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5 Thoughts About “The Mean Girls of Morehouse”

1. Last week, one of my homegirls sent me a text suggesting I write something up about HBCU homecoming weekends. According to her, they’re an endless reservoir of hilarity and revelry, a place where “…educated negroes go to get it poppin, eat fish sandwiches, party on the Greek plots, and get pregnant“. When I reminded her I didn’t attend an HBCU and I’ve never actually been to any college homecoming event (This may be a regional thing. I could be wrong, but the whole homecoming thing seems to be a bigger deal with southern colleges and universities in general), she basically stated this is exactly why I should try to attend one and write about it. Although I’m not a complete outsider, my lack of exposure to and experience with HBCU homecoming culture would allow me to see things with fresh eyes without worrying about any contextual baggage clouding my vision.

Anyway, while I probably won’t be doing any HBCU homecoming write-ups any time soon, this same “somewhat, but not really educated” outsider perspective applied when crafting my thoughts about “The Mean Girls of Morehouse”, Aliya S. King’s Vibe magazine piece about “The Plastics”—a group of cross-dressing gay men at Morehouse College. (The title itself is an allusion to Mean Girls, a movie where an elusive clique of girls—The Plastics—socially dominated a high school)

2. Of the myriad feelings this article induced (wonder, shock, hunger, etc), one was much more prominent than the rest: Pity.

I’m far from an expert in human sexuality, but something has to be seriously off with man so uncomfortable with his own skin that he takes female hormones to feel more normal. And while this may be an excessively “heteronormative” way of seeing things, I can’t help but feel bad for men whose sexual and social heteromorphicness will be the butt of jokes, the target of ridicule, and the object of abject disrespect for the rest of their time on Earth.

3. I don’t know if this was intentional, but the numerous references in King’s piece to the food each of the Plastics happened to be eating when she interviewed them (“Nibbling on sushi…“, “…nibble on biscuits…“, “Sipping martinis and eating chicken wings…“) did the impossible task of making them seem even more effeminate than they already were. Actually, I’m certain this was intentional, and I wonder why King felt the need to go there.

I also wonder if there’s any possible way that food eating could be conveyed in a “masculine” manner. It just seems like whenever a man is described eating food, it effeminizes him, and I have no idea why it is. Maybe “Between violent bites of an aged porterhouse and shots of Patron off of the grits and silicone enhanced booty of Cubana Lust“, would work, but that’s about it.

4. “The article, which I haven’t actually taken the time to sit down and read yet, is probably fucked up. We will continue to stand by our values, which apparently include writing scathing letters in response to things that haven’t actually happened yet”—A cliffnotes summary of Morehouse College president Robert M. Franklin’s  letter to Morehouse alums (dated 10/9/10), addressing the “Mean Girls” article (which posted 10/11/10).

Never mind the troubling fact that the president of one of the most storied and prestigious universities in the country publicly and brazenly admitted to not actually reading an article before firing off a reflexive missive to it, I just wonder if President Franklin approaches other areas of his life with the same mindset. Would he file for divorce from his wife today because he heard she’s going to cheat on him in 2016? Does he own a bunch of “Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2021 Super Bowl Champs” t-shirts and commemorative coffee cups? Has he ever fired a secretary for forgetting to remind him about his own funeral? If there’s anyone reading this with intimate knowledge of Franklin’s day-to-day doings, please let me know.

5. Although I do sympathize with how I imagine a person must feel when told their way (of dress, of behavior, of speaking) is wrong and worthy of reprimand (especially if the “way” isn’t harming anyone), I just can’t side with people who feel the Morehouse community should be much more understanding and accepting of the Plastic’s plight. I actually think it’s rather audacious for a person (or group of people) to suggest an institution with a centuries old way of doing things make concessions for a few exhibiting intentionally abnormal and bizarre behavior¹. And yes, while being gay isn’t abnormal or bizarre by any stretch of the imagination, going so far to appear as a woman that you rock pumps and pop female hormone pills definitely is. A private all-male institution asking men to not act and dress like women isn’t a fight for equal rights, a damning example of the constrictive nature of patriarchy, or an indictment of the black community’s latent homophobia. It’s just a private all-male institution asking men to not act and dress like women.

As Brian “Bri” Alston states in the article “They (Morehouse) don’t know what to do with us.” After reading about the Plastics, I wouldn’t know what the hell to do either.

¹I’m aware of the argument that Morehouse officials don’t enforce the parts of the dress code dealing with saggy pants and hats in class with the same energy as the parts dealing with nontraditional male dress. But, while I understand why people feel this is a double standard, from a logistics stand point it’s much, much easier to notice a 6’4” man with pumps and skinny jeans than a guy whose pants happen to be a couple inches off of his waist. This is less apples and oranges than apples and hand grenades.

—The Champ

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • datgidigirl

    oooh you gonna get some hate mail….

    As someone who attended a women’s college, I never got why women who wanted to be men would want to go there, so I guess this applies to Morehouse. Why are you at a gentlemen’s college when you don’t want to be a gentleman?

    • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

      Not to be nosy, but did you go to Smith? Just curious because I read an article a while back about them having to modify some of their facilities, since they had an increasing number of students who entered as women but graduated as men. Thought going to an all women’s school was self-defeating

      • datgidigirl

        I went to Wellesley :) but we had similar issues as Smith had…

    • Constance

      “Why are you at a gentleman’s college when you don’t want to be a gentleman?”

      This, to me, is the only question that should be asked or entertained.

      • A Plus

        “Why are you at a gentleman’s college when you don’t want to be a gentleman?”

        mayhaps because they want to be around some good looking gentlemen?? i know i ALMOST went to hampton because when i went for a campus tour i saw the foinest men i’ve ever seen on earth.

      • YaleGent

        I agree with you.

      • http://emdottie.com EmDottie

        I concur. In that case why show up to that school at all, and then be surprised to be treated the way you are when you put yourself out there in such a way that would be condemned? Not to say you can’t express yourself but go somewhere where you’ll be more accepted than criticized.

    • Humble_One

      @datgidigirl

      “Why are you at a gentlemen’s college when you don’t want to be a gentleman”

      Same reason why a man would like to go to an all girls school. Lol.
      But seriously, Morehouse is a good school. Why wouldn’t they want to go there if they want a good education?

      • Constance

        The good education argument is weak as there are many other good schools in the country that would be more accommodating to their lifestyle.

        • Boogie Maximus

          yea what she said!

          • killoh

            Well what if they just happen to want to go to the best all black school, as apposed to someplace like NYU where they would be accepted, AND dress the way they do? Who are you to tell them they cant have their cake and eat it too?
            Well I actually dont go to Morehouse so I don’t care, but yeah.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        yeah, that’s not a good reason at all. lol. you go to morehouse for all the pomp and circumstance of morehouse, one of which is becoming a morehouse man, with the emphasis on man.

        what kind of sense does it make to be at a school for men running around calling yourself sister girl.

        • http://twitter.com/s0_flyy So Flyy

          what kind of sense does it make to be at a school for men running around calling yourself sister girl.

          & w/ this statement iDie.

        • Yeah…So

          too funny

          • Steeler Steve

            I think this gets at the core issue. Morehouse is an institution dedicated to creating productive young men in the classic sense. I’m sure the school and alums feel like this is an assault on the central purpose of the school.

    • dudette

      Good question. I was wondering why they didn’t just apply to Spellman. I understand that they are transgendered (if you’re taking female hormones you’ve got to be trans), so it would make sense that they just apply to a women’s college. I think that women in general would be more sensitive towards these “women in transition” but I guess they don’t care about that. It seems that they are just looking for attention.

      • Dee

        . I was wondering why they didn’t just apply to Spellman. I understand that they are transgendered (if you’re taking female hormones you’ve got to be trans), so it would make sense that they just apply to a women’s college.

        A woman’s college might be more accommodating, I just don’t think Spellman would.

        • http://untweetable.blogspot.com M. Ehuma A. Daniels

          it’s Spelman. one L. thank you! =)

          proud Spelmanite class of 2012.

