The cast of "Sex on a Saturday Night" would like to address an issue that concerned many people involved in the production, including audience, cast members, administrators, organizers and peer educators. During the 9 p.m. show, when two male actors portraying a gay couple kissed, the encouraging cheers from a large portion of the audience were marred by boos from a few others. This was disheartening; those who booed flagrantly alienated those struggling to express their own sexuality publicly and, furthermore, promoted a culture of assumption and rumor rather than one of openness about one's life choices.
As a cast, we are concerned for our peers. We ask you to think of those among each class who struggle with "coming out." Around five percent of the Princeton population reports their sexuality as something other than heterosexual. Surveys conducted amongst the nation's general population, however, place the percentage of non-heterosexuals at 8–16 percent of the population. Disregarding correlation between sexual preference and choice of university, this data implies that some Princeton students stay closeted for their entire undergraduate lives.
In our production, we had hoped to let students know that Princeton is a place where you should feel comfortable to express who you are and to move past the assumptions people make about you when they meet you, including, but not limited to, your sexual preference. Those who booed when the two male actors kissed on stage would be well served to learn that Princeton is a place where diversity and tolerance are the standard; alienating others because of who they are or what they believe in is not acceptable here.
Do not forget that you agreed to a Non-Discrimination Policy when you matriculated. As written in "Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities," sexual harassment is defined in part as those actions which create "an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment." The LGBT Center notes this definition to the realm of sexual orientation on their website: "Harassment based on sexual orientation is unwanted verbal or physical conduct based on a person's perceived sexual orientation." Booing the portrayed scene was harassment based on sexual orientation. This means that the booing was completely unacceptable by University standards.
We know that some people find the concept of homosexuality disagreeable and made sure to present this issue within the show. One actor portrayed a character who felt very uncomfortable when others made jokes about being gay and when he encountered a gay couple, even though one of the members of the couple was his friend. But the Princeton community holds us all to a higher standard in terms of the way we present our views. Those who booed succeeded only in hurting others and embarrassing themselves.
We would like to urge everyone to be aware of what you say, what you assume and the different contexts from which people observe your actions. Remember that your peers deserve to be respected and acknowledged. Those who make choices different from your own, not just in terms of sexuality but in every sphere of campus life, have the power to enrich your experience at this University. Do not stifle those with whom you disagree. It is worth it for all of us to promote a culture where people can feel safe and comfortable enough to express themselves.
We would like to leave you with one of President Tilghman's remarks from Commencement last year. "We ... hope that you have developed the capacity to imagine, even if for only a moment, what must be in the mind of a person with whom you profoundly disagree. If you have learned to do this, you will never be able to hate or defame that person, for you will have looked into, and seen firsthand, the humanity in the other that unites us all." Andy Brown '07 is the co-director of "Sex on a Saturday Night" and writes on behalf of the cast. He is a Computer Science major and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.