In previous and recent issues of The Watchdog, topics regarding the LGBTQ Resource Center and the queer community on Bellevue College’s campus have been covered, reported on and eventually discussed in classrooms around campus. While many things have been cleared or better understood through the support of these articles and departments on the campus, there is one extremely offensive, crude, ignorant and oppressing stereotype that I fear will hold down not only the LGBTQ Resource Center, the queer community on campus in general and obviously the LGBT community outside of our college.
The foundation and social construction of our country has been very puritanical. You can clearly see from certain history lessons the struggle, at least in our society and culture, of sexuality and sexual behaviors intersecting with “proper” behaviors in public. Unfortunately, these socially constructed ideals of “proper” and/or “non-illusive” behavior or mannerisms have been so bread into our culture that it is no longer conscious in our minds. We are cultured to assume someone’s sex life or promiscuity is based on things like a woman’s skirt length or neck line and the style of a man’s clothes or hair.
These assumptions, while based on history or observations of social behavioral patterns, are not solely regarding some one’s sex life, but instead, their sexual orientation or gender identity. My community has been burned by the assumption that we are overly sexual, promiscuous, that they are only “gay,” Apparently only gay and straight exist that you haven’t found a “good enough” lover or that you were traumatized, along with many others. However the assumptions that people that do not identify as cisgendered or heterosexual then they are child molesters and rapists.
According to a study done in 1997 entitled Sex Offenses and Offenders by Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, the average age of rapists at arrest is 31, 52% are white; 22% report that they are married while they were imprisoned for rape. 16% were accounted for by juveniles of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 while 17% of those arrested were by other sexual offenses. Also, as listed in the 1998 Alcohol and Crime study, available on the Bureau of Justice Statistics website, one out of three sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated: 30% with alcohol and 4% with drugs. In another study, 98% of males who raped boys reported that they were heterosexual according to the 1998 article Sexual Abuse of Boys in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is quite obvious that there is more to being a child molester or a rapist than one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Due to this incredibly oppressing, ignorant and impulsive stereotype, the LGBT community is not only forced to assimilate to our heteronormative culture, but to suppress any and all sexuality or forms of expression with their chosen partner. I have seen this on campus in the eyes of two people that are together but cannot show it. The LGBTQ Resource Center when I as director need to hold my members to a different level of “appropriateness” or “professionalism” then other are of student programs or BC in general. However, the main reason why I felt the urge to write this article was because of an article about the gay ban being lifted from the Boy Scouts.
The reporter had listed why the ban should and shouldn’t be lifted. The reporter had said “Another legitimate concern about getting rid of the no gay ban is the fear of child molestation and rape cases from leaders and scouts. While this is a threat, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ current policy doesn’t help too much in getting rid of these types of cases.”
This statement alone enforces the assumption that because there are gay identified men in the Boy Scouts organization that it would be legitimate to assume there will be cases of rape and child molestation. However, I am very confident when I say no. I do not believe that because there are non-heterosexual person’s affiliates with the organization that there will be cases of rape and/or molestation. When it comes down to it, a rapist is a person who, without consent, penetrates another orally, anally or vaginally via force or coercion while a person that identifies as gay is simply a man that is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other men.