Letter To The Editor: April 10, 2014

By Jonathan Wyatt Koma

To the Editor,

While walking through Towers Lobby yesterday, I was caught off guard by a small, though alarming, flyer that was littering the ground. Delivering information regarding the Health Fair at the School of Pharmacy, this flyer had a great list of topics ranging from cancer to dementia to diabetes. The list ended, however, with a topic that was not like the others: “LGBT.”

Simply put, this isn’t a viable discussion topic for a health fair. The health fair makes the mistake of mixing both preexisting clinical conditions with unhealthy decisions — seen in the listing of “cancer” with “physical activity.” This exposes the prevalence of misinformation about the LGBT community proliferated by advertisements that create a dangerous parallel between sexuality and illness. The implicit association of LGBT with tobacco use and physical inactivity implies that being a member of the LGBT community is an unhealthy choice.

Further, this health fair neglects heterosexual activity in its campaign, which thereby associates homosexual activity with diseases — further stigmatizing the LGBT community by associating it with illness. I am fairly certain there isn’t any disease that only afflicts gays, so why would only LGBT be listed in the health-fair advertisement? Obviously, this advertising campaign is, itself, afflicted by misinformation.

As a member of the gay community on campus, it is incredibly frustrating to see such a vividly negative association of the LGBT community with illness. I assumed that such a diverse college community would be intuitively more intelligent about incorrect associations, yet I am left disappointed.

Jonathan Wyatt Koma

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

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