The 1980’s can be best described as a time where poofy hairstyles were in, Calvin Klein the major brand and the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. This week, I spent my time in MARBl reviewing Emory yearbooks from 1981 and 1987. What I did notice, other than hairstyles, was how beginning with 1981, Emory’s sexuality was more apparent in public and pictures.
The first signs of sexuality were in the yearbook from 1981. This intro page reads “We kissed, and carried on- and allowed ourselves to talk about it openly in programs such as “Sex at Emory Expressed” during spring quarter.” I think that nowadays sexual talk is becoming sort of a norm between individuals in society and I was surprised to see this in because I could imagine how this little paragraph could have made such a big impact back then and how much weight it carries.
I’m sure that there is a correlation between the AIDS report in the United States to the number of sex talks on a campus such as Emory. What I would question now is, if AIDS did not exist or if it never made in impact in the US then, would we still have talked sex to our peers? Professors? World? Why did we need this negative impact to shift worldviews on sexuality and make voices heard? Today, would we still be hushed or afraid of talking sex if this never happened?
The positive impact that I can testify to, thanks to the AIDS epidemic is that voices began to speak up and were beginning to be heard. I think that because of this tragedy, we gained and are continuing to gain so much insight and knowledge about our uniqueness to one another and how communities are being created to support victims of AIDS and the LGBTQ groups. Yes, I feel that we have a long journey ahead of us in redefining what is “normal” and for those of us to get past our one minded views on relationships and discrimination but I think that we are better off than we were 30 years ago.
Programs such as “Sex at Emory Expresses” gave way to sex talk and awareness of sexuality in the Emory community. This shift towards sex talk in the classroom is more apparent today than ever before and I can see the benefit of them. Not only is this class exciting but, it raises awareness to the LGBTQ community and even helps to raise my own awareness to what my sexual opinions are. I have learned so much more in four weeks of this class than I did a full year of history.