Letter to the Editor: Intent versus impact

When I saw the recent letter to the editor written by Matt Murphy, I was dismayed at the choice that The Lafayette took to publish it. While I take personal issue with the words espoused by Murphy himself, I am more disappointed with the choice that was taken by the editorial board to post it. While the editorial board convened and discussed if they should publish it, I believe it landed on the wrong decision. 

The newspaper states that “the paper is the forum for the expression of our readers,” but that cannot be used as an excuse to permit and elevate words that tout homophobia. Words like Murphy’s are the same ones that feed into the violence that impacts queer individuals every day. At a time when LGBTQ+ hate is on an unprecedented rise, we are seeing public forums such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok being used as a meeting ground for these opinions. As an avid reader of The Lafayette, it hurts me to see the student newspaper feeding into that narrative. 

The Lafayette deserves to be a forum, but it cannot be so when queer, BIPOC and other historically overlooked groups get used as political points. The publishing of this article set an uncomfortable precedent, allowing non-Lafayette affiliated voices to be uplifted, while queer voices are continuously silenced. I do not believe that the intent of the editorial board was malicious, though I do believe that the possible impact was not understood. 

Queer people are hyper-aware of the danger they face. Hospitals are receiving bomb threats for providing trans-inclusive healthcare, drag performances are being picketed and laws are being proposed and passed that target our existence. Publishing hateful rhetoric is just spurring more violence. We do not need to continue hearing it. Queer people hear the hate and see the violence enough – why, as a school organization, would you continue to uplift and give a platform to those opinions?

It was brought up to me that hate and homophobia would continue to happen whether or not the letter was published – yet I find that a faulty argument. Just because racism, homophobia and ableism continue to manifest does not mean we have to give them a further platform for hate to flourish. As an organization, you have an ethical obligation regarding promoting safety and inclusion among your readers. I believe you have failed that obligation in this situation.

Meredith McGee ’23, OUT vice president