Awareness | Posted by Julie Z on 11/25/2009
Corduroy Skirts are a Sin
So, it’s Thanksgiving break and my brother just came home from college with plenty of stories about the happenings of the Syracuse drama department. I love me some Spring Awakening and Next to Normal, but other than mainstream Broadway I’m pretty much out of the loop when it comes to drama, and sort of just nodded along to the stories. But then, my brother told me about an impromptu protest that started amongst the students and faculty of his department. After hearing about FBomb blogger Leah’s protesting against Stupak, I was pretty stoked to hear about another instance of student activism.
Last week at Syracuse University, Michelle Deferio, Syracuse resident (not student), and her father stood on a street corner on campus holding a sign that read, “Homosexuality is a sin, Christ can set you free.”
Chris Pesto, a junior drama major, decided to take action.
In his own words, on a facebook note about the protest, Chris wrote:
Today (Wednesday, November 18th) I left my voice lesson and noticed two adults on campus holding signs that said “Homosexuality is a sin”. First, I would just like to say that I support people with their own opinions. I think that everyone is entitled to their right to think what they want. However, when someone comes on my campus, where I pay tuition to live, I don’t think it’s appropriate to rub such a hateful sign in someone’s face. I decided that because this woman thought it was okay to make me feel uncomfortable in my home, I would retaliate and make her feel just as uncomfortable, if not more.
This woman was wearing a ankle-length corduroy skirt, which, as we all know, is a fashion nono. So, in order to make her feel uncomfortable, I stood next to her and held a sign that said Corduroy skirts are a sin! I don’t think I have ever drawn so much attention in my life. SO many people asked to take a picture with me, I got laughs, high fives and there were the few that even cursed off the woman standing behind me.
As I drew interest to what was going on with myself and the woman with the hateful sign, I started to draw a crowd that stood with me in support. Before I knew it I had 100+ people holding signs for gay rights asking people to honk their horns to support. I was interviewed by a news station, and more than 5 student organization papers, and the post standard of syracuse.
I never expected anybody to come stand by me and support and I appreciate it so much that everyone came! It meant so much and it proved to those ignorant people that we aren’t afraid, and we will put up a fight.
I’m proud that Syracuse has such a homosexual friendly community.
According to an article in The Daily Orange, Michelle and Jim Deferio are members of the Open-Air Campaigners – an evangelist group who preach their beliefs in public places, such as sidewalks, parks, and apparently college campuses. When asked about the students protesting against them, Jim stated, “”We have free speech in this country, but you don’t have the freedom to not be offended.” (Which I think can best be interpreted as “we have the right to offend you” but please, correct me if I’m wrong on that one).
Although it may have started as a single, humorous defense on Chris Pesto’s part, his one action turned into a protest for a more loving and accepting community. Administration officials heard the call of their students and stated that the Deferios were no longer welcome on Syracuse’s campus.
All I can say is rock on. I mean that sign is so great. I think it’s really cool that somebody could look at that sign, which to Chris was in a way a personal attack as he identifies as gay, and not respond with anger, but with a sense of humor. I always feel pretty weary about protests for “love” that only end up attacking the opposing side. This was clearly handled pretty well.
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