Be Happy, Not Gay

Yes, I write once a month on whatever I please. That seems to be the trend at least. I’m fairly liberal in my views, but I’m somewhat torn on the following issue. Remember, this is all coming from a guy that thinks gay people should have all the rights of straight people, and can’t stand most religion.

Anyone hear about this story? The rundown of the story, is that following a day of silence, a student chose to wear a shirt that read on the front “My Day of Silence – Straight Alliance” and on the back said “Be Happy, Not Gay”. She was told to remove the shirt or go home, and that the reason for that choice was because students were prohibited from wearing messages that upset other students. There’s a bit more to it that I’ll touch on, and if you read the link you can get the full story, but that’s it for my summary.

I don’t get this. If the school bans messages that may upset other students, then clearly the school shouldn’t be encouraging a day of silence, which upon further reading encourages pro-gay buttons and the like, in the first place. You can’t encourage one side of a view while discouraging the other, especially when the reason for discouragement is that you may “upset” other students. If one side of the message might hurt some people, then it’s a fairly simple conclusion that the other side of a message might hurt the other people.

If one person is allowed to express themselves, another person should be able to express the opposite view, it’s only fair. The shirt in itself isn’t even that offensive. It could have read “Be Happy, Not a Faggot”, which could have been considered vulgar and against school rules, and a legitimate reason to not allow the shirt, but it didn’t. It’s not a shirt that incites hate. It might be anti-gay, but that doesn’t automatically insinuate hate. If I wore a shirt that read “Watch Birds, Not TV”, it doesn’t mean I hate TV, it’s just offering a suggestion, at the most.

However, at the beginning of this piece I said that I was at odds in this issue. The reason I’m having difficulty is because I’m not sure where the line should be drawn. If the school were to allow this slogan, it would have to allow practically any slogan that isn’t vulgar. In this next example, I was going to use an arbitrary colour so that I wouldn’t be singling anybody out, but the message becomes much less powerful, so I’ll use a specific colour.

“Be Smart, Not Black”

Should a child be allowed to wear that kind of message on a t-shirt? I say that in most circumstances, the answer is yes. If a school allows a child to wear a message that states one thing, then another child should be able to wear a message declaring the exact opposite, no matter how much I or anyone else disagrees with it. As long as it isn’t hateful, or inciting violence towards someone or a group, then it should be allowed.

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