Floyd Jones narrates his experiences of encountering homophobia from the faculty, staff and students on EFLU and how many more Mudassir’s could take the drastic step of suicide if things aren’t handled sensitively on campus
Mudassir’s case has got me thinking…is this the way my University thinks of me? That I am a “mentally deranged homosexual”? I am also a student on one of the EFLU campuses, and I have been reading up on this issue. So a fight happens, and a student gets called to the police station at night. Well, clearly this was the first fight ever in the history of EFLU because I cannot recall another incident where the police had to be involved in a fight between two former roommates. Why was the police involved even before Mudassir’s parents had been informed about their son’s alleged violent behaviours? Why hadn’t he been sent for counseling if the Procter knew he was struggling with his orientation? And you say this isn’t homophobia? BALLS I SAY!
Acknowledging the fact that the queer community exists clearly isn’t enough. The Pride marches, the handful of films, and the meager gay characters on Indian TV have done nothing to change the attitude of the people about the whole issue.
When I joined the EFLU campus a year ago, I made the ‘mistake’ of telling my new roommate that I was gay. It happened a week later, when we were exchanging stories about our family and friends, and I told him I was dating a man. I am in a committed relationship, and in no way was making a pass on him. But trust me, his reaction was pretty comical. It was almost as though I had told him I want to make out with him. Needless to say, things got pretty awkward, and I requested for a change in rooms. By then this loudmouth had told the entire campus that I am gay. Also you should note that this particular loud-mouth opted for gender studies in his Masters. What he learnt there, God only knows!
By the grace of God I have a strong heart, and I have learnt to put up an instant shield over such rebukes. The things that I got to hear were disgusting, and perhaps the worst thing that I had to encounter was a graffiti that appeared on the walls of the toilet of my hostel. It read, “XXXXXXXX is a cocksucker”. What surprised me the most was that the warden had been to the toilet a few hours before I had gone in, and of course had seen the writing. And yet, all he did was silently walk out. This is where the University needs to put a check on its attitudes and the mindset of its employees.
Tell me, why hadn’t the warden done anything about it? I can see two explanations. Either he is the one who wanted to be my pimp, or he represents the staff of the University that does not wish to raise its voice against homophobia. That indeed comes as a threat to my wellbeing. Am I part of an organization that clearly hates my existence and does not wish to do anything when my name is being dragged into the gutters by other students for no fault of mine? What was I to do when the person who is entrusted with the wellbeing of all the outstation students is the very same person who ignores when one of his students is being bullied by homophobes?
All I could do is walk up to the wall, and spend an hour cleaning up the mess. I came to my room and cried. We all have our melting points, don’t we? However a brave face we may put up, we break when the people we trust and respect, the people who are in positions of power choose to do nothing.
The issue of being homosexual on this campus of EFLU is a hushed up thing. No one voices out their support openly, and those who do are rebuked and made fun of by their peers. Somehow the faculty also has a very anti-gay stance. Our professor clearly chose to leave out Queer Theory in our Gender Studies class. When I asked him about it, he said, “Well, that you can manage on your own.” Of course. Why was I not surprised?
I am not the only gay student in the hostel, and the others present there are facing equal harassment and bullying. They sometimes speak up, give written complains but nothing happens. The warden is very much aware of the bullying on campus, and yet chooses to do nothing. A few visiting faculty to the hostels have also seen and heard about the bullying, but even they choose to do nothing. One employee confided in me, “We as a University do not want to take a stance on LGBT issues.” Instead of taking action on the bullies, one of the lecturers actually made us read a passage from the Bible that says the homosexuals must be burnt alive. Who then do we voice out our issues to?
At the end, all I can say is there are a lot many Mudassirs amongst us. How much longer can we endure this? We know the administration is aware of our situation, the employees know, and yet they choose to do nothing. Even if the students, let’s say, have come from conservative families and do not understand LGBT issues, why is the faculty silent on this? What good are their Ph.Ds and other qualifications if they cannot be sensitive towards queer students? We cannot risk going complaining in public. It will just confirm our identities as GAY, and just in case we die, all that the University will speak of us will be- another mentally deranged homosexual died!
So then if EFLU cannot guarantee our well being and our security, why take us in as students? The VC should include new criteria into the forms- “Straight__? Queer___? If queer then find some other place to study because we cannot guarantee your safety, nor can we be sensitive towards your issues. We also do not want to take a stance on LGBT issues…so straight students only.”
- Confessions Of Another ‘Mentally Deranged Homosexual’! - April 9, 2013