          & i love Morehouse College. Vibe was wrong for that article. Even though the treatment of the boys were wrong, they shouldn’t have painted the entire school to be warzone of sorts.

          • Dee

            Darn spell check!

      • Todd

        Word! I was thinking the same thing. In all seriousness, couldn’t they just give these ladies a free transfer to Spelman once they transition and call it a day? I believe in freedom to be you and me, but if you’re transgendered, why the heck are you going to a college full of cisgendered men? The logic behind that is mind-boggling.

    • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

      If you like men, where else to be but a place filled with men, right? That’s my answer. Do people think the men laced in drag are the only gays at morehouse? lol I think it’s obvious why they are there. Shoot, I want to join Morehouse too pumps and all.

      • datgidigirl

        But we don’t allow men to come to women’s colleges even if they would like to go, just because you want to go doesn’t mean you have to be allowed to go.
        just saying

    • Hawaii

      “Why are you at a gentlemen’s college when you don’t want to be a gentleman?”

      …and it was written.
      Love it!

      • Allykat

        Nuff said

    • DB

      Isn’t being a gentleman more of a reflection of your character and the way you act towards others than how you dress??

    • http://facebook.com/godissalvation Joshua Alexander

      I agree with the statement about being at a gentlemen’s college and dressing like a female. Why do that it’s contrary to what you are representing.
      Futhermore anybody attending any school (especially a historical black college) should understand what the school represents for them & the future.
      We as black ppl complain about alot but when opportunities arise we show at times how unprepared and willfully ignorant we can be. I am not saying we are not going to make mistakes Lord knows I have made plenty but honestly we should be more aware of our actions and if/when we do make wrong choices to not run away from the issue but own up to it.
      This is for everybody who is somebody “we” cannot be perfect but somethings can be done correctly the 1st time. I support everybody who wants more out of life than what they see. To help others, instead of judge as if you your closet don’t have skeleton’s, lead by example be the man/woman you were created to be and hope someone sees your sincerity and strives to become better in life.

  • Helagramki

    LOL @ Image Not Viewable Worksafe Mode ‘On’ for the Cubana Lust pics.

  • En

    SECOND!!!

  • http://theothersideofphlyy.blogspot.com PhlyyGirl

    I agree with #5 the most of all.

    I don’t believe that being gay or transgender is wrong. But I do believe that trying to force your lifestyles and beliefs on anyone is wrong and that’s what the plastics seem to be doing.
    If you want to live life as a woman, fine. But why not choose to attend another university in the AUC? or any of the other 50-11 HBCU’s in the country?
    I don’t think that Morehouse should change their code for this group and if I was in administration at morehouse, I wouldn’t know what to do with them either.

    *The second morehouse is lowercase because I went to Howard, which is really the only HBCU that deserves to be Capitalized all the time!

    • MoreAndAgain

      But, that’s the thing, Morehouse DID change their policy for the Plastics. The policy they are now enforcing is new, and designed to target those people specifically. I could see if the Plastics enrolled in Morehouse knowing what the dress code was going to be, but they didn’t.

      • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

        It was changed almost two years ago, at which point I’m sure Morehouse didn’t feel they needed to tell the men explicitly how to dress, but apparently they now do.

        Even if these men were unaware, day one looking around at all the other men in slacks and well-fitting jeans while they are in skirts and leggings would have been the tip off that maybe they were deviating from the expected norm.

        • MoreAndAgain

          It was changed a year and a half ago, at which point several of The Plastics were already attending the school. And, I’m pretty sure being transsexual they were used to not dressing the way everyone else was dressed. Why would they change just because the other students weren’t transsexual as well?

          • MoreAndAgain

            Correction, it was changed October of last year.

          • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

            My question to you is why wouldn’t they? Morehouse is an esteemed establishment with a reputation for excellence and nothing less. It’s a school built on tradition. Why would these men go to a school where they know their lifestyles wouldn’t be accepted? And when has it become the American way to bend to every whim a student may have instead of teaching them?

            They want to dress like women that is fine. There are liberal schools all across America who allow and sometimes even encourage those types of things. But Morehouse is not a liberal school, and they knew that before they even enrolled.

            As for not dressing how everyone else was dressing, the young man pictured above stated that when he goes home he takes off his make-up, his weave and dresses how his father wants him to dress. Why would he expect less from Morehouse than he does his own father, especially when his father wanted him to go there in the first place?

            I’m not saying these men can’t be who they are. I’m saying they have to play by the rules first, and then buck the system especially if they wish to be esteemed Morehouse men.

            • UrbanDismay

              I agree with every word of this. Well said.

            • Tonya

              Why would he expect less from Morehouse than he does his own father, especially when his father wanted him to go there in the first place?

              The part of your question: “when his father wanted him to go there in the first place”..

              All of these questions asking about why they would go to Morehouse had me, not knowing anything other than what I have read in this thread (Pres. Franklin), wondering what outside pressures influenced their decision to attend.

              Maybe dad was like: “You’re GOING to Morehouse..or else you are on your own”.. type ish. Finances being what they are maybe he felt he had no choice.

              Also being LGBT in this country is hard, no matter where you choose to live. The pressure and discrimination makes one act in a way that is hard to explain. Why do men on the DL get married and potentially put an innocent female’s life at risk?

              Because of HORRIBLE people like that student at Rutgers who videotaped his roommate make LGBT’s feel that living a ‘normal’ life is the only way to cope. So they do what is ‘expected’ of them.

              Yet these trans felt a sense of ‘comfort’ in their identity upon arrival at Morehouse to the extent they felt they can put their heels on and be proud?

              I need to read the article. I need to understand how the students are reacting to their peers dressing as women. Do the students accept them and the battle is just with administration and the outside public?

              • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

                @ Tonya
                I understand that he may have been pressured by his father, moreover that he felt he may have had something to prove. However, in knowing what his father expected of him it’s safe to assume he’d know the school his father wanted him to go to would expect the same thing of him if not more.

            • DB

              The thing that is killing me is that shouldn’t being a “Morehouse” man be more about character than about dress. And if they are concerned with excellence…what does that have to do with how they dress? If these students pay their tuition, study hard and get good grades, are civically engaged and involved in the African American community….how is that not excellence…because they like to wear heels?? Who cares…people need to get over the way someone looks and get to know a person…you can great or trifilin in a suit or in a dress. Let people be who they are and start looking at who a person is instead of what they look like.

      • http://theothersideofphlyy.blogspot.com PhlyyGirl

        It wasn’t specifically just for them. They made the dress policy around the time that Atlanta was going through the whole “no sagging” LAW.
        And why wouldn’t they know what the dress code would be at an institution of higher learning?
        There are certain standards of dress everywhere you go. I don’t wear a 3 piece suit to the gym, nor do I wear yoga pants to an office meeting. That doesn’t mean I can’t express myself, I just have to find ways to do it inside of the boundaries within which I am operating at any given time.

        • MoreAndAgain

          Actually, the dress part of the policy was directed specifically at The Plastics according to Dr. William Bynum, who said “We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men”.
          http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/17/college.dress.code/index.html

          It’s right there.

          “And why wouldn’t they know what the dress code would be at an institution of higher learning?

          They wouldn’t know the dress code because the dress code was not put in place until after they had already enrolled at the school. Also, Morehouse’s NEW dress code is not common, so I wouldn’t expect them to think wearing certain clothes is inappropriate for school when (as someone pointed out) there are many schools in which students show up to class in their pajamas.

          You can’t know about something that didn’t exist before you arrived.

          • CJ

            Sweetie I’m gonna need you to read that article again. Dr. Franklin was responding to the complaints about that part of the dress code. That whole article was yet another attempt to draw attention to these students issue with the dress code.

            CNN only covered it because Morehouse is maybe a mile or two from their headquarters.

            I can respect these students desire to be themselves. But I went to FAMU not Spellman partly because I knew that at a public university I would have much more freedom to be myself than I would at a private “all but Baptist” college.

