LTE: In Response to the “Disparaging” Critiques of Raymond Mancini

Early Monday, The Heights published a recap of Sunday’s second UGBC Presidential Debate. During the debate, the team of Ray Mancini and Matt Batsinelas reportedly addressed one of the comments I made on a Facebook Live stream of the first debate that Akosua Achampong and Christina King “endorsed.” As the person who wrote the comment in jest, I want to make it known that I have no affiliation with Akosua and Christina’s campaign. Though my comment was not intended to be a talking point during Sunday’s debate, I feel it is in the best interest of the student body to focus not on what I said, but the larger issue surrounding why I said the Mancini-Batsinelas campaign “[doesn’t] have LGBTQ friends.”

Mancini’s voting record in UGBC indicated to me that not only is it possible that he might not have friends who are members of the LGBTQ community, but also that he does not intend to actively support the community if elected. In September, he was one of two dissenters in a vote regarding an LGBTQ resource center on Boston College’s campus, citing the vagueness of the proposal. It was also reported that he did not see a resource center as effectual in benefitting the community. This out-of-touch approach to a resource center that would greatly serve the LGBTQ students at Boston College is why I made the claim that Mancini might not have close friends who are LGBTQ.

There is a reason Boston College is sometimes referred to as “Boston’s Closet” at other area universities. Simply put, the campus culture at BC that holds the preppy, white, rich, hypermasculine “BC bro” on a high pedestal is not welcoming to LGBTQ students. When faced with this ideal image of what a BC student should be, many individuals on campus, especially first-year and prospective students, feel pressured to mask their true identities in order to avoid marginalization in an unfamiliar environment.

As someone who came to Boston College with the intention of going through college as a (straight) “BC bro,” I can say without conviction that an LGBTQ resource would have provided me with the advice and support I needed when I made the intense and scary decision to come out to my friends and family back home in Indiana. Thankfully, I had a good support system at Boston College within my first few weeks here, but many students do not feel that they have the same luxury as I did when they decide to come out.

My comment on the Facebook Live stream of the debate may not have been the most tasteful one of the night. However, I stand by what I said, and I challenge the team of Ray Mancini and Matt Batsinelas to actively listen to their LGBTQ friends and students from all walks of life instead of promoting their new cyber-bully-victims narrative.

Edward ByrneMCAS 2018

Featured Image by Connor Murphy / Heights Editor