I have been in Wolfville for four days so far. It is a small town, so I know to watch my back at first because, well, a four-year-old could probably look at me and tell that I am a dyke. Still, I had no idea how utterly blatant the homophobia I would experience in my first week here would be. I actually thought it would be better here than most places—I have heard great things about the town of Wolfville and Acadia. And I thought that – being a university town – it might be less populated by bigots or racists.
Last night I decided to go to the Acadia bar. Dragonette was playing, and I like their music. Dragonette are also a queer-friendly band that has played at a number of Pride events. Why not go, right? I am a student. So why not go out on a Friday night to a student event. The show was sold out, but, despite the rain, I decided to hang around to see if anyone was selling a ticket. The line-up outside was about 200 people long, most of them clearly drunk. One guy near the end of the line actually passed out and his friends kept moving ahead in line, leaving him to fend for himself.
It started within ten minutes. A group of about 20 guys joined the middle of the line. They began chanting loudly, over and over: “Fucking Faggots!” It progressed to half of the group yelling “Fucking Faggots!” while the other half responded with “Little Dicks!” This went on for a minimum of fifteen minutes, then at points sporadically throughout the evening.
Now, at the first shout of “Fucking Faggots,” I seriously considered leaving. I did not want to give any of them the satisfaction though; I had as much right to be there as anybody. Besides, I was sober, I am a boxer, and I wanted to keep an eye on things since no one was intervening. I stayed, perhaps out of stubbornness, for a long time. When I did get fed up with the shouting and an unsuccessful search for tickets, I was not yet past the student building when I heard the shouts behind me. “Fag! Hey Fag! Fag! Yo Fag! I got you a ticket, Fag! Hey short-haired Fag, I got you a ticket!” I knew he was talking to me, but I had no idea how to respond. I was alone, at night, on campus, and I did not feel safe. Every part of me was screaming ’do not buy the ticket—just go home,’ but I did buy the ticket—I did not want to walk away.
I have had a few people say to me that this is “typical frat boy behavior” and “not unexpected during frosh week.” Really though, I will not accept that because someone is young, drunk, and at school for the first time, that they can scream bigoted words. Yeah great, you are white, male, straight, and full of testosterone—I do not give a shit. I have the right to feel safe on campus and to go to any fucking event I please. And so does every other LGTBQ individual, and any other minority.
I am not okay with the fact that this is so ingrained in our culture that bigotry can pass as “boys will be boys” innocent play. It is not innocent. It is hate speech. It is vile, anger fueled, fear invoking, and it could have turned violent at any moment.
Furthermore, if they were chanting something racist, they would have been kicked out of the event. So why did they get away with it? This cannot be passed off as campus culture or frosh week drunkenness. These celebrations are intended to orient new students (like myself) to the campus, to make everyone feel welcome and excited about the upcoming academic year. They are not meant to alienate people who identify with minority groups, nor are they meant to make anyone feel unsafe.
And it is not just homophobia. This incident is a prime example of the overt hetero-sexism on display throughout Canadian campuses. That anyone would think that this is expected behavior for drunken young men is appalling.
Campus security was visible the whole time, and one member was very nice to me and asked if I was okay. After the fact though, I cannot help but wonder why those guys were allowed to continue chanting. And why were they allowed into the concert at all?
So yeah, my first week at Acadia pretty much sucked balls. What are you gonna do though right? Boys will be boys? Yeah, well this “faggot” is loud, educated, strong, and relentless. Watch me now.
— The short-haired fag who is really a dyke.Media Credits: Erin Anderson