Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fargo, ND, where homophobia reigns supreme

At a Fargo, North Dakota high school prom, a gay male couple attended the event and the local paper, the Fargo Forum, covered the rather monumental event with a story in the newspaper. The uproar surrounding their attendance is that so many people still feel that the homosexual lifestyle should be kept between closed doors. I, however, feel that the lifestyle of the bigoted and narrow-minded few who object to the actions of a minimal percentage of the population should be kept behind closed doors so their bigoted views don't further spoil the world for the rest of us who aren't threatened by the actions of one... gay... couple.

The discussion about the story spans a hefty amount of pages on the Forum's website and it only took six, yes six, comments for some anonymous bigot to plainly state that a gay couple should NOT be allowed to attend their own prom. That, I guess, is what passes for socially acceptable in closed-off North Dakota.

While not everyone in Fargo is full of hate for this couple, the few bad apples spoil the entire bunch as this article from Seattle points out.

And apparently, even Minnesota, as enlightened as it is sometimes portrayed, isn't immune from the hatred of someone who is different. A Minnesota State-Moorhead (across the Red River from Fargo) student was beaten to the point of being unconscious by fellow students at the northern Minnesota college.

While I have never been to the Fargo-Moorhead area, these two stories and the bigoted and hateful response by a few in the wake of the publicity surrounding them doesn't bode well for the rural areas of our country. I am all for generalization based on the actions of a few and the only suggestion I have is to ignore these few. While they won't go away, others around them (followers, if you will) may step up and speak up that what their "cool" friends are doing isn't anywhere near cool.


Hammer said...

My highschool prom had specific instructions, you must bring a date of the opposite sex or don't show up.

I worked the night of my prom because the only offers I got were out of desperation.

I don't think most highschool students can handle gay people dancing at the prom. There is too much stigma and some jackass will undoubtedly start something.

Maybe things have changed since I was a kid, who knows?

Sornie said...

I get the distinct feeling that it's a few kids and more than a few parents. It is out of the way North Dakota which is about as progressive as the Twin Cities from before I was born.

Brendan said...

You're a good man to speak out about this, Sornie, and I completely agree with your emotions.

However, I am a contrarian by nature, so I do want to say one thing in dispute: Bear in mind that on any hot-button issue, those making the most noise tend to be from the extremes. A view of a population based upon things like comments on a forum (or phone-in "polls" or letters to Congress, etc.) on such an issue is likely to be skewed and non-representational of the general mood.

In a situation such as gay couples at the prom, it gets even worse, because most of us modern grownups, when hearing a story like this, feel that it's a good thing, but not worthy of comment. In other words, only one extreme weighs in. The other extreme probably doesn't even exist in a case like this, since there are only the wingnuts and everyone else, and everyone else is fine with boys dancing with boys and girls dancing with girls. I think we don't weigh in on something like this because we'd like to think that praising gays for being open is about the same thing as praising blacks for being articulate.

But, once the wingnuts start foaming at the mouth, we should all speak up.

If you continue following this story, I'd be interested in hearing if anyone does a true random sample poll of the attitudes in Fargo. I'd be willing to bet that most people are fairly noncommittal about the whole affair.

Of course, there is one problem, as you have pointed out: It only takes a few to ruin such a thing. I'm not a big fan of "hate crime" legislation. I think gay-bashers should just be lynched.

Alicia said...

It's still illegal in North Dakota to live together un-married.

They're a bit behind the times.

betmo said...

considering that some high school in buttfu- um rural georgia just desegregated their prom- i'd say this is par for the course in america. land of the free (as long as you are hetero white) and home of the brave (as long as you can fight a war from your living room and let others do that for you).

i would say parents have more of an issue than most teens these days. it was the teens who orchestrated the white/black prom this year and most kids care less about race and sexual orientation- they care mostly about sex period. bear with me- i am a bit rambly today :)

Diesel said...

I can't even imagine living in North Dakota as a straight person.

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