            • MordAndAgain

              Actually, “sweety”, I did read the article correctly. Stating that the entire article focused on the dress code doesn’t negate anything I previously wrote. And, just so I’m clear:

              “The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college’s 27,000-member student body . . . ”

              Those were the words of Dr. Bynum in the same article. I didn’t just make stuff up and throw quotation marks on it. That it was said in response to complaints doesn’t make it any less true.

              • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

                but u did make up the 27000 part. thatd be 2700

              • MoreAndAgain

                Actually, the 27,000 was a mistake, I’m using my mobile phone to comment, since I’m in transit.

          • JessicaL

            I’m going to have to disagree with you more. We talked about Inez Sainz dressing inappropriately for a locker room interview, there should be no double standards. You should dress for the occasion. I have no problem with anyone expressing themselves as everyone has the right to. I’m pretty sure you knew how to dress when you went to school. These men are not stupid.

            • MoreAndAgain

              Actually, I didn’t read (nor commen)t on the Ines Sainz post, so I’m going to continue not to comment at this point.

              If there were a uniform “acceptable” college dress code, I’d be inclined to agree with you. But, what’s acceptable for one school is not acceptable at another. If I wanted I could show to class in pajamas at my PWI, clearly that wouldn’t fly at Morehouse.

              • JessicaL

                Ok so you didn’t read the Sainz post. My point is that even though you may feel you can dress and do as you please there is a time and a place for it. I’m more than sure these individuals have dealt with this their entire lives or at least as long as they have been transgendered. They know what to expect and painting them in ignorance does not help their plight. My very own cousin is transgendered and he takes the hormone pills and everything, not to mention wanting the surgery. He knows that not everyone is going to accept his lifestyle but he finds time to be himself on his own time. Not once has he dressed in drag while going to school and he goes to community college because he’s not there to draw attention to himself but to learn.

              • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                Ask her if she’d go to church in pj’s or to her job or to an interview or to a restaurant…go on ask her Jess. Are we naive or are we experienced? Hmmmm. Cosign your point.

              • JessicaL

                @SFG lol, If we as ladies are expected to know how to dress why aren’t the gays and transgendered?

              • MoreAndAgain

                @SmartFoxGirl

                If you want to ask me whether or not I know how to dress, instead of debating the points and proving me wrong, well . . .

              • MoreAndAgain

                I’m not saying that they were unaware of the social norms at Moerhouse, I’m talking about school policy. Clearly, they didn’t give a damn about what was social deemed acceptable by their peers, but the school itself taking a stance and making it a part of the dress code (and enforcing it) after the fact, is my point of contention.

              • Mo-VSS

                MoreAndAgain….

                The point of the topic is the dress code and how it pertains to everyday life and situations. If you are offended by SFG asking if you’d wear PJ’s to church or a bathing suit to dinner, then I’d suggest you recognize the ridiculousness of such attire. Thus, you’d understand why folks are baffled at what the big deal is over Morehouse enacting a policy that designates how their students are to dress in appropriate situations.

              • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                Thanks Mo. I used sarcasm as a way of showing her an alternate view of her own.

              • TheBlackForrest

                What must be understood is that:
                1. Morehouse has had a dress code since its inception. For example, during Benjamin Mays’ tenure as president of the college it was required for students to wear shirt and tie to class. That has since been relaxed.
                2. A school can change its policies as required to fit circumstances. The policy is not meant to target the transgendered students, and the components pertaining to other unacceptable forms of dress (sagging pants, “grills”, caps worn indoors, etc.) are enforced as well. The issue with the “plastics” is that they do not adhere to the policy, and thus BECOME a more focused target.
                3. Morehouse is an all male college, with major pillars of the institution’s purpose centering around the cultivation of MEN. The definition of this manhood is not so exclusionary as to deny gays the title, however, the point at which you cross into desiring to be a woman (i.e. taking female hormones, seeking surgery), you no longer fit into the mold of the manhood Morehouse seeks to produce.
                4. With that said, there is no problem with being transgendered in general. But telling an institution that has a long history and tradition that WORKS (and is actually being studied and implemented at other HBCUs and PWIs) in producing capable, qualified, and successful Black MEN is nothing short of reprehensible, being that they do not wish for the ultimate goal of being a Morehouse Man.

                I do not believe that these outside perspectives have adequate context with which to make fully informed comments, and without spending time in the AUC community all commentary is based on cursory knowledge at best.

                As a recent graduate of Morehouse College, I urge you not to take the Vibe article as gospel, and understand how sensationalized this issue has become.

                Lastly, President Franklin’s letter was not scathing; it was a preemptive response to an article that, in all likelihood, would bring more negative and skewed press that we have had to deal with before. Granted, writing the letter before hand may not have been the most prudent action, but it was addressed to alumni, such as myself, who know and understand the community, its history, the context of the issue, and his person and tone. Again, from an outside perspective, realize you cannot know the full story.

                Thank You.

            • JessicaL

              I mean I hope no one takes this the wrong way because I’m not trying to be rude I just don’t think this is something that anyone should have to be told. Everyone should know how to dress for certain occasions and if you don’t be prepared for backlash, penalization, or ostracism.

              • theillestone

                i completely agree. i have to go back to the point that Morehouse is a gentleman’s school. if you feel you’re living in the wrong gendered body, why are you going to a school that’s only for that gender? how can they relate? how do they relate?

      • Jhane Sez

        “But, that’s the thing, Morehouse DID change their policy for the Plastics. The policy they are now enforcing is new, and designed to target those people specifically. I could see if the Plastics enrolled in Morehouse knowing what the dress code was going to be, but they didn’t.”

        So an invitation to the opera needs to come with instructions not to wear booty shorts and flip flops… or stand up in your seat and yell “you betta werk diva” at the close of an aria…

        Cause what I am hearing is that unless we are explicated told we ain’t gonna know how to act…

        So we need sock puppets so we know how to behave, to know what is appropriate, to know what is expected of us.

        Isn’t that the perception black folks been trying to fight for a millennium

        Anyone who has ever met anyone who has even heard of Morehouse KNOWS that it is a conservative bougie azz school…

        You are supposed to go there to get your grown man on, REGARDLESS of your sexuality. Farnsworth Bentley.

        The whole look of The Plastics actually stems from the Gay Ballroom scene as a off shoot of Vouge Fem. The look and lifestyle are all about luxury and fabulousness… being famous, hot rich boys, designer: shoes, bags, make-up, clothes, cars… high end exclusivity.

        So why Morehouse…

        Because if they went to an art, design, fashion school or any of the colleges know for gay acceptance we would have no idea of who they are, we wouldn’t be talking about them, they wouldn’t be special… they would be like everyone else.

        And that makes me a little sad, because you have all these folks all over the blogspere debating, fighting for their rights or the validity of Morehouse to introduce a dress code…

        When I suspect all they wanted is their 15 minutes ~JS

        • http://alovelydai.blogspot.com Alovelydai

          *throw confetti on this whole statement*

          • http://twitter.com/s0_flyy So Flyy

            This appropriately sums up my feelings.

            *e-confetti* for everyone!!

            • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

              You are supposed to go there to get your grown man on, REGARDLESS of your sexuality. Farnsworth Bentley.

              5000% cosign! I went to an HBCU with plenty of gay men. Were they effeminate and out-n-proud? Yes. Did they wear women’s clothing? No.

        • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

          Anyone who has ever met anyone who has even heard of Morehouse KNOWS that it is a conservative bougie azz school…

          as a Spelman alum, i approve/co-sign/give testament to this message!

          Because if they went to an art, design, fashion school or any of the colleges know for gay acceptance we would have no idea of who they are, we wouldn’t be talking about them, they wouldn’t be special… they would be like everyone else.

          say it ONE MO GIN for the cheap seats!!!!!

        • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

          *blows trumpet at this comment*

        • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

          THIS:”Anyone who has ever met anyone who has even heard of Morehouse KNOWS that it is a conservative bougie azz school… “…is exactly why I as a Black christian wouldn’t attend an Islamic university in nun’s clothing. These Plastics knew and were trying to make a statement.

