The Maroon Tiger recently reported on the launch of a new LGBT course at Morehouse College. The brainchild of a Morehouse campus LGBT advocacy leader and a Yale professor, the course will deliver theoretical insight into LGBT pop cultural, political and social structures.
While it may be uncomfortable for many students and alums, and certainly won’t be an item for the front page of morehouse.edu, the college should commended for its giant step towards campus inclusion and the ultimate embrace of gay Men of Morehouse.
In recent years, Morehouse has offered its campus and its students as worthy ambassadors on the subject of homosexuality both at the college and in the black community at large. While still battling the stigma of not wanting to talk about, recognize or accept gay men into its elite culture and legacy, faculty leadership has taken the lead on acknowledging a basic truth necessary for the growth of the college; that ostracizing gay brothers on campus is, on levels intended or otherwise, ostracizing gay brothers in Atlanta and throughout the Diaspora, a practice that would never be in good keeping with Morehouse’s mission, geography or social future.
For an influential few, embracing gay men as classmates and graduates is an endorsement of homosexuality, or more specifically, an endorsement of effeminate behavior and culture. These few work diligently behind the scenes to pressure Morehouse leadership and its key supporters to create distance between the school’s legacy and a growing segment of the college’s future entrepreneurs, scholars, educators and community servants – simply because they are gay.
Morehouse’s greatest challenge on the issue of LGBT inclusion is not a refusal to accept gay brothers as community members. The school is just fine with closeted men who publicly reflect the best of the school’s values and agenda. Morehouse is struggling with the quiet battle to keep terms like “sissy,” “punk,” and “faggot” out of the private conversations of the black elite on Morehouse and its future, and because that battle is not publicly going in the college’s favor, it occasionally spawns a public call to action.
This course ought to be viewed as a beam of light through the shadows of one of the most complex issues the school has faced in its history. More than a forum or town hall meeting, the prospect of brothers gay and straight being able to avail themselves to more information and history of the black LGBT struggle in an academic setting speaks volumes about the positive direction in which Morehouse is headed. While you couldn’t or shouldn’t anticipate too many straight brothers between the ages of 18-22 signing up for the class, at least the class is available for that moment when maturity and love overtakes their fear and machismo.
And at least the college is continuing its new tradition of quietly leading a new dialogue on understanding and accepting our gay brothers and sisters.