Letter to the Editor: Student leader responds to Facebook comments about 20th Annual Pride Photo

The official MU Facebook account received negative criticism for posting the photo in the comments.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m., I was sick and tired. I had finished up a long day of classes and tests and a week of battling a nasty cold. I was sick and tired and I decided to forgo MU’s 20th Annual Pride Photo for some much needed rest. From what I heard from friends, the photo was a raving success!

Over 500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identifying students, faculty and staff and allies showed up to demonstrate their pride. Then, the photo hit the web and the support and pride was taken to a whole new level.

I am a queer woman on MU’s campus. I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience as such. Friends, family and sorority sisters have supported me ever since I first came out my freshman year. So, imagine my joy when I saw so much more support for the MU LGBTQ community via people’s comments on this year’s Pride Photo posted by the university on Facebook. Below are some of my favorite, most intelligent and supportive comments and my response of gratitude to each:

Cody: “Where’s straight pride day and white history month?” Me: “THANK YOU! We need some good, solid representation for straight, white people everywhere. There is not enough of it in our society.”

Neil said: “The best pride is in FITTING IN with others, not declaring your difference. Mizzou is becoming too liberal.” Me: “Standing out is so ‘90s. Just like Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Walkman CD players and the Goosebumps series, showing pride in who you are is better left as a memory.”

Lannon said: “Repent!” Me: “Short. Sweet. And to the point.”

Jason said: “Burn in hell!!!” Me: “See you there. You bring the chicken. I’ll bring a side dish.”

Grant said: “To the people that changed the American flag. You are a disgrace! I hope you get hit in the face with a bat!” Me: -_-

And here is where I have to put my sarcastic wit that is so quintessentially me aside. (1) My identity is not an invalidation of yours; (2) My identity is not a political statement; (3) My identity is not a threat to your religion; (4) My identity is not a damnation of my character; (5) My identity is not an invitation for violence.

A word of advice to all people who think posting language like this is okay — it’s not. Technically, you are legally allowed to do it, but that does not mean you should. Whether you are an alumnus, general Mizzou fan or literally just a person who ‘likes’ Mizzou on Facebook, we as an institution do not need your support if this is how you treat its students. Our campus is full of promising young people who will go on to do great things in this world.

Some of them are people of color. Some of them are white people. Some of them are women. Some of them are men. Some of them are straight. And yes, some of them are LGBTQ. However, whether or not each student leaves this institution and changes the world, each of them deserve and demand to be treated with respect: they’re people. And without these people, the university you ‘like’ would not be what it is.

Now, I am sick and tired for a different reason.

Allison Fitts, MU Senior, alftz8@mail.missouri.edu

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