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University of Virginia student calls "not gay" chant cowardly

A straight student at the University of Virginia has written a powerful column in the student newspaper calling those who chant "not gay" during sporting events cowards and bullies. Students have been inserting the word “not” before the word “gay” (originally meant as happy) in the school’s “Good Ol’ Song” sung before most sports events.

Writing in the Cavalier Daily under the headline "Act Your Age," Andrew Wells minced no words for those who continue this homophobic tradition:

Hearing the chanting during football games, I ask myself how in the world students acting that juvenile demonstrated the requirements necessary to get into the University in the first place. Bullies are usually exposed as being cowards, and that is exactly what these people are. Huddled in the midst of throngs of other fans, screaming out with no regard for the implications of what they are saying or who they are hurting. The simple truth is, the chanting and its juvenile, caustic nature, is doing damage to the very University that these students claim to cherish. ...

But there is no honor in bullying, period. And the group of students and alumni who are making a mockery of both the honor code and the University are bullies. I have a message to each and every one of those chanting. If you have something to say, do not hide among your friends, among a crowd, to say it. I will respect your opinion if you share it with me as such. I may not agree with you, but I will certainly think of you differently than I do now.

Wells said the issue matters to him as a straight person because it goes beyond sexual orientation and deals with honor and respect. The student council last year passed a resolution calling on people to stop the chant, and it seems more and more like a tired relic from a homophobic past that is becoming more distant. Bravo to Andrew Wells for calling out his fellow students who continue the chant.

Hat tip to Twin Fifty-Eight.