This week at University is Pink Week, celebrating gay rights and sexual diversity. The plaza has been adorned with people wearing pink, the website has shifted from green (Green week) to pink, and in the center of the plaza stood a pink closet.
It makes obvious sense as to why a pink painted closet took center stage on the plaza, taking into account metaphor of coming “out” of said closet. I didn’t take a close look as I hustled to class, but on and inside it was various information, and people writing support for gay rights etc on the closet with markers provided. There have been much weirder things on campus plaza this year, such as a huge cut-out of an elephant which people wrote on too (I never caught on why).
But what made less sense, is seeing that someone set this closet on fire.
I saw it only as a status update yesterday by a friend of mine very involved in RainbowUCT and was a bit dampened. I didn’t expect to feel even more upset as I walked past a pile of rubbish bags the following (this) morning, and seeing remnants of the pink closet among them. The little shrine from yesterday became a memorial spot today. Surrounded by red and white candy-tape, what was left of the closet stood still in the middle of Jammie Plaza, proud for all to see.
I used to be friends with a lot more gay people about a year ago, and I just always found them nice people. I still don’t get why people find them so offensive. Maybe jocky boys think they’re going to hit on them from the moment their eyes meet. If thats not natural for any other person, I somehow doubt thats going to happen just because a person is gay.
In a small naive part at the back of my brain, its nice to think that the world has moved on from being intolerant and hateful, and become a place more accepting. Especially in a place like South Africa, ridden with our Apartheid past. Sadly though, I don’t think we’ve 100% gotten past that either. Its weird to me that someone could actually be so hateful towards a group of people that they would purposefully destroy something which represented them, their beliefs, and general diversity, tolerance and respect.
Talking to a friend of mine today, we wondered weather it could have perhaps been a prank played by some jocks out for a laugh. As awful as that thought may be, it softens the blow in a sense, when the other alternative is thinking that other human beings did this out of hate and intolerance.
And to think that UCT is only a microcosim of the larger world.