Letter to the Editor

The Lafayette recently published a Letter to the Editor sent in by Matt Murphy, a teacher from New Hampshire. This letter was chock-full of illogical arguments seeking to justify hockey player Ivan Provorov’s decision to boycott the Philadelphia Flyers Pride Night. Beyond my personal disagreement with the homophobic rhetoric Murphy used, I believe the larger issue at hand is why The Lafayette decided that Murphy’s letter was something that needed to be published. This poor choice reveals a general lack of awareness of the methods by which homophobia perpetuates itself.

According to The Lafayette, Letters to the Editor are not published if they violate freedom of speech laws. Letters that include hate speech or slurs are therefore not published. Seeing as Murphy’s letter did not contain any homophobic slurs, there is currently no guideline restricting its publication. From a journalistic sense, it might seem only fair to publish the letter in pursuit of impartiality. However, impartiality, in this case, comes at the expense of an oppressed student population. By publishing Murphy’s letter, The Lafayette has implied that simplistic free speech principles are paramount to the well-being of Lafayette students.

While Murphy’s letter did not include slurs, it still inflicts harm on LGBTQ+ students. Take, for example, a quote from Murphy’s letter in which he argues that boycotting Pride Night was equivalent to boycotting a military appreciation night: “would it be wrong for a player to boycott a ‘military appreciation night’ should their views be opposed to what it stands for?” It seems Murphy’s goal was to have readers realize that they can’t be upset with Provorov’s boycott if they would support a player abstaining from participation in a military appreciation event. However, this comparison is flawed and furthers the deeply harmful idea that queer individuals get to “pick” their sexuality. Currently, serving in the military is a choice an individual makes regarding their career. Being gay is not a choice. The idea that one decides to be gay has irreparably harmed thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals, from subjecting them to torturous conversion techniques to disownment from loved ones to a dearth of representation in most forms of media. This is just one example of how Murphy’s sentiments contribute to the suffering of the LGBTQ+ community. I am disappointed that The Lafayette published a letter that fuels mistreatment of LGBTQ+ individuals in the pursuit of “free speech.”

Harper Will ’25