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JBTho Daily Tar HeelFriday. March 25. 183
From a gay's perspective
''" 91st year of editorial freedom
Kerry DERocHi, yW
ALISON DAVIS. Managing Editor JEFF HlDAY. Associate Editor
LISA PULLEN, Editor JOHN CONWAY, City Editor
CHRISTINE MANUEL, State and National Editor KAREN FISHER, Features Editor
Mike DeSisti, Sports Editor , ; Jeff Grove, Arts Editor
BILL KlEDY. News Editor CHARLES W. LEDFORD, Photography Editor
Today, hundreds perhaps thousands of UNC students are wearing
khakis or corduroys. That's because today is Blue Jeans Day. The
Carolina Gay Association has asked that all gay men and women, and
anyone who supports the gay rights movement, wear blue jeans.
Blue Jeans Day marks the close of Gay Awareness Week, an annual
event designed to help increase student awareness of homosexuality.
Seminars each year include workshops on different aspects of gay life in
the Triangle area. But it's Blue Jeans Day that never fails to draw the
most attention, creating the largest controversy.
By identifying the UNC gay population, Blue Jeans Day and the rest of
Gay Awareness Week increases students' homophobia, a fear of homo
sexuality. Just look at yesterday's Daily Tar Heel. Many of the letters to
the editor alluded to what was called the perversity of homosexuality, and
to the CGA's "quest for attention and recognition" with Blue Jeans Day.
Many students look at homosexuality as some strange, perhaps con
tagious disease. They avoid it whenever possible. That's why they're
But what they don't realize is that their next door neighbor, classmate
or close friend may be gay. According to the Kinsey Institute Report, 8 .
percent of all males are exclusively homosexual at some period during
Gay Awareness Week's approach is an idealistic one. If the event's only
objective was to heighten awareness of homosexuality, it succeeded with
Blue Jeans Day. But if another aim was to educate and inform students
about homosexuality, it failed. Most students still won't understand. In
stead, they will be insulted or threatened. When they got up this morning,
showered and brushed their teeth, they had to think twice before putting
on their pants. They probably cursed the "queers" who kept them from
wearing a pair of comfortable jeans.
Blue Jeans Day is not, as many claim, a day for gays to pick each other
up. Ironically, many will specifically refrain from wearing jeans so as not
to bring attention to themselves or make anybody mad. They don't want
to be hassled.
According to CGA president Joseph Carter, the rationale behind Blue
Jeans Day is "to turn the tables on the straight' community" by forcing
straight people to "decide whether or not to wear their jeans and risk'
being identified as a gay person or a gay sympathizer." The rationale is
logical, with good intent, but Blue Jeans Day is destined to breed animo
sity. It's a shame that most students will curse the CGA for a minor in
convenience and fail to realize that their feelings of confinement and fear
are an everyday reality for the homosexual.
Editor's note: The following interview was conducted be
tween staff writer Kevin Johnston and a freshman UNC
student. The name was withheld upon request.
Do you feel different because you are gay? Do you have
a soecial "lease on life" that I don't have?
Urn, I feel that most gay people have a higher aware
ness of where they are, an earlier sense of "self because
they know they are different. They know what they are
thinking is different than some of their straight friends.
Do they just accept the difference?
Some do and some don't. That is why you have so
many screwy straight people (who think they might be gay
and are refusing to acknowledge that fact). A lot of
divorces come from that; they finally reconcile themselves
after they have gone through a marriage that's bad.
Because you have handled "coming out, " do you think
that makes you a more stable person?
You can't, at this point, compare me to another straight
person; it would have to be another gay person. I feel that
I am more stable than a lot of gays. It is not really a fair
comparison. I am like anyone else.
Would you say that causes straight people to look upon
gays as more unstable?
No. Because if a straight person knows that someone is
gay then he has to come to grips with it. I think that there
are people who are having problems with their sexuality.
Would you say that a lot of gay people at UNC picked
this school because it has such a large gay community?
I don't know. It is too hard to say.
But could they pick this place as a liberal place where
gays could go?
Yeah, a liberal place, that's a reason. But a lot of them
are so young that it is not a reason; they don't identify
with it (homosexuality) yet. UNC-G has a large gay
population also, so does Charlotte. So I don't think that
just because it's liberal and there are a lot of gays around
that someone would just pick it (for that reason).
Do homosexuals congregate together for the most part?
I would say yes. It's a protective thing; you could more
readily identify with someone else like you, naturally. If it
is someone who is more sympathetic; then they fit in as
well. It's out of fear. For strength and support you just go
with people who are like you.
Are you suppressed here? Is there a time when you feel
like saying, "I'm gay; why can't you accept me?"