          And THIS:
          “And that makes me a little sad, because you have all these folks all over the blogspere debating, fighting for their rights or the validity of Morehouse to introduce a dress code…

          When I suspect all they wanted is their 15 minutes ~JS”
          …I think sums up this entire post. Cosign.

        • AfroRina

          *Standing and applauding*

        • Mr SoBo

          @Jhane Sez

          This. Right Here. Is My. Favorite Comment.

          Cosignage squared over pi divided by pythagorean therum. Got dang your comment is beautiful. I think I will print it and put it on my cubicle wall.

        • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

          “When I suspect all they wanted is their 15 minutes”

          So, you’re saying they don’t normally dress like this and only did it for the fame? Because while I’m inclined to believe they like attention, I do actually believe the way they dress is legit for them and they’d like to continue to dress that way.

          • http://nianaturally.blogspot.com N.I.A. naturally

            For me, I find it very hard to believe they walked onto the Morehouse campus during freshman orientation week wearing women’s clothing. Though, I could be wrong…

          • Yeah…So

            I agree it’s probably not about fame per se, but it’s definitely about trying to set some type of precedent (which can equate to fame all in itself)… you know, they trying to be the first, “trendsetters” if you will. They get a SATDOWN from me though. Like someone (Panama, I think) said upthread… Morehouse is a gentlemen’s institution (straight, gay or other)… so why go up in there acting all sister girl and isht?

          • Jhane Sez

            “So, you’re saying they don’t normally dress like this and only did it for the fame? Because while I’m inclined to believe they like attention, I do actually believe the way they dress is legit for them and they’d like to continue to dress that way.”

            No… I think that they went to Morehouse because being fabulous there is more attention grabbing than doing them in a more expressive non-traditional environment.

            I mentioned down thread that the thing that troubled me most was Phillip who went to Morehouse to gain his religious homophobic father’s approval.

            He said that he can’t dress like that at home… so why is he dressing like that AND taking hormones at Morehouse

            His story is that he dressed like a boy one day and got called ‘fag.ot’ and the next he was in full weave rocking a Marc Jacobs tote and some fierce heels.

            Why didn’t he leave… and where did he get the gear if his intention was to do the male thing for real.

            A better question… if this story about his father is true and he wanted to win daddy’s approval, why take it national if you aren’t after your 15 minutes.

            Part of the lifestyle (of this sub set) is to give the b*tches fever… to shine… to be a star.

            And in this age of media savvy you don’t think that it might have crossed their minds that if they did them it would draw mad attention and spark at least one juicy incident… and then they are the next B.Scott.

            Bet Phillip’s daddy would love that huh ~JS

            • Mo-VSS

              Agreed!

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              “No… I think that they went to Morehouse because being fabulous there is more attention grabbing than doing them in a more expressive non-traditional environment.”

              ***nodding head***

            • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

              “No… I think that they went to Morehouse because being fabulous there is more attention grabbing than doing them in a more expressive non-traditional environment.”

              That could be it. What if it were their dream school, though? I mean, either is possible. Sure, there are other schools to go to, but tell that to a Notre Dame fan.

              Like I said below, if their image is to uphold that of a man, can Morehouse also ban them for taking gender-bending hormones? I mean, how about we go further than how they dress? Even if they wore men’s clothing, they’re altering their body SEXUALLY. Can the institution also exclude them for this as well? I’m asking sincerely, here…

        • Boogie Maximus

          well it def worked! they got their 15mins, now it’s time for them to stop being media whores, we heard their story we get it, time to move on, you can’t make a school for men encourage boys to to dress like women, it’s a oxymoron! theres nothing to accept pick another school ain’t Clark Atlanta down the street -___-

        • MoreAndAgain

          @Jhane Sez

          “So an invitation to the opera needs to come with instructions not to wear booty shorts and flip flops… or stand up in your seat and yell “you betta werk diva” at the close of an aria…

          Cause what I am hearing is that unless we are explicated told we ain’t gonna know how to act…”

          This analogy doesn’t really work because there is no college-wide dress code. On some campuses it’s perfectly normal to roll out of bed and show up to class in your pajamas, and at others that’s not ok. Again, I ask, if this is the way these men have BEEN dressing, and there was no mention of a formal dress code before they enrolled, why should they not be themselves? I’m not talking about the social norms at the campus, I’m talking about the school’s actual policy. Why should they be concerned when they weren’t breaking rules?

          “So we need sock puppets so we know how to behave, to know what is appropriate, to know what is expected of us.

          Isn’t that the perception black folks been trying to fight for a millennium”

          Don’t ask me that question, I’m not the one in favor of such a strict dress code on a college campus in the first place. When I asked earlier why a college took the time to tell adults how to look from head to toe, I was told “not everyone gets that home training”. So, which is it? Does Morehouse need to tell their men exactly how to look, or don’t they?

          “Anyone who has ever met anyone who has even heard of Morehouse KNOWS that it is a conservative bougie azz school…You are supposed to go there to get your grown man on, REGARDLESS of your sexuality. Farnsworth Bentley.”

          Why? Because you knew? Before October of last year Morehouse had not put it in writing. So, while I can imagine the student body set the bar, there was no formal statement to say that certain attire was absolutely prohibited and would not be accepted on the campus grounds at all, which allows room for people to express themselves as they please. Apparently, a few students hoped they might be accepted into the community even though the way they chose to express themselves didn’t fit the image. It was Morehouse’s call to say whether or not these type of students would be allowed on campus or not. Ignore/accept them as part of the student body, or give them the boot. They chose to go with the latter, officially. Before, dressing like a woman was not breaking any school rules, now it is. And, that change came about after those students were already enrolled.

          “And that makes me a little sad, because you have all these folks all over the blogspere debating, fighting for their rights or the validity of Morehouse to introduce a dress code…

          When I suspect all they wanted is their 15 minutes”

          Actually, what brought the 15 minutes of fame wasn’t The Plastics, it was Morehouse’s actions. Had Morehouse not introduced their new dress code, a lot of people wouldn’t even know there were gay men dressed in drag on the campus. They could have ignored them, and left them in their little corner of the world, but instead they chose to take action against them, and now everyone’s talking about it.

          • JessicaL

            Ok, here’s the thing rules are in place BECAUSE of the social norms not just right or wrong. When you deviate from what is socially acceptable you will cause a distraction from what the school is trying to do.

        • TheBlackForrest

          Except for Morehouse being a “bougie azz school,” I agree lol.

        • Sula

          This sums up my feelings with a nice little bow on top. And I, too, throws confetti on this whole post.

          Obviously, Jhane knows what she sez.

          Good stuff.

      • Mo-VSS

        The dress code at Morehouse is implied. Not to say that the plastics knew that coming in, but they do a whole orientation around what it means to be a Morehouse man. I used to date one and he told me that.

        I’m not at all cool with gender roles being so loose that everyone has to either jump on board or be labeled a bigot. I feel if you want to live your life a certain way, so be it, but changing policies that uphold tradition is a bit much. I think a compromise is in order.

        • Andi

          “…is exactly why I as a Black christian wouldn’t attend an Islamic university in nun’s clothing.” iDied.

          The dress code at Morehouse has been implied since it’s inception. Maybe they missed the orientation week with dress shirts and ties. Or they didn’t see their peers walking around in suits on Tuesdays/Thursdays. While I don’t necessarily agree with the way it was handled by Morehouse, I understand why they did it. Morehouse is a conservative school based on years of tradition. If you’re not trying to get down with the tradition, go somewhere else. I don’t want to hear about finance. There are loans, scholarships, and grants. I’ve seen too many of my peers excel without financial help from their parents.

    • Bison…

      not the Howard shot at the end though…. (although I am a fellow alum)

  • miss t-lee

    #5. Totally agree, I don’t have much else to say on the subject.

    • Sula

      Exactly.

      And I think we’ve already debated this (probably on a Panama day though)…. A private institution has the rights to change/add to its policies as it pleases. I don’t even understand why this is an issue…

  • MoreAndAgain

    Don’t you find it a bit intrusive for an institution of higher learning to get involved in what their students are wearing, anyway? Last I checked, colleges are supposed to be concerned with what’s in your head, not what’s on your back (or in this case, on your shoulder and your feet).

