Dustin Lance Black Is Slut-Shamed By Alma Mater, Shames Back

Over a month ago, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was invited to speak at the commencement of his alma mater, Pasadena City College. And then, after the PCC Board of Trustees found out that in 2009, pictures of Black having unprotected sex with a boyfriend leaked on the internet, he was disinvited.

"With the porno professor [Hugo Schwyzer] and the sex scandals we've had on campus this last year, it just didn't seem like the right time for Mr. Black to be the speaker," board president Anthony Fellow told the PCC Courier. "We'll be on the radio and on television. We just don't want to give PCC a bad name."

"What a disgusting institution," say the hypothetical people tuning in. "They let someone who has sex address the campus children, who'd never do such a thing!"

The board selected Pasadena Director of Public Health Dr. Eric Walsh to replace Black as commencement speaker.

Black responded in a letter to the PCC students that he won't get to address in person. In it, he calls out the college for slut-shaming, victim-blaming, and homophobia. Excerpts are below, read the whole thing at Out.

In 2009 a group of people surreptitiously lifted images from my ex's computer and shopped them around to gossip sites in a money making scheme. These were old images from a far simpler time in my life, a time before digital camera phones and Internet scandals. They were photos of me with a man I cared for, a man who shared my Mormon background, and who was also struggling with who he was versus where he came from. And yes, we were doing what gay men do when they love and trust each other, we were having sex. I have never lied about my sexuality. If you invade my privacy, this is what you will find. I have sex. It brings me joy, fosters intimacy and helps love grow. I hope anyone reading this can say the same for themselves and for their parents.

In 2010 I took the perpetrators of this theft to Federal court and Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled unequivocally that the defendants had indeed broken the law. The details of this case are readily available for anyone to read — including PCC's leadership and Board of Trustees.

In the eyes of anyone who has seen the devastating effects this trespass has had on me personally, creatively and professionally over these many years, in the eyes of my mother and friends who have held me as I've cried, and under the blind scrutiny of the law of this land, I am the victim of this "scandal," not the perpetrator.

With this cruel act, PCC's Administration is punishing the victim. And I ask you this: If I was a heterosexual man or woman with this same painful injury in my past, would PCC's Administration still be rescinding such an honor?

...As PCC Administrators attempt to shame me, they are casting a shadow over all LGBT students at PCC. They are sending the message that LGBT students are to be held to a different standard, that there is something inherently shameful about who we are and how we love, and that no matter what we accomplish in our lives, we will never be worthy of PCC's praise.

While I deal with the legal and financial ramifications of this injury, I urge you not to let PCC's Administrators get away with sending such a harmful message. If there's one thing I've learned in the struggle for equality it is that when you are stung by injustice, you must find your pride and raise your voice. If you are outraged like I am, you must show it. You must speak truth to fear and prejudice and shed light where there is ignorance. Now is that time at PCC.

[Image via Getty]