Ramapo Reacts: A Shifting Societal Issue

In contemporary society, American culture is often referred to as heteronormative, or as a nation where heterosexuality is acknowledged as the social standard. In a culture dominated by institutionalized norms and policies, laws reinforce the belief that romantic relationships should only exist between men and women who fit complementary gender roles.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community is often marginalized by these old dogmas. There is hope for change, however. In-person interviews were held with students on campus on the superficially controversial issue of gay and lesbian college students living with straight students. The results of the survey were staggering. 

The survey asked Ramapo students how they would react if their roommate “came out” to them as openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer.

Despite the common misconception that college students would feel awkward living with a gay or lesbian roommate, students in the 18-22 age group, of all ethnic backgrounds and religions, came to a consensus that it would not matter if their roommate was a part of the LGBTQ community.

Interestingly, a majority of students who identified with the Christian faith-the world’s leading religious affiliation-were very supportive of the idea. Jennifer Ovalles, 18, replied, “I would thank them for being open with me. It wouldn’t change a thing.”

In retrospect, many of the students surveyed had supporting statements such as, “I would be proud of them for coming out”  and “I love everyone.”

Clearly, the results reflect a shifting, more understanding society than that of our grandparents’ time. When was that again?

It is evident that Ramapo students and younger generations today are open to the idea of societal change with non-heterosexual relationships becoming prevalent. Slowly but surely, college campuses are becoming more understanding and accepting of gay and lesbian relationships that differ from the previous, ancient idea of a heteronormative society.

After American institutions and policies are done chasing prehistoric standards, we can come together and embrace equality. Love is love and it is only a matter of time before the social standards of the nation are reevaluated and the gay community can receive full civil and political rights, as well as acceptance from all institutions.