LETTERS

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March 4, 2003

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The bigotry of many fraternity members in the Mr. University crowd last Thursday was disgusting. As a queer student, I find their behavior deeply disturbing, and was shocked by how people's (and your publication's) account of the Mr. University pageant ignored the event's frighteningly anti-gay atmosphere. That many frat members use an event that raises money for children's charities as an excuse to get drunk and scream "faggot" and demand as loud as they can that the contestants tell them "what dick tastes like" (these are a small sampling of the taunts) is shameful and points to the pervasive homophobia in most frats on this campus. It's important to understand that the hateful, dangerous behavior displayed at Mr. University is not simply an isolated incident or an act of immaturity. Last year's Mr. University pageant featured the same sickening display of frat guys tastelessly screaming "fag" and "cocksucker," proudly leading their brothers in anti-gay chants. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that violent queer-bashing happens on campus when bigots like these display their hate in front of their fellow students and faculty with impunity. As a community, we need to realize that every time anti-gay comments aren't confronted, a message is sent that homophobia is acceptable. The fact that frats are environments where homophobia and sexism are by and large uncritically practiced leads to displays like that at Mr. University and every student should be outraged that homophobes see public events at the U of C as places where they can spread hate.

Justin Reinheimer