Bigotry lives, even on a college campus where one would think Christian values and progressive thinking would be the order of the day.
About five years ago, I stuck a Human Rights Campaign “equal sign” logo on the door to my office, along with my nameplate, a replica of the Rosetta stone, and a note to pesky used-book buyers that I don’t have stacks of review copies they can pick up on the cheap and sell at a huge profit.
But back to the HRC logo — posting it was my own small way of indicating friendship and openness to gay or lesbian students who might happen to pass by. If anyone should hassle them, I thought, at least they’ll know where they can find a safe place to unburden and find an advocate.
Not everyone knew that the symbol was: at least one student asked my why I had a “pause” symbol on my door. I explained that the “pause” command on video players would be turned 90 degrees, and that the blue and yellow equal sign was a logo suggesting openness or acceptance for the GLBT community.
A few students have seen the logo and dropped in to seek a friendly face during the years, though not many. Our administration and campus leaders have taken steps to encourage understanding and inclusivity, and most of the younger students are inherently more open to folks of varying persuasions.
But not all, apparently. When I arrived on campus this week, someone had ripped the HRC logo from my door. It didn’t fall off: paper from the back of it was still stuck to the tape that had held it to the door.
No, someone took offense at the notion that we should show love and acceptance to all of our brothers and sisters, even those whose gender identities fall into the minority.
That makes me sad — not just for the message it could send to students who might notice it missing, but for the person so overcome by animus and intolerance that he or she would remove a simple emblem of acceptance from my door.
All is not gloom, however. Thousands of students through the years have passed by the logo and let it be, even as they let other people be. Bigotry lives, but so does love — and hope for a better day.