No, I don't think so. I have never had any problems
with people threatening me, mainly because I keep my
mouth shut: I don't say anything because I don't think it
is anybody's business and there's also a fear of threat.
You never know. I can trust you, but I can never know
who you will say something to, and then I never know
who that person will say something to. Further down the
line he could be the one who decides to beat somebody up,
saying, "Oh, he's the one, okay, lefs get him.'' That is a
fear of the gay community.
But you could get that if you were a real smart person in
class. That could happen, to anybody. I go a little bit out
on a limb, but not too far because people tend to go and
get the ones that are too strange.iYou can hope the people
will be understanding'. I'm positive about the way I am.
But if the. situation demanded it, I would protect myself
before my integrity.
What kind of people would give the gay community
problems here? The ignorant?
I think it's the people that are afraid, and the ones that
aren't educated; the ones that just don't care about peo
ple's rights. You can dislike someone but that doesn't
mean that you have to go out and hurt them. If you don't
like someone you should just leave them alone. Someone
is always going to dislike you for some reason.
Is there a fear in the gay community of meeting some
one who is not gay, becoming friends, and then losing that
friendship because they find out that you are gay?
Sure. It's a fear of not being liked. That fear is a part of
anyone. I don't care if someone likes the way I look or
what music I listen to. But being rejected for who I am
that really hurts. It is not a fear of making friends, it is the
fear of having them turn against you.
Do you think that homosexuality is immoral? What is
your concept of morality?
I don't think that it is immoral. I think that it's immoral
to deny something that you feel. You must be honest with
yourself and the way you feel.
How, or why, do people become gay? Do you just
wake up one morning and say, "I'm gay!"
You just don't wake up and feel it. I think that
everyone develops his or her sexuality while they are very
What is. "coming out" and how hard is it for most
It depends on the family environment and the in
dividual. I have heard horror stories of some people being
disowned when they were young. It is a three-step process:
you admit it to yourself 1 -
you admit it to your friends
you admit it to your family.
Telling your family is the hardest part. It's sort of a "point
of no return." i
There is a stereotype that many people have about gay
men. Is it true that gay men by and large are weak, overly
feminine and limp wristed?
I don't think that's totally true, but stereotypes are
based on fact. In the past, it probably was that way we
had no role models, no feeling that we didn't have to be
the way society pictures us to be. Since society pictures us
that way, many homosexuals fall into that trap. Women
used to be overly emotional because no one told them they
didn't have to be. There wasn't any one around to tell
blacks that they didn't have to be lazy; no one to say,
"You can get a job, you can be president of a company."
It was what society dictated in the past. Now it is dif
ferent. How many blacks are there in the gay community at
Chapel Hill? More, or less, than whites?
There are predominantly whites and males. Blacks are
in the minority.
, Are there many activities for homosexuals in the area?
We do pretty well, though not as well as New York or
Atlanta. . .
Do gays by and large feel differently in a group of
No. Everyone is different, but basically the only dif
ference is sexual.
Is sex the line of differentiation?
I think so, otherwise we want the same things everyone
else does a home, love, security. The difference is com
parable to the difference between blacks and whites; skin
A lot of people compare gay men to heterosexual
women, is there any basis for that comparison?
I think that we are like women in that they are more in
touch with their emotions. And, like women, there is a
higher appreciation of beauty pretty things.
So, to say that a gay man is effeminate is not an un
truth. Well, saying it like that is a little harsh. They are more
in touch with their feminine side. Women have male hor
mones, men have female hormones all men could be
more feminine. It's just that our society looks down upon
male femininity men have always been in charge.
Do you find women attractive?
But not in a sexual sense?
No. By in large, I don't think that a true gay man finds
Would you demand that you live with a gay roommate?
No. I could live with anyone as long as they could ac
cept my homosexuality. They would have to know. What
are you going to do, sneak your date in?
Is there a message you would like to give, anything you
would like to add? Is there a solution to the problems that
you and your friends are encountering?
Yeah. Just don't worry about it (homosexuality). Ac
cept what it is. We are no different than anyone except
that our sexual preference is different.
Do you like who you are?
And how do most of your friends feel?
My friends and myself are dissatisfied about the way we
have to hide our lives. Some would say that it is our fault,
but it is the fault of the people who suppress us, forcing us
to be secretive. I don't care how others feel about their
own preference; why should they bother me about mine?
Is there one final note that you would like to conclude
Yes. I would like to change the attitudes that straight
people have about gays. If they can't handle their feelings
they should just leave us alone. Unless, of course, some
one bothers you. But no one should do anything to
anyone else out of ignorance.