    This type of thing is the very reason I decided NOT to attend an HBCU. If I were a man, I wouldn’t need Morehouse to teach me how to be a man, that’s what my parents were for. Schools are supposed to focus on teaching you how to think about the world and see it differently.

    • B. Brown

      Whether you agree with said code or not, the fact is that Morehouse has one. It has the right to have one, as a private institution. The school can do what it wants, and what it’s supposed to do isn’t (nor should it be) determined by anyone who doesn’t have a direct stake in the process. While I have no particular feelings about Morehouse, the school’s alumni list speaks for itself – and it says that their way obviously has some benefit to society.

      • MoreAndAgain

        Yes, the powers that be at Morehouse can do whatever they please, but changing a policy specifically to alienate members of the student doesn’t sound like a smart move to me. And, the men who are part of The Plastics DID have a direct stake in the process. They were (and some still are) attending the school. What more would they have to do for their voices to count?

        • MoreAndAgain

          *ugh* edit:

          “but changing a policy specifically to alienate members of the student body doesn’t sound like a smart move to me.”

        • TatiLa

          Who really goes to an all male college and doesn’t think that dressing and carrying ones self as a woman, just might be a problem? It’s not that far of stretch. One of the boys in the article states that he went to Morehouse to follow in the legacy of Morehouse MEN…but he wants to be a woman?

          • JessicaL

            Exactly!

          • Boogie Maximus

            realist shit i ever read!

    • LaMon2

      IMO HBCUs are known to have rules that affect ones personal life i.e. same-gender dorms/sides of campuses. Since they’re private institutions, they can do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, DON’T GO!

      A college education should help a person mature intellectually as well as personally. Just because you have parents to teach you things doesn’t mean that ALL people do. I’m sure some men wouldn’t be who they are today without Morehouse and schools like it.

      • MoreAndAgain

        You missed the part where I specifically said I didn’t go to an HBCU for this reason?

        I’m sorry, I expect that when you arrive at college you’re treated as an adult, and as an adult I don’t appreciate someone telling what I can/can’t wear if they’re not handing me a paycheck. Furthermore, it’s one thing to say what’s inappropriate in a classroom, but you have to dress a certain way just to visit the campus? WTF?

        • MzPW

          I kinda see your point here, but then again….the truth is that MOST folks, regardless of where they attend college, are nowhere near that adult mindset when they enter. I went to a public university (Go Blue!) and I can definitely testify to that….

          Anyways, it just seems like a “lose, lose” situation either way the Morehouse admin rules. To tell a student what they can or cannot wear on their campus, or how they can or cannot wear their clothing, does seem seriously heavy-handed. Then again, if college was created to give students the best preparation possible for the “real world” outside of the campus, then the truth is that The Plastics will be entering into a world FAR less understanding (and, let’s face it…less willing to understand) about their gnder-bending choices. So which way does the Morehouse admin turn?

          • MoreAndAgain

            I can definitely agree with you on that, which is why I think it would have been fair to say “this is the way we expect you to dress in the classroom and at formal events”. However, they took it above and beyond that to the point that even visitors whose attire doesn’t meet the dress code are asked to leave the campus. It boggles the mind. Or, at least, it boggles MY mind.lol

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              not for nothing, but i kind of side-eyed that part about him visiting campus and being asked to leave b/c of what he had on. i ain’t saying its not true, i’m just saying that there might be more to that story. “i was asked to leave b/c i was a woman dressed like a man?” iono. women troll our campus all the time nobody asks them to leave except after hours, etc.

              just saying, im curious as to the other side of that.

              • Morehouse Alum

                I may be late with a response, but as a recent graduate of Morehouse and someone who is close to the manager of the study facility in which the computer lab is located, I have more personal insight to the matter.

                Due to a slew of recent violent crimes on and around the campus, the school decided to restrict access to the lab to current students, requiring an ID to enter (not even Spelman students were allowed in). The young man mentioned in the article was visiting the campus and since he decided to leave the school before this policy was enacted, he was unaware and when asked to leave, began to create a disruption. The building’s director asked him numerous times to leave, and after he would not, she contacted campus security to escort him off the campus.

                Was the issue exacerbated by his non-conformist attire? Yes. Was he “kicked off campus” because he was dressed as a woman? No.

        • JessicaL

          You’re right you should be treated as an adult, but are you going to go to a job and tell them you’re going to wear what you want to wear because you’re grown? Everyone has to conform sometime or another.

        • BourgieBama

          You’re treated as an adult at a place of employment also, but they still have a dress code. You don’t see men dressing like women in corporate america.

          • MoreAndAgain

            @JessicaL & @BourgieBama

            And, college is not Corporate America. Again, if this dress code was simply about what was appropriate in the class room I’d be inclined to agree, but this dress code extends to the entire campus. That means if you live on campus, you have to adhere to the dress code everyday whether you have class or not. That’s above and beyond any dress code you have for a job.

            • JessicaL

              You’re right college is not corporate america. My only problem with your argument is that college isn’t just academics. You’re socializing and learning how to interact with professionals. Also you’ve stated that they aren’t kids but adults. This is also correct. An adult should know more than any child how to behave, dress, speak whatever in certain situations. I’m pretty sure that stuff didn’t fly in high school so why did they think it would in another school?

        • Mo-VSS

          Because so many Black men don’t have role models at home, what Morehouse does is teach them how to behave as men in every aspect of life. How to dress is included in that. Sure, personal freedom and acting as an adult is something to hold on to. When you go to Morehouse though, you conform. Like it or not. And, what they are asking isn’t the second coming of the Omen. Why NOT have men dress decently and learn how to present themselves in the corporate world? (which is the aim of Morehouse, btw)

          This reminds me of when the NBA enforced a dress code and folks were all “they’re grown.” Sure…they are grown. However, they are being paid MILLIONS to do their job.

          Why folks get upset with having the bar raised is beyond me…

          • Onlyfortoday

            They may be grown, but they are not necessarily wise.

      • TheBlackForrest

        “A college education should help a person mature intellectually as well as personally. Just because you have parents to teach you things doesn’t mean that ALL people do. I’m sure some men wouldn’t be who they are today without Morehouse and schools like it.”

        Cosign. I have friends who went to Morehouse with me who had no parents at all. They made it on their own. Those are the people Morehouse most benefits. And the culture of the AUC is something that is unlike anywhere else; the development that occurs there cannot be quantified simply through academic performance. Part of the “Morehouse Mystique” stems from those intangibles.

        MoreAndAgain, you simply have no idea what you’re talking about w.r.t the college or HBCUs in general.

    • Rog

      I’m pretty sure Institutions have a few rules that are “extra-academic” in order to foster what they believe to be the best atmosphere possible for their students to learn.

      • MoreAndAgain

        Could you be more specific, because with the way that’s worded, I’m going to have to say, no.

        • Rog

          Extra-Academic as in rules about curfew, freshman having to attend classes about rape education, can’t have people visiting your dorms after a certain time anything that isn’t specifically related the Academia aspect of school. If you play football like I did it gets even worse with rules.

          Ever hear of Bob Jones University? Makes Morehouse look like freaknik with rules like:

          No Alcohol
          No Pre-Marital Sex
          No Porn
          No Public Demonstration of issues the school disagrees with
          No going to the movies
          No popular music

          I would NEVER attend this school knowing what you can’t do and wouldn’t go there demanding they change their rules to my wishes, I’ll just go one of the thousands of other colleges.

          • MoreAndAgain

            Ok, then I can agree with you that Morehouse is not the only school that has these type of rules. My point is that they didn’t go to the school trying to change the rules, the dress code was introduced after they got there.

