Every day an endless stream of stereotypes surround us. Some of these stereotypes are so common that we move on and don’t think twice about them. For instance, certain stereotypes associated with sexual orientation are based on generalizations, opinions, or even a simple lack of familiarity. Wednesday night, during National Coming Out Week, UGBC’s GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) held a game-show type panel titled “Guess Who’s Gay.” This event was just one of several hosted by the GLC this week, and the week will conclude with the closing ceremonies Friday, October 11 from 9PM – 1AM in the Vandy Cabaret Room (p.s. there will be a mechanical bull).
The mysterious panel of six contestants answered questions from behind a red curtain, and their identities were not revealed until the final question was asked and voting took place. Host Grant Slingerland kept the crowd roaring with laughter through witty jokes (several about BU) and some eccentric comments, and he certainly had no qualms about telling contestant six that her answers weren’t any good.
Questions ranged from favorite movie to what kind of fruit you would like to be and everything in between. No question was off limits unless it revealed the sexuality of the contestant, and many of the questions were far from censored. The brave group of contestants answered each and every question, and the audience voted on the contestants’ sexuality based on their answers. The turnout was awesome, filling Fulton 511, and the audience was extremely engaged.
When asked what an ideal date would entail, a later-proven lesbian contestant answered that she would like to take a walk through Boston because she likes the city lights. A straight contestant answered that her ideal date would involve beer, hot wings, and Netflix. The answers varied drastically, but it was far from easy to decipher the contestants’ sexual orientation from even the most bizarre of questions.
After the final question, each contestant’s sexuality was voted on by the audience one by one. After the votes were taken, the contestant would walk out from behind the red curtain through a door painted with a rainbow of handprints. Voting turned out to be a more difficult process than one would expect, and many of the votes were split. Contestant number one was voted bisexual, yet he turned out to be straight. There was a 50/50 split between votes of bisexual and straight for contestant number two, who turned out to be bisexual. Contestant three was unanimously voted gay and contestant number four was voted lesbian; in these two cases, the crowd was correct. The majority voted contestant number five straight, but he confidently walked out and stated, “I’m full blown gay.” The majority also believed that contestant six was straight, though there was a bit of disagreement, and she turned out to be straight.
The program made a statement by proving one important point – you can’t tell who’s gay just by what’s on the surface. Grant made this point pretty clear by saying, “Look at this. Y’all screwed up half of them. This is all about breaking stereotypes, so it’s good that you got it wrong.” National Coming Out Week has certainly given a strong voice to the GLBTQ community both on campus and around the country. This type of stereotype-shattering event is just what is needed to increase awareness of the community throughout BC’s campus and prove that people are not always what you think.
All images via GLC.