College of the Holy Cross campus made an unprecedented advance this past month when a student openly declared that he was straight. Although he felt comfortable sharing his identity with me and a few other people in Cool Beans, he requested that I would not include his name in this article for security reasons. “This is the first time I’ve said this out loud in front of other people,” he told us. “My heart’s racing, but I feel good. This feels right.”
This student felt a growing sense of empowerment after seeing events on campus, such as Pride’s annual event “Breaking the Closet.” In a follow-up interview, he explained his journey in more detail. “I saw so many people on this campus having the courage to stand up in front of others and share their sexual orientations and how that impacted their lives. I came to realize after a few events that nobody had talked about their straight identity, and it made me feel initially very isolated.” This student dreams of creating an environment on campus where other straight students can find a community and share their stories on the hill.
Early polling from the Spire suggests that this student may have a small but potent sample size at Holy Cross to connect with. An anonymous survey we published asked several questions that students may feel uncomfortable answering in person. The questions covered a variety of topics, and these results will appear in subsequent issues of the Spire. Be sure to check out our article next month using this data, titled “How Far Can We Take an Academic Debate on Ethics?” Not surprisingly, our question of “What is your sexual orientation?” had a majority response of “Whatever I’m feeling when I’m drunk.” In a twist of events that shocked our data collection team, the answer “Straight” got a response of 11 percent. This contradicts previous polling data conducted by other student groups from 2016, where this answer only had a 5 percent response rate.
The suggested presence of such a sizable straight community on campus prompted the Spire staff to reach out to alumni and see if they would help sponsor some space that straight-identifying students could use as a collective, nurturing space. A few incredibly wealthy alumni are unsure about what specific space straight students would need, but the idea of an athletic complex seems to be an early contender. In their proposed plans, Brooks-Mulledy Hall would be torn down to make room for an indoor complex that contains half a football field, three basketball courts, and a table tennis arena. Talks with the administration have just begun, so it is still unclear whether or not this will resemble the final plan at all.
We returned to our lone straight student and informed him about the survey and alumni talks. The tears of joy that started to form in his eyes told us everything we needed to know. We asked once again if we could publish his story anonymously, and he gave an enthusiastic affirmation. “I want my story to reach the campus, and I hope it encourages those other straight students to make the leap into the public sphere like I did.”