            • theillestone

              i understand your point, but seriously, why would Morehouse have to include in their rules that “you’re not allowed to dress like a woman when you’re in an all male school?” that doesn’t make sense. obviously morehouse realized common sense is not all that common and had to make it crystal clear….”so no one get’s it f’d up, you can’t dress like a chick ’cause that’s not how we roll!”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Don’t you find it a bit intrusive for an institution of higher learning to get involved in what their students are wearing, anyway?”

      not at all. their house, their rules. plus, i think teaching kids the different between appropriate and inappropriate attire is part of the education process

      • MoreAndAgain

        Their house their rules, sure. But, if that’s the case, why accept gay men into the institution to begin with? Surely they can ask boys if they are gay before enrolling and then tell them up front “you are not welcome here”, so they don’t have to worry about having the script flipped on them after they’ve already started class.

        I think teaching kids the difference between appropriate and inappropriate attire is to be learned at home, but apparently, I’m alone on that one. However, you mean to tell me boys get accepted into Morehouse not even knowing how to dress for an interview? Morehouse doesn’t vet all of their applicants? Because if that’s true, then it sounds like a dress code should be the least of their worries.

        And, it’d be one thing if the dress code specified that you could not attend classes dressed a certain way, but it also extends to outside the classroom. It’s to the point that a poet who was invited to perform at the campus was then asked to leave because of his attire.

        I thought college was supposed to prepare students for the “real world”. In the real world men are expected to work and be productive around people who make them uncomfortable, for whatever reason. I don’t see how sweeping all the gay people under the rug accomplishes that.

        • shaeshae

          At Morehouse there are several times during orientation and throughout the school year where it is explained that if you do not feel as though you can adhere to the standards and policies of the institution, that you should leave.

          • MoreAndAgain

            And, how long before more and more men start feeling like they need to just go ahead and leave?

            I understand having values, I have some of my own. But, institutions also need to be able to adapt and grow. Adapt or die. This even goes beyond the issue at hand. If Morehouse isn’t careful with the “if you don’t like it you can leave” attitude, they will encourage men to leave, and leave them in the dust. And, before you say “that won’t happen”, we have the first Black President, he’s not a Morehouse Man. And, the schools that he attended don’t have dress codes and policies alienating members of the student body.

            • Satya

              I have to strongly disagree with you. There are thousands upon thousands of colleges and universities in the U.S. to choose from. Why should a private institution that is over a century old, has generational loyalty, and has students begging to be granted admission have to adapt to a minute percentage of applicants? I went to a super Catholic University. no one of the opposite sex spend the night, no contraception, and mandatory theology classes. I was aware of this and I decided to stay even though I didn’t agree with these beliefs. When you make a choice YOU have to live with the consequences of said choice. Long after this controversy has blown over Morehouse will still stand and no one will remember this incident

              • MoreAndAgain

                You got to make the choice knowing the rules before you went in. The rules at Morehouse were changed once The Plastics got there. They specifically targeted some of their changes at people who were already members of the student body.
                http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/17/college.dress.code/index.html

                “Why should a private institution that is over a century old, has generational loyalty, and has students begging to be granted admission have to adapt to a minute percentage of applicants?”

                Thank goodness this thought process doesn’t prevail, or President Barack Obama would have never gotten into Harvard or Yale, and might not be POTUS today. And actually, what’s funny about your question is, Morehouse has already made changes because of a minute percentage of applicants. Except, they made changes to ensure they would be excluded once the applicants were already in.

                Anything that doesn’t want to die adapts. I’m not saying how, I’m not saying when, but at some point Morehouse will have to adapt or become obsolete. And, the “if you don’t like it you can leave” attitude is a sure path to obsoleteness.

            • T.

              @MoreAndAgain,

              I agree with you (for the most part). As a Hampton grad (with a formal dress code, curfew, and visitation rules) AND a Carnegie Mellon grad, I can definitely see how its hard to understand the differences in culture between a public institution and a private HBCU. In theory, it would be nice to say ‘let the students make their OWN decisions about how to dress, adapt or die’, but the reality is that a lot of HBCU administration is old/old school so adapting is difficult for them. Unless you have been a part of these institutions you wont understand how hard wired the culture of conservatism is, and how much further they have to go in respect to their social and academic environments.

              I think this issue also gets the marrow of another issue that conservative black institutions (churches, schools, fraternities/sororities) have an issue with, which is change. For Morehouse it came in the form of gay/transgendered students (which shouldnt be a suprise, given that the ALL MALE SCHOOL is SMACK IN THE MIDDLE of HOTLANTA), but all these institutions need to find new ways of meeting the needs of a dynamic black population.

              Ok im out of breath.

              *twirls*dips*fans self*

        • http://theothersideofphlyy.blogspot.com phlyyGirl

          The problem is NOT with them being homosexual. I personally know of several homosexual men who attended the university and did not encounter an issue with the dress code policy.
          The problem lies in them wanting to use their homesexuality as an excuse to flout rules and do as they please.

          Yes, dress code is something that SHOULD be learned at home, but nowadays a LOT of things that should be learned at home, ARENT. Colleges and universities these days have become finishing schools for skills that were not necessarily learned at home. This is not a bad thing. I would rather someone learn later than never.

          “I thought college was supposed to prepare students for the “real world”. In the real world men are expected to work and be productive around people who make them uncomfortable, for whatever reason. I don’t see how sweeping all the gay people under the rug accomplishes that.”

          In what way is the university NOT doing this? Again, it’s not telling the Plastics to stay home. It’s not denying them entry to classes or the chance to educate themselves and then go on and do whatever it is they want to do in life. But that real world you mentioned, is real for EVERYBODY. Men are supposed to work and be productive in uncomfortable situations but GAY men are supposed to be happy and flaunt their latest ensembles whenever however?
          Doesn’t work that way.
          Compromise would be both sides learning to work around their discomfort, getting a degree and then going on to dress however they want when they get to where they want.

          • MoreAndAgain

            “The problem lies in them wanting to use their homesexuality as an excuse to flout rules and do as they please.”

            Considering the rule wasn’t a rule until after several of them enrolled in the school, I would have to disagree. Morehouse changed the policy on them, they didn’t try to change the policy at Morehouse.

            “Yes, dress code is something that SHOULD be learned at home, but nowadays a LOT of things that should be learned at home, ARENT.”

            Actually, since dress codes differ from place to place it would be impossible to learn them all at home. What I do think should be taught at home is how to recognize when certain attire is/isn’t appropriate. Morehouse doesn’t have a “time” when it is appropriate for these men to be themselves, because the way they want to express themselves has been banned throughout the entire campus at all times, not just in the classroom, or at formal school events. They’re not teaching “there’s a time and place where dressing this way is ok”, they’re teaching “dressing this way is not ok, ever”. Which is basically saying “you (transsexual man) are not ok”.

            “Colleges and universities these days have become finishing schools for skills that were not necessarily learned at home. This is not a bad thing. I would rather someone learn later than never.”

            This seems to apply more to HBCU’s than PWI’s.

            “In what way is the university NOT doing this?”

            How do you learn to work with people who are different coming out of an institution that insists that everyone look the same from head to toe (even dreds are not allowed)? College is the last place young adults really get to know people from different backgrounds whom they wouldn’t normally associate with. Instead of embracing this, Morehouse has (recently) chosen to shun it. Add to it, the fact that, people who don’t fit the image are told they can leave. That’s not how the real world works. I mean, sure if you’re an accountant, you probably won’t have to work with a man who wears a Marc Jacobs tote and Michael Kors’ shoes. . . Unless you get a job at a fashion house.

            “Compromise would be both sides learning to work around their discomfort”

            But, both sides aren’t working around their discomfort because transsexual students are being told they should change their attire or leave. How exactly is the other side working around their discomfort in that situation?

            • http://thecochranfirm.wordpress.com/ Dasher of The Newport Dashers

              Have you ever heard of unwritten rules or respecting the culture of an institution? There was no need to write a no cross dressing rule because Morehouse Men should not have to be told not to dress as women, when common sense says it would not be a good idea. Morehouse can’t afford to have The Plastics threaten the Morehouse Man Brand.

              • Mo-VSS

                THANK.YOU!

                The rules changed because the game has changed. And upthread MoreAndAgain implied that change is what put folks of color in elitist academia. I’m betting that Obama had to conform to some degree once he got to Harvard. And, I’m sure he knew that to some degree before enrolling.

