Opinion: Living with Compassion

Joyce Ng is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected]

Joyce Ng

Having grown up in a conservative Christian home in a country where homosexual activity is illegal, open conversation about homosexuality was largely absent for most of my life. When I arrived in Kent more than three years ago, I realized that I was joining a community who is very passionate about LGBTQ rights. This was a big and interesting change for me.

Although I remain inactive with the LGBTQ rights movement in Kent, I follow the media stories that involve PRIDE! Kent closely. The group’s  responses to hateful, anti-gay statements and actions such as Westboro Baptist Church’s threats to picket Kent State over the suspension of Sam Wheeler after making anti-gay tweets have been nothing short of respectful and compassionate.

The organization has shown a genuine concern in ensuring equal rights for everyone and that includes those who are hateful toward the LGBTQ community. In a letter to the Athletic Department on Feb. 24, PRIDE! Kent requested that Sam Wheeler’s suspension from the wrestling team be lifted and extended an invitation to Wheeler to have conversation with the organization instead.

Many people around the world, including people from my home country Malaysia, are still strongly anti-gay and react hatefully to the LGBTQ community. Christians have gained an especially bad reputation for acting in such a manner. LGBTQ rights remain an undiscussed issue in Malaysia, and many Malaysians react uncomfortably to openly gay people and any type of discussion surrounding gay rights.

Therefore, growing up in a Christian, Malaysian community where gays are generally portrayed as sinful or simply ignored, I have been very impressed with the LGBTQ community in Kent. Their compassion and respect for other people surpasses many who proclaim to be Bible-believing Christians.

I believe that living with compassion is crucial. “Every man for himself” might get you to the top tiers of your career, earn you a house and a car faster than anyone else’s and bring you great success according to its most common definition. However, it will quickly leave you feeling lonely.   

 Although paying close attention to the needs and desires of others and making extra efforts to meet them remains largely unheard of in the real world, I believe that it matters more than “succeeding.” Looking out for other people apart from yourself might make job promotions and public recognition far and few between, but I believe that the reward that selflessness yields is far greater than a high-paying job.

PRIDE! Kent has shown us what it means to live with compassion. All of us should learn from this marginalized and ridiculed community who has responded with nothing but love and kindness.