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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

As Aggies, we need to foster a level of understanding for the GLBT community

Evan+Flores+stands+by+his+mother+and+her+new+wife+on+campus.
PROVIDED

Evan Flores stands by his mother and her new wife on campus.

I am a Hispanic, heterosexual, Christian male. I bring little to the table when it comes to the obstacles of marginalization that members of the GLBT community may face. But I do bring something to the table. 

I had never met a lesbian until my mother told me she was dating another woman. But, after this weekend, I am now the son of a woman who happily married her partner. I was the best man at their wedding Saturday, in addition to being the DJ. A year ago, my mother called me asking if I could have her blessing, before the same-sex marriage law passed in 2014. At the time we had no idea what was to come or what law was eventually to be passed. The question then was how could they get married? Furthermore, coming from a background where my family was unsure about homosexuality, how should I have responded?

I have seen the struggles she has faced dealing with the judgement of others. But one thing that I have always known since my mom started dating her wife is that despite my beliefs, she is happy — and as her son, I couldn’t ask for anything more. 

In light of National Coming Out Day some of us feel a bit unsure of what to say about the day, myself included. To those of us who don’t share in the experiences of members of the GLBT community, what can we offer to the topic? Should we have input at all?

I was willing to support her choices without getting offended. I kept my same personal beliefs regarding whether or not I believe her marriage or her orientation is right or wrong. That’s called understanding.

The people of the GLBT community have faced many struggles in this road to where we are now and the same can be said about students at A&M who are members of the GLBT community, and we should not discount that. In the face of these hardships, the people of this demographic and students here understand the societal boundaries before them. They will continue on to a world where they will still be limited in some fashion, as my mother was and is sometimes.

We need to respond as a student body to the challenges placed on the shoulders of our fellow peers — homosexual, heterosexual, ethnic, etc. — with understanding.

Throughout my time as a Battalion writer, I have had the privilege of attending many functions with a multitude of Aggies and faculty, and the word that constantly appears the most in conversation is “camaraderie.” On the plaques of the entrances to the Memorial Student Center the core values are listed — Honor, Integrity, Respect, Loyalty, Courage and Selfless Service. 

When the words “We bleed maroon” are said, it doesn’t specify a certain demographic. We are Aggies; we are called to all embody these values, and with them, should come an understanding of each others’ positions in life. But we often lose sight of that.

We all hold different beliefs — some supporting homosexuality, some against — but that should not degrade the respect we should have for each other. We are the next generation of adults, and we will decide which direction our country will take — it begins here at A&M.

Understanding doesn’t require us to change all of our beliefs or values, understanding is a sign that we can respect each other despite our differences, a sign of wisdom and maturity, and that should be our goal. Student or not, straight or homosexual, we all have our experiences; let’s not discount any of them. 

In a world where everyone has a chance to voice their opinion, no one is listening. We fear that listening means giving up. We fear that not calling the other side wrong, not vehemently standing up for our beliefs causes us to abandon them. 

I am here to tell you it doesn’t. 

I am still a Hispanic, heterosexual, Christian male — that has not changed in light of my mother’s wedding. However, I believe that we as a community should recognize the journey this demographic has had; a journey that our country has had to get here, and not minimize the experiences of others regardless of whether we as individuals feel their position or their decisions are wrong or right. We still all have a ways to go before we get everyone on that same page: understanding.  

At the reception that followed my mom’s wedding, people would not stop congratulating them. Crowds stopped in the street to wish them love for an eternity and that is all I could do as well. 

In my toast as their best man, I said this: “There is joy between these two, despite all of the things we have been through to get here, there is still joy. I have gone to many places, I have seen many things, but what I always find hard to forget is when I see joy. I saw it in people’s eyes when they met an American for the first time in China, and orphans’ eyes when we fixed their homes in Mexico, and I see it in the eyes of these two. That’s worth holding on to.”

 Evan Flores is an international studies senior and a news reporter for The Battalion.

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