                Plus, I loathe the race/gender debate because the race you are born into is non-negotiable. How you choose to represent yourself is….

              • http://uphereoncloud9.com Wu Young .

                “Have you ever heard of unwritten rules or respecting the culture of an institution? ”

                I actually thought of the “Code Red” from “A Few Good Men” when I read that.

              • T.

                I’m sure thats what majority people said when they were abusing black people’s rights 60 years ago….

                “Have you ever heard of unwritten rules or respecting the culture of an institution? There was no need to write a no N*GGERS rule because Harvard Men should not have to be told not to admit N*GGERS, when common sense says it would not be a good idea. Harvard can’t afford to have The Negroes threaten the Harvard Man Brand.”

          • Dee

            i have no problem with them having a dress code, but specifying that woman’s clothes can’t be worn rubs me wrong. and it;s not about being gay or straight.

        • Yonnie 3000

          Their house their rules, sure. But, if that’s the case, why accept gay men into the institution to begin with? Surely they can ask boys if they are gay before enrolling and then tell them up front “you are not welcome here”, so they don’t have to worry about having the script flipped on them after they’ve already started class.

          1) Being gay ? wearing women’s clothing. If you read the article, then you read the part about other gay men on campus having an issue with The Plastics’ appearance. Morehouse (allegedly) doesn’t have a problem with them being gay. It has a problem with them dressing like women. These are two separate issues.

          2) So, you’re not okay with Morehouse instituting a dress code barring men from wearing women’s clothing, but you are suggesting and you would support Morehouse having a policy of not accepting gays to their school at all? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

          • MoreAndAgain

            No, what I’m against is Morehouse implimenting an official dress code for the entire campus (including people who don’t even attend the school) AFTER the students who went against the dress code were already enrolled, resulting in them being alienated. My point is, if they’re going to do that, why accept them to begin with? I’d rather be rejected from the gate than accepted, have my money taken, to then be alienated.

            • TheBlackForrest

              What you should realize is that Morehouse, until recently, had done away with its requirement that a picture accompany the application (NO, reinstitution of the necessity did not have to do with gays/transgender applicants), so there was no way for Morehouse to know that transgender applicants were applying. It then befalls the applicant to decide whether the school is right for them.

              Furthermore, I don’t think its legal for institutions to deny entry based upon race, gender, creed, sexuality, etc. Correct me if I’m wrong. So if they meet the standards of the school academically, and without knowledge of their sexuality, Morehouse would accept them.

              The only reason women don’t apply is convention, and the fact that Spelman (an all women’s college) is right across the street so it would just make sense to go there.

              Also, there are many individuals who “find” themselves after coming to Morehouse. Perhaps these individuals didn’t show up as “Plastics”?

        • http://twitter.com/s0_flyy So Flyy

          But, if that’s the case, why accept gay men into the institution to begin with? Surely they can ask boys if they are gay before enrolling and then tell them up front “you are not welcome here”

          Because gay men ARE accepted at Morehouse, as I’m sure you saw in the article there are gay men who attend Morehouse with no issue. The issue is when your sexuality starts to affect your gender. Morehouse is an all-male institution, by allowing the Plastics to dress as and BECOME women you are bending the rules of the institution.

        • Deviant

          “Surely they can ask boys if they are gay before enrolling and then tell them up front “you are not welcome here”, so they don’t have to worry about having the script flipped on them after they’ve already started class.”

          Actually, they can’t. It’s illegal for them to ask you about your sexual orientation.

          • miss t-lee

            “It’s illegal for them to ask you about your sexual orientation.”

            I was going to make that point. Thank you.

        • Omar

          “But, if that’s the case, why accept gay men into the institution to begin with?”

          Being gay is not, should not and can not be equated with cross-dressing. There are gay men at Morehouse that are arguably the best dressed men on campus but they dress like men.

          “However, you mean to tell me boys get accepted into Morehouse not even knowing how to dress for an interview? Morehouse doesn’t vet all of their applicants? Because if that’s true, then it sounds like a dress code should be the least of their worries.”

          the answer to the first question is yes, however sometimes people think they know how to dress for an interview but don’t. Would you have them turn down people who were academically capable but come from a background where professional norms aren’t taught that would be a problem. I think you are confusing the mission of producing the best with just finding the best; it’s really not the same thing.

          “I thought college was supposed to prepare students for the “real world”. In the real world men are expected to work and be productive around people who make them uncomfortable, for whatever reason.”

          In the real world in most professional environments there isn’t cross dressing so it is preparing them for the real world.

          “I don’t see how sweeping all the gay people under the rug accomplishes that.”

          Again all gay people don’t cross dress, there is nothing that implies that most due. You seem to be equating being gay with wanting to BE or appear of the opposite sex which is actually a little prejudicial on your part.

        • Ari

          It’s not about sexual orientation, it’s about the way they carry themselves. There are plenty of gay men who carry themselves according to Morehouse’s values.

    • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

      Don’t you find it a bit intrusive for an institution of higher learning to get involved in what their students are wearing, anyway? Last I checked, colleges are supposed to be concerned with what’s in your head, not what’s on your back (or in this case, on your shoulder and your feet).

      1.) its a private institution. they can enforce whatever dress code rules they want. even if they had enforced the “no women’s clothing” rule 5min after they laid eyes on the gender-benders (i refuse to call them “plastics” [insert eye roll here]), thats the institution’s prerogative.
      2.) anyone who knows about morehouse (i do intimately as i studied across the street from them for 4yrs) knows that its an institution with a history and legacy that is very geared towards preparing a certain KIND of MAN. in fact, im pretty sure they brain wash these young men the moment they come in. they are taught to think of themselves in a certain way from orientation until graduation. that said, there is nothing remotely shocking about this institute educating ME–in very essence of the social construct– would not want to see men dressed as WOMEN. their sexuality doesnt have sh*t to do with it, although morehouse is already known to have DRAMA with openly gay men anyway (re: severe beating in the bathroom–i even remember hearing this news on campus), but thats neither here nor there. so expecting a PRIVATE school for MEN to welcome men-wanting-to-be-women is actually quite ludicrous to begin with.

      This type of thing is the very reason I decided NOT to attend an HBCU. If I were a man, I wouldn’t need Morehouse to teach me how to be a man, that’s what my parents were for. Schools are supposed to focus on teaching you how to think about the world and see it differently.

      you hit the nose on the head. even you agree that if YOU think a school that enforces certain rules and traditions (and lets be clear–morehouse is a stickler for TRADITION) on its students that you dont agree with and dont want to comply with, DONT GO THERE. period. end of discussion.

      • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

        *ME should read MEN

      • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

        I’m just looking for where I can cosign on this entire statement…not like you don’t already have good vss credit or anything.

        • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

          lol you’re a doll *hugs*

      • MoreAndAgain

        And, again, where I disagree is with the way they decided to alienate people who were already students at their school. They didn’t come to the school trying to change the rules, there were no rules to change, other than social norms (which people are free to go against as they please in every other institution). Other than that, you’re right, I would agree with you.

        • Omar

          Most issues are addressed as they arise I’m sure rules about clothes with profane images arose after someone wore something profane and rules about gang paraphernalia arose after people started to wear it. Even if those rules aren’t in place I’m sure if the behavior became evident the rules would change. Image has always been high on Morehouse’s priority list.

          Bottom line the rule addresses style not sexuality. you can do almost whatever you want in pblic spaces the same can’t be said for private ones.

      • Tiger1867

        I’m loving this blog post & wish I caught this while this was fresh.

        Gem, you have brought up some very interesting points. I remember the “severe beating in the bathroom.” Lived in that building when it happened and was buddies with the young man who was beat. It was a helluva time that brought about strong reactions and events on campus.

  • http://thecochranfirm.wordpress.com/ Dasher of The Newport Dashers

    That article got a shrug from me. I really did not feel sorry for those cats at all.They are under the idea, as are a lot of Millennials, that everyone is supposed to change for them and care about their feelings

    Everyone who knows about Morehouse knows that Morehouse is a conservative place. Intentionally trying to rock the boat will not be met with a Donna Summer concert. The Plastics knew this going in.

