By: Wisal Mahgoub
With marriage equality front and center of the national agenda, the future of many of Montgomery College’s students is also hanging in the balance. Will LGBT college students today be able to marry tomorrow? We asked students on the Germantown campus how they felt about the issue of gay rights and acceptance today.
Dave Barnes isn’t just a student at Montgomery College Germantown, he is also openly gay. When asked what it’s like being gay in our society, he said: “You can’t walk through life hiding who you are. My sexuality is part of my identity, and living up to who I truly am just feel right.”
People often tend to stereotype gay and lesbians, but everything is not as it seems. Take Julianna Bailey as an example, a student here at MCG who is also openly gay. When asked if she ever experienced stereotyping in her community she replied: “It’s generally assumed that all lesbians have to be tough and butch. I’m such a girly girl, and because of the feminine way I present myself, people would never dream I’m gay”.
Coming out in today’s society can be challenging, but ultimately a very liberating and fulfilling experience. It’s important to have a strong support system. MCG student Emilio Gomez strongly supports the gay community after his sister came out: “I had no idea she was lesbian, I remember she could barely get the words out when she told me. But at the end of the day, she’s my sister and whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual or whatever, all that doesn’t matter because the love for our family is unconditional.”
Sammy Burns is also a gay and lesbian supporter, when asked her opinion on homosexuality she replied “I don’t have a problem with people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or even transgendered. I was raised to accept people’s differences, after all that’s what makes the world so fascinating.”
Here in Maryland, a liberal state, we have many supporters for the GLBT community; however accepting homosexuality can be difficult depending on your beliefs, the way you were raised, and your culture. Brian Lee, MCG student was born and raised in Korea, his family is very proud of their heritage. When asked where homosexuality stands in the Korean culture, he said: “Homosexuality is very frowned upon, and goes against our beliefs and standards.”
Aside from culture, religion also plays a big part in peoples beliefs. Religion can influence our standards for society, and help shape our morals and values. It can be difficult to understand homosexuality when you yourself are straight; it almost seems unimaginable for some. MCG student Darcy Gauvin voiced her opinion: “Sometimes we fear what we don’t understand, and therefore we don’t know how to accept it.” Skyler Ferguson, MCG student comes from a home of strong Christian values. When asked what she thinks about homosexuality, she responded: “I think that love is only between a man and a woman, that’s how God wants it to be, homosexuality just seems unnatural”.
The GLBT community can be either praised or criticized, but either way homosexuality has become widely accepted here in Maryland. On Election Day, November 2012, Maryland affirmed question 6 by a popular vote, affirming gay marriage. Maryland is one of nine states that allow gay marriage, this demonstrates that slowly but surely, homosexuality is becoming more accepted in American society. And today, our Federal Government is also weighing in, so keep your eyes on the news—and let your voice be heard!