After the months following the change of Morehouse’s dress code “in October of last year, the Morehouse College administration announced a new “appropriate attire policy.” The dress code stated that students, referred to as “Renaissance Men,” were not allowed to wear caps, do-rags, sunglasses or sagging pants on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events. But what raised most eyebrows was the rule about women’s clothing: no wearing of dresses, tops, tunics, purses or pumps.” The Mean Girls Of Morehouse Aka The Plastics in this story consist of four men (two current, two former students) who are labeled as a subgroup of men who dress as “women” and represent a small segment of the openly gay community at Morehouse. The men in the story are named as such Diamond Martin Paulin, Brian Alston, Michael Leonard, Phillip Hudson. Now the term gender blender may not be familiar to you now but I promise it wil ring a bell after reading this story. At Morehouse the subgroup consist of men who rock makeup, Marc Jacobs tote bags, sky-high heels and Beyonce style hair weaves. One of the most eye catching stories for me was that of Phillip Hudson. I’m not sure if its because we share some of the same experience’s in life of what but it was the one that stood out to me the most. Read his story below and give your most honest feedback after.
“Built like an NFL linebacker, the 6’4” freshman politely turned down the Morehouse head football coach’s invite for a tryout soon after he arrived on campus. Phillip—who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—came to Morehouse in hopes of pleasing his father, a minister from Jamaica who he says is staunchly homophobic. “I’ve always wanted to be a man’s man,” says Phillip, with a sigh. “I wanted to be masculine. I thought by coming here to Morehouse I could be the masculine man my father wanted me to be. The first day I got to campus, I was a boy. I had my little dreads pulled back, jeans and all that. Trying to be this masculine boy, real cool and real quiet.”
“It took exactly one day on campus for Phillip to see that this plan was not going to work. “The first time I walked from my dorm to student services, someone yelled out ‘f****t’ and a crew of boys started laughing at me.” Phillip throws his hands up dramatically. “That was it. I was going to have to be me. There was no hiding that I was not masculine. That I was not a boy. I went back to taking my female hormones and rocking my hair.”
Phillip tells terrifying stories of being beaten “like a man” throughout childhood for his feminine demeanor. And he says that as a preteen he was raped after being slipped a Mickey in his drink.”
“Phillip admits that he’s felt suicidal over the things he’s experienced in his life, both past and present. “Two weeks ago, I bought a bottle of Everclear and thought about driving on Route 75 until I found a cliff to go over. But I thought about Michael and Bri and Diamond and how much we depend on each other, and I couldn’t do that.”
Below is the official letter to the response of the Vibe magazine interview. The college President then sent out I letter to the Morehouse alum read it below:
Dear Morehouse Community:
Next week, Vibe magazine, a hip-hop music and culture monthly, will publish in their October/November issue an article on Morehouse. I strongly disagree with the likely substance of this article an
d wanted to write to you directly to share my views.
The article, entitled, “The Mean Girls at Morehouse,” purports to examine the lives of some of our gay brothers as it relates to the enforcement of our appropriate attire policy we enacted a year and a half ago. It seems clear from the headline alone that the Vibe editorial team’s intent is to sensationalize and distort reality for the purpose of driving readership. The title of the article speaks volumes about a perspective that is very narrow and one that is, in all likelihood, offensive to our students whether gay or straight.
As president of this institution, as a Morehouse graduate and as a father, I am insulted by what is to be published. Addressing our young men as “girls” is deeply disturbing to me, no matter what the remainder of the article may say. Morehouse has for 140 years developed men—men who are equipped to live and contribute to an increasingly diverse, global and complex world.
Let me be clear. I believe in the freedom of the press and its critical role in examining all facets of our society to foster reasoned discourse and to promote understanding of topics both popular and unpopular. We will not always agree with what is written. I disagree, however, in journalism that attempts to malign and distort, rather than inform and enlighten.
I need not tell you that the black male is already faced with challenges in nearly every aspect of his life. Injustices abound. Families are broken. And our young black boys are failing to reachtheir potential in grade school and middle school at pandemic rates. And while the world grapples with complicated issues related to economic disparity, racism, sustainability, and diversity and tolerance, Morehouse stands in the breach, seeking answers to the pressing issues facing our young men, encouraging dialogue and expecting excellence.
The world is complex, and it is diverse. Morehouse reflects that same complexity and that same diversity. It is unfortunate that the Vibe article will heighten misunderstandings and advance or inform little.
In the end, no media outlet can shape who we are or in any way diminish our mission. But together we can encourage media outlets like Vibe to provide fair, well-researched and balanced journalism.
Finally, Morehouse will stand by its values. We will continue to set high standards and focus on the development of our young men. Thank you for standing with us.