LETTERS . TO THE EDITOR
SCA U computer would help campus groups
On March 2, the UNC Board of Governors and the North Carolina
Board of Educators approved a proposal that would require education
majors to pass an entrance examination by the end of their sophomore
year. The exam, including questions from the National Teachers Ex
amination, will place a new emphasis on students' competency before
they become teachers, making it an effective means of improving class
room education in North Carolina.
The exam is part of the Quality Assurance Program, which is designed
to upgrade the qualifications of those persons seeking teacher certifica
tion in the N.C. public schools. The program was begun in 1978 when
state educators after conducting a review of classroom teachers found the
present procedures regarding teachers' competency inadequate. The stan
dards apply to each school in the 16-campus UNC system as well as the
state private schools. .
Critics of the Quality Assurance Program have argued that new re
quirements may force a future shortage in school teachers. This is unlike
ly, however, given the present number of unemployed certified teachers
in North Carolina. In addition, because of a decreasing number of
school-age children, most schools now face cuts in teaching positions!
Instead, the program will eliminate the least qualified candidates for
the job. New emphasis will be placed on who is to be admitted to teacher
education programs and who is certified to teach. As UNC president
William C. Friday said, the new resolutions will help develop a teaching
program in league with the legal and medical professions.
The Quality Assurance Program by no means provides answers to all
the problems facing teacher education in North Carolina. State educators
perhaps should be more worried about keeping the qualified teachers in
the classroom once they get them there. Because of a continued state
salary freeze, many people no longer can afford to teach. New teaching
requirements, however, should be an effective means of improving
classroom education in North Carolina. By first increasing standards for
the state's teachers, the program will ensure that quality education is con
tinued for the students.
To the editor:
The Student Consumer Action Union
(SCAU) has requested funding from the
CGC for the purchase of an IBM personal
computer. As owner of the computer,
SCAU would assume responsibility for
programming, maintenance, and ac
cessibility of the computer by other Stu
dent Government-funded organizations.
However, the CGC would work together. ;
with SCAU to set guidelines for setting ac
A personal computer would help many
student organizations accomplish many of
their present tasks more efficiently and
provide them with the ability to perform
new tasks and services. A computer of this
sort could aid in the following tasks: stor
ing and sending mailings, printing address
labels, processing accounting records and
bills, analyzing surveys and word process
ing of office paperwork. SCAU itself .
would use the personal computer for the
comparison shopper, apartment locator
and roommate referral services, as well as
the "Southern Part of Heaven" publica
tion. Use of a personal computer would
provide instant access to these services.. ;
Assuming that the personal computer
would be used an average of 20 hours per
week, SCAU estimates providing com
parable service using the current University
time-sharing system would cost on the
order of $4,000 per year. The IBM model
requested by SCAU has a price tag of
$5,600, including all necessary peripherals.
The impact of the machine would be im
mediate, given the complex nature of to
day's world. Moreover, this computer is
expandable and will be able to serve the
needs of student organizations for many
years to come. Thus we feel that this ex
penditure is a small cost to incur once for
so many large benefits to be reaped year
CGC Finance Committee
SCAU computer project coordinator
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All perverts gay?
Wear jeans any way
To the editor:
There are those of us on the UNC cam
pus who do not care what the CGA does.
But we do not want our actions interpreted
in the context of CGA quasi-activism. I,
for one, always wear blue jeans, and the
fact that I am wearing them today should
not say anything at all to the world about
the way I view the gay movement. I am
opposed to the CGA's taking advantage of
certain people's social consciousness to
deny them freedom of choice in the way
they dress, if only for one day a year. I,
myself, make the choice of ignoring the
CGA's call to blue jeans by acting as I
always do by wearing my blue jeans. If
everyone else does the same, the gay blue
jeans day will have the same effect on the
minds of the populace as pouring a bucket
of salt water into the ocean would have on
the sea's salinity.
C. Alan Ross
To the editor:
Jase Valentine, in his letter condemning
homosexuality ("Gay awareness activities
under attack," DTHt March 24),
characterized lesbians and gay men as
those who "engage in acts that sicken both
the mind and body" and "are sad and de
viant people." Furthermore, he stated that
homosexuality is "legally and morally a
This description is a violent affront to
all homosexuals whose daily lives reflect
none of these particular problems. How
ever, the ignorance of his conclusions do
not end there. Perhaps Valentine (and
whoever it was with him that allowed him
to use the first person plural) failed to
realize that heterosexuals often exhibit
these same deviant modes of behavior. It's
Printed directly above Valentine's letter
was an article titled "When violence
becomes a spectator sport" (DTH, March
24). It describes a woman being gang
raped while 15 men cheered the attackers.
