Sleep with whomever you want, just stay off my lawn!

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

I’m going to be honest with you here. There weren’t a number of gay people in my hometown of Armour, S.D.

Sure, you heard the rumors and conjecture that those two ladies who lived together were lesbians or that lonely old man loved men, but Armour never had a gay pride parade (though I think everyone would have had a lot of fun).

As an adolescent, I read stories in magazines and newspapers about the homosexual population of the United States of America but didn’t really think I would ever actually meet someone who was gay.

And then I came to college and met several people who were gay.

And I changed my mind.

Homosexuality is a hot topic on this campus right now. The theater department is smokin’ ’em with The Laramie Project nightly. The final edition of our sex series prominently features a gay couple. We’ve got a big story on the Lifestyles page about homophobia.

If one were to look closely at campus this week, one would think it was “Out and Proud Week” at SDSU.

But that’s simply not the case. And it will never be the case unless people change suddenly and swiftly in our little neck of the woods.

I’ve been trying to find people for a “Young and Gay in South Dakota” story since the start of the school year. While I contacted a few people, I was deeply aware that the article would, at the least, expose that person to teasing and, at the most, expose that person to violence.

I had no takers.

Why do we care so much about this seemingly insignificant little detail?

Why do we allow it to trump everything else in the political spectrum when it is mentioned?

Only abortion prompts hotter heads in South Dakota. But abortion is different. It’s an actual ethical dilemma with convincing arguments on both sides of the fence.

This is simply about people being treated fairly and with respect. It should be so easy.

But, of course, it’s not.

I used to believe unequivocally that homosexuality was a sin.

But is it?

I certainly don’t know. The Bible makes mention of it a few times, but it certainly doesn’t reference it more than, say, greed.

In addition, the Bible doesn’t talk about homosexuality in any real modern sense. Most references to it refer to homosexual rape, which we can all agree is wrong, and not the sort of lasting same-sex relationships we see today.

So I don’t know if homosexuality is a sin. It’s not really my place to decide if it is either. I would have to assume that’s God’s place and the last time I checked, I wasn’t Him (I’ll be sure to rule on this matter if I suddenly start creating worlds merely by speaking them).

So I’ve simply stopped caring. People are people and I’m not going to stop them from doing what they do. As long as everyone stays off of my lawn, I’m okay.

And my friends are my friends. And nothing I will say will stop them from being gay.

And I like it that way, thank you very much.

Todd VanDerWerff is the Collegian’s managing editor. Write to him [email protected].