In Which an Organizer for Yale’s “True Love Week” Scolds IvyGate for Inquiring About Their Anti-Gay Speaker
About a week ago, IvyGate was busy emailing the organizers of True Love Week (happening now at Yale) because we’d discovered that one of their boldfaced speakers, Anthony Esolen (pictured), had published a treatise against homosexuality, gay people, and gay marriage—a kind of Summa Gayologica, if you will. The first True Love Weeker to respond was Bijan Aboutorabi ’13, the same Yale student who on Monday introduced Esolen for his lecture, which turned out to involve Celtic step-dancing. Aboutorabi said that he couldn’t comment on the subject because Esolen’s writings weren’t in his group’s “topical purview.”
That was a little bizarre: Esolen and the Undergraduates for a Better Yale College (the group organizing True Love Week) both wish to regulate the private behavior of consenting adults. That’s the whole point of Esolen’s writings and of True Love Week in general: to tell others what to do. (In this sense, UBYC and a certain Ivy League sex columnist have much in common.) So we asked again: in the world of True Love Week, where do gay people stand?
In light of the extremely deviant kiss-in that interrupted Esolen’s lecture, we’re publishing the full wall of text we soon received from Eduardo Andino ’13 (pictured), another officer of UBYC, whom we paraphrased in the original post:
[Undergraduates for a Better Yale College] was created, as the name indicates, to address the problems of sexual culture on Yale’s campus. We began with the interpretation that campus events such as DKE and the Title IX complaints are symptoms of an underlying malady, a disturbing sexual obsession. As such, it is not an organization which has been made to lay out a comprehensive philosophical system that addresses all sexual questions. Our opposition to Sex Week should be a good indication of what we stand for: a campus that is less obsessed with sex and physical pleasure and more focused on love of the person (note that these two things are not mutually exclusive; rather, sexuality ought to take place within the greater context of love and commitment, which sheer physical desire alone cannot achieve). It is our belief that pursuit of genuine love brings a humanizing effect to campus, and that a lax attitude towards sexuality leads to objectification and disrespect among students (hence DKE, hence claims of a rape culture). We believe that events like Sex Week 2010 indicated that the campus was not only unhealthily fixated on sex, but to a degree that indicated an impending social crisis if things continued to deteriorate. That is precisely the reason we took seriously the idea of calling upon the administration to call off Sex Week, as did the Marshall Committee a couple of months later. The speakers for True Love Week were chosen with an eye towards promoting the idea I stated earlier, that the pursuit of physical pleasure alone and the exclusive focus on sex creates an environment of exploitation, disrespect, and degradation. Sex Week leaves a gap in the anthropology of sexuality by focusing only on (gratuitous) physical pleasure and the act of sex itself. It makes hardly any mention of the interpersonal element of human love and relationship, which is the only context in which sex can be truly satisfying and happy.
Hmm, well. We’re not very convinced that the question of gay people requires a “comprehensive philosophical system” for UBYC to muster an answer. And it’s a little disingenuous to claim that an organization whose website devotes thousands of words, spread over many essays, to explaining their world-view, doesn’t at least attempt to construct a philosophy to defend their leering fixation on the sexual lives of their peers.
Also! Andino appended his wall of text with this:
I cannot help but feel that the tone of this conversation became confrontational before it even began. I invite you to come to True Love Week events and see for yourself what they have to offer. Your tenor suggests you are attempting to catch us in a snare so you can mock us on your blog. I am not fond of this approach. See what we are doing for yourself, and then say what you will, but please do not put us in your inquisitorial chair for questioning. The mean-spirited nature of most of your blog posts and your tendency to delight in gossip does not give me any desire to engage in conversation with you.
But really. This is a leader of a group which asks others for the benefit of the doubt, which summons a plea for tolerance for those “with whom they disagree”, and then invites a professor who details, in several thousand words, why he thinks gay people should disappear forever. If good-natured discussion and tolerance are the principles on which the Undergraduates for a Better Yale College believe they stand, inviting such a comprehensively bigoted and intolerant speaker is a strange way to say so.