For nearly a decade I have known that Elon University, located near Burlington, North Carolina, is a hotbed of gay activism. On one occasion when I spoke at the school, Elon gay activists tried to hijack the Question and Answer session at the end of my speech on feminism by changing the topic to homosexuality. When the activists tried to grill me on my views on gay marriage and adoption I politely reminded them that homosexuality was not the topic of my speech. The fact that dozens of gay activists had flocked to my speech on feminism seemed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to their cause.
A few years later, I wrote about the Elon gay activist effort to have Chick-fil-A banned from campus for contributing money to “hate groups” like the Family Research Council, which was campaigning against gay marriage. With no sense irony, this effort to exclude Chick-fil-A was done in the name of tolerance and inclusion. These activists even set up a special committee to review extensively all of the associations of Chick-fil-A. Again, they appeared to display a sincere and genuine commitment to their cause.
Although I have long disagreed with the policy positions of Elon’s gay activists, I have never questioned their sincerity. However, a recent email from a reader is now causing me to rethink the validity of their movement. The reader happens to be a part time Uber driver who lives in Burlington, NC. Because he works in the Burlington area, most of his passengers are Elon University students. Recently, he overheard the following conversation between two male Elon students riding in the back seat of his car:
Student A: "I want to move back on campus but housing doesn't have anything."
Student B: "Dude, just tell them that you're gay."
Student A: "What!? I'm not gay!"
Student B: "Seriously, dude, I have a buddy who did that. He told them he didn't feel safe off campus. They found him a place."
Student A: “Really? I might have to try that.”
You have to admire the genius of the student’s plan. There is really no way he can be caught. Even if he moves into the dorm and is technically caught with a woman he cannot be removed. In fact, in such a seeming predicament he would have two bulletproof options. He could either a) claim that he identifies as a woman therefore rendering his encounter to be lesbian in nature, or b) claim that his girl identifies as male, thus preserving the hoax that he is still, in fact, a gay man.
So, as you can see, the next time I speak at Elon and a protestor casually mentions that he is gay I will be questioning the validity of his claim. Maybe he really is gay or maybe he is just trying to preserve a sweet deal in university housing.
Most people would recoil at the very idea that college students could be given preferential treatment in housing simply because of their sexual orientation. They might even probe the implications and wonder whether a straight black man has even been evicted from housing in order to make room for a gay white man. I just hope that one day we will learn to judge students by the content of their character and not the color of their bumper stickers.
As offensive as the policies at Elon seem, they are not as bad as the ones on some campuses in the UNC system. Some of these publicly-funded schools have actually given scholarships to students on the basis of sexual orientation. Hopefully, some may start to question how many recipients of the LGBT scholarships have been faking it.
Of course, the larger question is why we give such scholarships in the first place.