Diversity Requires Dialogue, Not Tolerance

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Dear Editor,

 

I want to thank the El Vaquero and Ashley Carey for the story about the GCC Gay-Straight Alliance in the June 8 edition. I have a couple of thoughts I’d like to share about the article, the mission of the GSA and tolerance.

 

It is vital to reinforce that the struggle for any group’s rights is a struggle for human rights. If we do not accept and respect the diversity and experience of the human race then we promote fear, abuse, violence and exclusion.

 

The GSA exists to initiate dialogue among the straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, allied and, even, homophobic communities. It is through dialogue that understanding and respect are established. In this regard I find the use of the word “tolerance” to be  incorrect and unproductive.

 

Speaking for myself, I do not want to be tolerated. I do not want to censor anyone’s opinion. It goes without saying that I do not want anyone to suffer violence but isn’t dialogue a key to averting violence?

 

Homophobia and many forms of racism, sexism, etc exist all around us. We must engage these attitudes to challenge these attitudes. The push for tolerance and the resulting silence will help no one.

 

An important part of the GSA mission here at GCC is to raise awareness and support through our allies. Many people on this campus, if not in the LGBTQQ community, have LGBTQQ brothers, sisters, cousins, children, parents, friends, students, colleagues, etc. These people are our allies and it is of the utmost importance to give our allies the courage to speak up when they encounter homophobia or any other type of fear and hatred.

 

It is only the larger voice of humanity speaking out that will significantly impact the struggle for human rights. Regardless of one’s political, social or religious views the world IS an unbelievably diverse place and I celebrate that diversity and choose to give voice to that diversity.

 

 

 

Thank you so much!

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Mark Gens

Co-advisor, GCC GSA

 

Instructional Lab Tech,

 

Studio Arts

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Diversity Requires Dialogue, Not Tolerance