus that is sensitive to LGBT issues, we need to see a stronger effort not from organizations like the GSC but from the student body as a whole.

While GSC provides the tools to bring about such changes to the campus, it is the students who have the capacity and opportunity to utilize those tools.

The year is 2008 – we live in a 21st-century world, a time of change and progress. The LGBT community is no longer invisible – not only in politics and the media but in our everyday world as well, Villanova University included. It is a fact that cannot be ignored or conveniently swept under the carpet.

It would greatly improve the sense of community and humanity on this campus if more of us would acknowledge the presence of LGBT students and their allies and to show them the same respect as anyone else.

This does not have to mean that all students should be attending protests or hanging rainbow flags in their rooms. Rather, simple acts of courtesy go a long way.

Before you complain about how your ACS paper was just “so gay,” take a second and think about what you’re saying. For a moment, step into someone else’s shoes. Realize that there are others in your midst who don’t appreciate using who they are or who their friends are as a put-down.

It’s time to wake up to the era we are living in, Villanova. Let’s set higher standards for ourselves as a student body and make each and every person feel welcome here like a true community should.


Brigid Black is a senior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at [email protected].