Pride flag ‘joke’ wasn’t funny to queer students

Dear comedians of Yale:

Why must you Envy us for our Pride? Are we slaves to Greed when we ask for equality? May we Lust for freedom? Thank you for not showing us your Wrath by vandalizing our Pride flag, making it read “Yale Gluttony” the night before the first prefrosh would arrive — a dedicated and concentrated task that is not owing to Sloth, which is as trite and cheesy as both of our running jokes.

Your jokes are so funny.

We laugh when some of us can call ourselves “fags,” or when our friends joke about going to hell, because we in our own circles understand our words, intent and humor. How many circles of hell will you make us walk through with your “pranks” and “just a joke” comments? Congratulations to you for being comfortable enough in your own sexuality to make a possibly intellectual comment on the state of queer consumerism and capitalism. Congratulations to you for giving individuals struggling with questions of sexuality, identity politics and religion one more incident to question themselves and make the closet that much more sinful.

Think of the people who can make fun of themselves. Think of the people who can’t come out to themselves yet. Think of those of us who are tired of other Yalies’ not thinking.

Just think.

Why is it funny to joke by condemnation? Why is it so ridiculous not to feel ashamed of our bodies, our love and our lives? The implication that our Pride at Yale is a sin, as the N.O.G.A.Y.S. e-mails and flyers “joked” last semester, is one that presupposes the existence of some god, is predicated on a certain moralization of sexuality not shared by all faiths and is an encroachment on our basic pursuit of happiness.

This humor is not isolated. During last year’s Bulldog Days, we as a student body were embarrassed by having visiting prefrosh and parents read racial stereotypes of Asians in the Rumpus. Last fall, the Record’s annual Blue Book parody’s “jokes” were based on racism, homophobia and sexism, to mention a few. Then, Islamophobic posters that were put up anonymously were the final straw that lead to the formation of the Coalition for Campus Unity.

Your jokes are not funny.

The LGBTQ community is made of all races, religious creeds, nationalities, colors and genders, and we refuse to stand for discrimination in any form, whether you think that it is funny or not. Because Black History Month doesn’t end in February, we remember that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The National Day of Silence is tonight. We invite everyone to participate by picking up a card explaining the silence and a ribbon outside Lanman-Wright Hall and the Woolsey Rotunda from 9 to 11 a.m. We will have a silent lunch from 12 to 1:30 p.m. We will break the silence at 6 p.m. outside of Lanman-Wright and invite everyone to come to vent, scream and speak against the tragic trend of Yale humor. We invite you who vandalized our flag. We offer this opportunity for you to show us your Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Forgiveness, Kindness and Humility.

Benjamin Gonzalez is a sophomore in Berkeley College and the coordinator of the Queer Resource Center. He writes on behalf of the LGBT Co-Op Board.

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