Course requirement: march in pride parade

President Mark Rosenberg rides the FIU float during the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade held on April 14. Rosenberg is praised for upholding FIU's general diversity statement and making strides in effort to unite all the minority communities including the very large LGBTQ population at FIU. (Carl-Frederick Francois | FIUSM)

Stephanie Mason/Staff Writer

Professor Oscar Loynaz quotes Buddha in the syllabus for his class LGBT and Beyond: Non-Normative Sexualities in Global Perspective. It reads, “Believe nothing… unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

The course covers a wide range of topics in the including subcultures, the role of media, health care, history and religion. One of the first things Loynaz has his students look at in particular is nature vs. nurture.

Another topic discussed in the course is the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage. Loynaz said there are many different kinds of students in the class with different opinions on the issue.

“If you come to terms with that question, whether you’re born gay or does society make you gay…it can sort of develop a framework on how you see marriage and marriage equality later on,” said Loynaz.

Loynaz personally feels that the legality of marriage should not be a state’s right as it limits one’s ability as an American citizen.

“I am hoping that [the Supreme Court] basically stands on the side of marriage equality because it serves no purpose for them not to make an appropriate legal ruling because they’re afraid of the consequences,” Loynaz said.

“I think all of us want to get married to someone we love,” said William Llerena, sophomore with an undecided major.

“I think everything in the world changes.  You go back to the ‘30s, women got their rights…African Americans got their rights too.  Why are we going to go ahead and deny the homosexual community?” said Llerena.  “People are afraid of the stupid truth.”

Ricardo Charlestin, junior in mechanical engineering, said he is “totally against” the legality of same-sex marriage and that he thinks it should not be legal in any of the states.

“It comes with my background, I’m a Bible believer.  I’m from a Christian family…they’re totally against it so I guess that’s why,” Charlestin said.

Loynaz said that often times, people associate same-sex marriage with things that it should actually be differentiated from.

“You have to respect people’s points of view but a lot of people kind of confuse marriage with religion,” said Loynaz.

Loynaz said the same is true for traditional marriage and same-sex marriage.

“I think one really has nothing to do with the other,” said Loynaz. “You’re only allowing a group of people that want to do something in the name of love and in the name of legal equality to do something…why should that negatively impact you?”

A requirement of Loynaz’s class during the spring semester is to march in the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade in order for students to experience what it feels like to stand up for something.

Isaias Caceres, freshman in mathematics and one of Loynaz’s students, was enthusiastic about the opportunity to march in the parade.  Caceres feels it will be good “to represent everybody that doesn’t have a voice.”

According to Loynaz, this was the first year that the University had its own float in the parade.  During the first march, the students came up with the slogan, “Who you are is not a choice, at FIU you have a voice.”

“[The slogan] lets the community know that FIU is a welcoming environment, embraces diversity and is respectful of people’s orientations,” said Loynaz.

“Sexual orientation is something that’s very personal but it’s also something that’s very public, and so I encourage everyone to really give it some thought,” said Loynaz.