The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Senate seat about more than representation

By Samuel Digiovanni

In the past few weeks my friends have come to me asking for my opinion about the LGBT Senate seat, which ultimately failed to pass by a two-thirds majority last week.

As one of the only LGBT people in my group of friends, everyone was curious to know how I felt about it. In my initial discussions, I told them that I am always in support of anything on this campus that promotes equal representation and LGBT rights.

However, I was not sure how the seat would be used in day-to-day Senate operations, as I do not think a gay person would have a differing opinion on the 2014-2015 Senate budget based on his or her sexual orientation.

When the seat did not pass I took some time to think about what that meant. I’ll admit I was surprised.

I have been lucky to have the most incredible group of friends who have been nothing but supportive over the years. Maybe my friends have deluded me into thinking the entire SMU population felt the same way as they did. Clearly 41 percent of them do not.

It happened, the seat lost again, and so I gave even more thought to the issue. I wanted to reach a rational conclusion on why the seat might be important or useful.

The conclusion I came to was that this Senate seat was not about practical application, day-to-day senator duties or anything really “senate-y” at all. It was about something much simpler: support.

When I walked onto this campus freshman year I was alone and scared. I had the chance to start a new life, develop a new identity and grow as a young adult.

Instead, I spent almost the entire first year of my college experience creating the man everyone wanted to see. I dated women, went to frat parties, drank a lot and tried to stomach the idea that my sexuality was something I’d soon have to face.

But that story isn’t specific to me.

Similar stories are told by every single LGBT person who has struggled to discover who they really are.

And trust me, whether you are at SMU or Cal Berkeley, coming out is a struggle. But the difference lies in what these strugglers perceive.

When I was coming out I had no one to talk to, no confidant or role model who had gone through what I was going through. I had no one to tell me, “It’s going to be okay, I was right where you were.”

This seat would have been a much-appreciated guiding light on the difficult path toward coming out.

I’m not saying this senator would (or should) become SMU’s personal LGBT shrink, waiting patiently for closet-cases to approach them and talk about their feelings. I had hoped, rather, this seat would allow anyone hurting to know there is at least one other person on this campus who has struggled like you, hurt like you, cried like you, but ultimately overcame whatever demons they may have faced.

And on top of that, they have decided to stick their neck out further and represent you on this campus. SMU students still struggling with their identity would know the highest law in the SMU land recognizes that LGBT people are worthy of representation and more importantly, validation.

I by no means think this seat would solve even a tenth of the problems LGBT students face here, but it would be a great place to start.

Digiovanni is a senior majoring in marketing.

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