    • Satya

      I absolutely agree with you. Why would chosoe to enroll in a conservative school and pitch a fit when they create rules to force you to “conform” conform to what they believe you ought to be? #imjustsaying there are tons of schools out there that would embrace your “diversity”

  • Oohwee

    Wow, at first, I didn’t know what to say. But what I was thinking was why didn’t they go somewhere where it would’ve been a dress code that was more relaxed..dang I need to read this article again..brb

    • Oohwee

      Ok I’m back..at #4 what in the blue blazes is he thinking? I agree with the Champster..This is the President of the f.ckin university *le sigh* he needs a better P.R. agent..

      • B. Brown

        What he needed was 15 minutes to read the article. One of the most important things I learned in grad school (at various points) was that leaders are responsible for at least knowing about everything that goes on under them. What I’d like to hear is why he felt the need to make a statement without reading the article.

  • http://twitter.com/naimafiasco TheTalentedMs.Fiasco

    I understand dressing in drag, but taking female hormone pills? Why not just consider yourself transgender and enroll in Spellman?

    On a more serious note, I think our country as a whole doesn’t really know how to address the plight of the modern man. I think there was a Time issue about this, but its just strange. At least that is one thing women got down pat, we know how to be women.

    • Deeds

      There are plenty of transgender women as well. Many that cross dress and wear clothes that are traditionally for men, so it’s not just men that deal with this.

    • Yonnie 3000

      I think our country as a whole doesn’t really know how to address the plight of the modern man.

      Care to expound? Are you saying that ‘The Plastics’ are today’s modern man?

  • http://blackpicket.com brownivyx

    This:

    “I actually think it’s rather audacious for a person (or group of people) to suggest an institution with a centuries old code of conduct make concessions for a few exhibiting intentionally abnormal and bizarre behavior.”

    ….is a *very* slippery slope, sir. Define intentional. Define abnormal. Define bizarre. Now ask yourself, who are *you* to decide or define what these things are? Or sexuality for that matter?

    By this reasoning, I, an Af-Am woman from a lower-middle class home, should never have been allowed to vote, marry, or attend an Ivy League institution in this country (an institution in which I had to serve my classmates just to pay for books). In many ways, my beliefs and behavior were/are considered “abnormal” in the environments I circulate(d) in, just by virtue of not having equal access, by virtue of being seen as “different” in every classroom, dorm room, and office I walk(ed) into.

    Congratulations to you though. It must be nice to consider yourself a part of the “norm” in this fine country.

    But I digress. With each generation comes a new wave of tolerance…and I fear that, for ours, we may have reached our wall.

    But our children will probably be a bit cooler about the whole thing.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Define intentional. Define abnormal. Define bizarre. Now ask yourself, who are *you* to decide or define what these things are? Or sexuality for that matter?”

      don’t have to ask myself. dictionary.com will do it for me.

      intentional: done with intention or on purpose
      abnormal: deviating from a standard
      bizarre: markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements

      anyway, i don’t have the brainpower (or will) at this hour to articulate how many ways you’re wrong to suggest you being “different” because you were at an ivy league institution where most didn’t share your background and dressing like a woman an all-male institution are the same thing. but, as an avid sports fan and admirer of athletic endeavors, i do appreciate that giant leap you just took

      • hehe

        agreed! that’s all

      • Shay

        I think the better question is to define normality.

        Heterosexuality is not normal. It’s just common. And all that jazz.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Jouromeo Big Paws on a Puppy-King Sirevi

          “Heterosexuality is not normal. It’s just common. And all that jazz.”

          What manner of madness have you either snorted, smoked or consumed through whatever variously devious method you’ve contrived?
          Heterosexuality is not only the “norm” but overwhelmingly so. I think it is cool to be silly, just keep it real while doing so.

          The overall point Champ made was that given for the individual differences, it is not alright for a man to put on female attire and sashay about as if nothing were “foul in Denmark”.
          In this usage, norm does not imply “it is okay to keep people separated because of skin color” like it did in the 1930′s but more akin to you don’t peel apples with a nodachis because it isn’t quite right.
          Keeping the conversation within reasonable constraints is helpful…but then again, who am I to talk? Just feel like you are being willfully ignorant. Spilluminati.

          • Shay

            I’m at my practicum site all day today and I’m not able to continue the convo til later, but trust, I will be back.

          • Shay

            I’m at my practicum site all day today, unfortunately. I’m going to try to come back and continue this convo if I get a chance.

          • Tonya

            Shay was referring to the numbers. Heterosexuality being the ‘norm’ is a social construct based off of what is accepted by the majority.

            If most of the world were gay..then dude trying to get with a girl would be given the side-eye.

            However accepting, or making standard what is common, is what the definition of Normal is.

            I think what she meant to say is Heterosexuality isn’t necessarily “right”..and what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘accepted’ can be adjusted if we as members of a society chose to do so.

            • Shay

              For future reference, this particular Shay is a dude.

              And what I was referencing was a quote by Dorothy Parker.

              • Tonya

                Oops! ..sorry. :)

              • Shay

                No worries, it happens. My mother wanted something that rhymed with Shawn…well…here we are.

          • Shay

            I had something written up, but I suppose the internets ate it.

            Anyways, the abridged version:
            You don’t peel apples with a nodachi. It’s far too awkward to handle a blade for a job that requires precision. To these men, dressing in drag and sashaying about might feel right. I’m not going to tell another person what to do, but it seems like a lot of people are being awful presumptuous about what another person choose to do with their own life.

            But yeah, Tanya caught the intended meaning of the quote. Commonality does not imply normality.

            • King Sirevi

              alright. That is anal. Though, the basis for the use may have been inaccurate the pragmatical interpretation went beyond the semantics which you’ve decided to whittle this conversational exchange down to.
              End point: you know what is meant, whether it is clear or to an assumptive end. In this case however, heterosexuality is normal. Where as homosexuality constitutes -on a World wide scale- about one percent of all sexual transactions.
              SMH fa’real son.
              And I use Nodachis all the time son. I’m on my ninja (no kawasaki)

      • http://blackpicket.com brownivyx

        “i do appreciate that giant leap you just took”

        Thanks, haha. I try.

        You’re right. They are not the same thing. But those who try to justify treating someone in a disrespectful manner based solely on physical appearance and behaviors having no pertinence to their own existence or happiness tend to use the same arguments…which often make me wonder if the implications of said treatment are rooted in similar ideologies.

        Dictionary.com has some interesting definitions for “black” and “gay”. And also “bling”. Webster-Merriam, much like the Constitution, is a living document that changes with the times. Kinda like morality.

    • Jhane Sez

      “By this reasoning, I, an Af-Am woman from a lower-middle class home, should never have been allowed to vote, marry, or attend an Ivy League institution in this country (an institution in which I had to serve my classmates just to pay for books). In many ways, my beliefs and behavior were/are considered “abnormal” in the environments I circulate(d) in, just by virtue of not having equal access, by virtue of being seen as “different” in every classroom, dorm room, and office I walk(ed) into.”

      No but real talk if I was your girl I would put you on to the mores of the culture and help you adapt.

      Like telling you to get a little black dress and lend you some pearls or a evening trench coat so you wouldn’t feel out of place at more formal campus events.

      I wouldn’t let you go out like that because I know the social consequences of such behavior and I would want you to have every opportunity to shine and get yours.

      Because I know others won’t be so kind… and you would be penalized and not know why.

      Now if you weren’t interested in the info because you wanted to do you… I say live free or die.

      But personally I lead with if we don’t help us… who will. Morehouse ~JS

      • Mo-VSS

        “But personally I lead with if we don’t help us… who will. Morehouse ~JS”

        AMEN to that!

      • http://blackpicket.com brownivyx

        If more shared this view, it would be a different country entirely. But alas, we all learn how to make do, walk the walk and talk the talk, etc. And we are stronger for it.

        But are we happier? Giving up pieces of ourselves just to survive? Forcing the idea that others should do likewise?