Response to "Homosexuality is a Mental Disorder"

By Justin Roykovich

The issue of even responding to Michael Gryboski's opinion of "Homosexuality is a Mental Illness," and by therefore validating the opinion itself, was something I was not sure I was prepared or even responsible to do. After all, with the obvious reaction Mr. Gryboski has had to their presence on campus, it should theoretically be the "agenda" of the Pride Alliance to call out Gryboski's uneducated and biased claims, and I do believe that their "agenda" will be heard yet on this subject. However, I come at this issue as a student indeed with an obligation of the George Mason community to use a similar voice. I come at this issue as one who has witnessed chalkings declaring "sodomy as a sin" and waited for retribution, but witnessed none. One who has heard homophobic remarks being thrown and heard laughter instead of rebukes. One who has seen and heard too many off color remarks about sexuality, race, religion, gender identity and any other tool that one could use to divide being thrown around carelessly in such a community of students as diverse as the at ones George Mason.

The truth is, that while Mr. Gryboski's comments are essentially homophobic in nature, as well as uneducated, biased and ignorant outside of his own belief, his comments not only hurt the LGBT community at Mason, but any minority group as whole. For it is as a whole that we stand as students who populate this institution, and have our very diverse tuition go to student publications such as the
Broadside, whom we look to for information, yet who have continued to print his divisive opinions and, like others, have done nothing. It would appear that Mr. Gryboski's opinions are indeed that of the newspaper itself, and it would allude to a notion that these opinions are that of the student body, and that these are such opinions that the student body would like to entertain. Having the cartoon on the following page after Mr. Gryboski's column depicting Fox News was all too ironic taking into consideration the same biasness that is held.

However the fact remains that Mr. Gryboski's column is not at all an accurate depiction of the mental state of homosexuals, and it would be further interesting to find out how many homosexuals on the George Mason campus Mr. Gryboski interviewed for his article rather than pooling information from text to text in academia. Despite another obvious fact that Mr. Gryboski's views are coming from one with privilege on numerous levels, he chooses to be uneducated about the views of homosexuality outside any other culture than his own, and therefore plays into the very societal constructs that he indeed says homosexuality needs to be examined by, hardly a sound scientific method. I wonder how many heterosexuals feel that to be "straight" is an egocentric disorder; is it crucial for their sense of self? For this construct within our society is one that Mr. Gryboski does not feel the need to be examined because it is left alone by society, deemed by that society as normalcy, a privilege that Mr. Gryboski enjoys. Yet, these constructs, as I am sure the APA agreed back in 1973, evolve or at least need to evolve with society as civilization continues. I could make the obvious connection to all the rights movements: civil, women's, etc. However that point, no matter how obviously cliché and well known, is one that Mr. Gryboski chooses to ignore. For it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote to Samuel Kerchevel in 1816 about this very topic:

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

That sentiment would prove to be so powerful that it would be inscribed on the interior of the Jefferson Memorial.

For indeed it is the enlightenment of knowledge of what is now known about our world and beyond that we come to university to achieve, and for all intents and purposes, the bigotry that Mr. Gryboski spews at times is a sentiment of years gone past. We, as discoverers of new truths, are called not to hold such barbaric regimens, as to confuse the mental distress caused by society's discrimination of homosexuality, along with racism, misogyny and any other kind of hatred with the actual state of being a homosexual, a racial minority or a woman. For it is enlightenment that people seek religion, so often a tool that can be misconstrued for these purposes of hate, that people go to in order to seek "alliance" based in faith and interact with those who share similar paths. It is also the advancement of institutions, and one such as George Mason, to keep pace with the times and not allow any kind of hate mongering to appear in its realm. For if we as a community do not follow this guideline, then we are indeed a civilization still reigned by the mistakes of our barbarous ancestors. It is my hope in this, and the hope of many whom I know who share a lifestyle or belief or skin color or lack of a penis, that people will come to understand that just because an opinion column tries to state facts shrouded by misinformation and lies of omission in print, does not in fact make it accurate.

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