Can we assume, from Valentine's descrip
tion, that these attackers were homosex
uals? They certainly have all the qualifica
tions, but Valentine would probably
choose to believe that these were just a few
heterosexuals that tainted the majority. I
would agree, l would also suggest to
Valentine that he overcome his narrow
mindedness and judgemental character
and think before he attacks. That, I hope,
is part of the true spirit of Gay Awareness
Reagan and House clash over defense spending
By CHRISTINE MANUEL
As President Ronald Reagan appealed to the
American public for support of his defense budget
Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Represen
tatives approved a federal budget drawn up by the
Democrats by a 229-196 vote. The plan, the first
Democratic budget passed since Reagan took office,
would slash the president's defense budget by $30
billion and increase social spending by $33 billion.
The vote came only 33 minutes before Reagan
was scheduled to address the nation. In his speech,
he outlined his new defense strategy'and urged the
American people to contact their congressmen and
senators and voice their support for military spend
ing. Reagan's new plan called for a technological .
approach to military development.
The two incidents may set up a classic confronta
tion between Reagan and the Democratically
controlled House. The president is sure to veto the
House's legislation, but it remains to be seen if the
House would attempt to override his veto.
The House vote was clearly partisan only four
Republicans joined the 225 Democrats who voted
for the bill, and only 36 Democrats opposed the
Before the vote, Reagan had called the budget "a
declaration of war" by the Democrats and their
leader, Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. of
Massachusetts. And this was only the first battle.
. French cabinet resigns
The entire French cabinet resigned Tuesday after
President Francois Mitterrand'sjgoyernment de
valued the franc for the third time. Mitterrand asked
Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy to stay on and form
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
A hero with a heart
Retired dentist Barney B. Clark, the world's first
artificial heart recipient, died late Wednesday night.
It was his 1 12th day with the new heart. By being
the first man to voluntarily use the new device,
Clark provided the medical field with a rare oppor
tunity to improve cardiovascular technology.
Before receiving his new heart, Clark suffered
from cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart tissue
which causes the heart to degenerate. He was near
death before he received the revolutionary implant.
The knowledge gained from Clark's implantation
may lead to many new developments in the medi
cine. His courage inspired a nation and gave hope to
thousands of patients with heart conditions.
The resignations came after a French-German
money crisis at a meeting of the European finance
ministers in Brussels last weekend. World traders
had been expected to trade weak francs for strong
German marks and threatened to throw the Euro
pean Economic Community into disarray. France
had earlier threatened to withdraw its membership
from the European Monetary System, which had
been created to bring stability to the EEC,
Many former cabinet members cited France's
growing economic problems, such as a widening
deficit and unemployment, as their reasons for re
signing. However, Finance Minister Jacques Delors
is emerging as the key figure in the socialist govern
ment in its time of reorganization.
Dramshop still alive
The state House presented its version of Gov. Jim
Hunt's Safe Roads Act to the floor Tuesday and
may begin debate on the bill next week. The House
bill is closer to the original bill submitted by Gov.
Hunt than the Senate version. The House legislation ,
contains the controversial dramshop provision
which makes store and bar owners legally responsi
ble for selling alcohol to intoxicated customers who
later cause traffic accidents. The Senate had omitted
Although both versions of the bill now raise the
drinking age for beer and wine from 18 to 19, there
is some speculation that the House will further raise
the minimum age to 21. Many analysts have called
the House version "tougher" than the Senate's and
expect heated and lengthy debate if the bill passes
Passage of the bill could mean a federal grant
from the Department of Transportation to help im
plement the governor's drunken driving plan. A
group of state lawmakers will travel to Washington
Thursday to meet with Secretary Elizabeth Dole and
are optimistic about the outcome of their meetings.
Students had another chance to vote on the pro
posed increase in the Student Activity Fee Wednes
day but again the votes will not be counted. Only 20
percent of the student body, or approximately 4,100
students, must vote in any campus election for the
results to be valid. Still, a mere 9 percent actually
cast their ballots. Once again, the issue remains
Students have had the opportunity to vote on the
proposal twice in the last two months, but their
votes have never been counted. The first vote was
thrown out by the Student Supreme Court citing
that the Campus Governing Council had not al
lowed enough time before presenting the vote to the
The fee increase is perhaps one of the most con
troversial issues to surface on campus this year. By
not going to the polls, students demonstrated a lack
of concern for the financial survival of many impor
tant campus organizations. . . .
; On Wednesday, apathy won the vote.
Christine Manuel, a sophomore journalism and
political science major from Fayetteville, is state and
national editor of The Daily Tar Heel.