In case you hadn’t heard, the old Sydney University rag Honi Soit last week published its annual Gay and Lesbian issue, and was given the title “Queer”. Now not to sound like a sociocultural dinosaur, but just when did this term transform from a pejorative remark into an expression of power? Is there some dreadful irony that I am missing here? While we’re on it, the same goes for dyke. When exactly was the tipping point at which this primitive insult turned into a term of endearment? Nevertheless, I marvel at the ability of the gay community to turn these affronts to their sexuality into part of their nomenclature.
But really, all that’s beside the point. The thing I have the most trouble understanding is why exactly they choose to run a “Queer” edition in the first place. Whilst I support the concept of giving the gay student population a voice, I just don’t feel the execution is top notch. Here are the facts:
- Percentage of people at university who are gay/bisexual: The Queer Society would have you believe that everyone in the world has an unconscious, Freudian urge for homosexuality. But realistically, the number is more likely around the 20% mark.
- Percentage of people at university who read Honi: 10% (and that’s being generous)
- Hypothetical percentage of people whom this issue will appeal to: 2%
2%! That’s one out of every fifty students will see this issue and pick it up. If only 2% of the student population is actually reading it, that has to count as an undeniable failure to inform, especially considering Honi has basically a monopoly on the university newspaper market (sorry, The Bull). So here’s my proposal:
Have a section of Honi Soit devoted to gay and lesbian affairs (not ones of the sexual kind either).
I mean, if the post-graduates can have their own two-page section, why can’t the homosexual students? Hell, they could even replace the post-grad part; it’s easily the most boring part of an already dull newspaper. But really, wouldn’t it be better for the gay student community to be constantly, and not annually, updated on their rights, stories etc.? Plus this way the regular readers don’t get disrupted. And you wouldn’t want to anger the readers. They might write an angry letter to the editors. They might even start using spare copies as toilet paper! (Alright, that’s just me.)
Also, to me it screams preferential treatment when there is a “Queer” issue, yet the international student cohort doesn’t get their own issue, despite being a similarly sized minority. What’s that? You say, “How could they do an international issue, when there are obviously students from many different cultures and backgrounds?” It’s a newspaper! Newspapers consist of many pages! Many pages= many stories= many cultures being represented. Duh.
But really, the strangest thing about this is why do we actually still need a gay and lesbian issue? How can there be people who don’t know that some people are homosexual? Well, I think this naivety isn’t actually the problem. No, the problem rests on the uniform-clad shoulders of The Village People.
The Village People, in case you’d forgotten, were the boy band (man band?) behind such horrible, inexplicable hits like “Macho Man” and “YMCA”. Their ultra-camp outfits soon led to them becoming gay icons (despite the majority of them not being gay), and inadvertently created many unwarranted gay stereotypes. They also effectively destroyed the reputations of the YMCA and the Navy, but we don’t really care about that. What is relevant to this post is that the effects, nay the curse of The Village People is only just wearing off. People are now realising that all gay people do not in fact wear leather police outfits and cowboy costumes whilst performing neatly choreographed dance routines. They are only just discovering that having a moustache does not equate to homosexuality (nor does it to pornstardom). So in effect, and in conclusion, The Village People set gay rights and perceptions back about 120 years. And it’s only now that it is being fixed.
Note: If you liked this article- actually, scratch that- If you read this article, then tell your friends! And by tell them, I mean direct them to this site. I want to get more viewers of this than there were theorised readers of Honi‘s Queer edition. Which was 900.