T

Tristan Feldman '12

A recent post on Joe My God, a prominent gay blog, concerning the suicide of LA Times Sports Columnist Mike Penner, sparked some interesting discussion via the comment section. In 2007 Mike Penner announced that he was transitioning and wished to be called Christine Daniels. Last February he announced that he was no longer transitioning and wished to be referred to as Mike Penner again. While ignoring the obvious trolls and blatantly unrelated posts, I found an interesting sentiment in the comments. One person wrote,

“This post and the first two comments are typical of the ultra-PC, head-in-the-sand approach to this issue. No problem here, nothing to see, T's are all perfectly fine and it is transphobia that is to blame for all ills.  

This person got support from his colleagues. There were no reports of harassment or discrimination. This person decided he was a woman and had the freedom and resources to follow through, then decided he was a man, and then decided to kill himself. That is not healthy, normal, or sane and it is ridiculous to minimize it or suggest that it is "society" that is mentally ill or that unnamed others were responsible for his demise. More to the point, none of this sad drama has anything to do with gay people.

It was a titanic mistake to allow unelected activists to equate T with LGB. They are not the same thing. They are very different phenomena. And there is absolutely no political benefit to LGBs in maintaining this forced marriage with Ts. We should wish them well and chart our own course.”


Another person added on:

I have sympathy for all people who face discrimination. At the same time though, I totally agree that transgender should have never been in the same group with LGB's. It's almost as bad as putting Muslim-Americans who face discrimination in our group. We are not the same. Transgender is transgender, gay is gay, and Muslim is Muslim. 

These comments struck me because the relationship between the LGB and the T community is something that has been on the back of my mind lately. I do agree that including trans people with gay people does lead to some confusion over the differences between sexuality and gender, but at the same time, the two are so inextricably linked it is hard to define them separately. In fact, it is impossible to define sexuality without getting into the realm of someone’s sex and gender identity.

I don’t really know what to say to people who say that the issues that trans people face have nothing to do with gay people. Our histories are intertwined, our needs are similar, our communities have overlaps, and if you are truly fighting for gay rights because they are civil rights what are you saying if you leave part of your community behind?

I think the problem actually lies in people who add the T to LGB without really meaning it. I have read countless brochures that are for “LGBT” individuals that don’t even address the concerns of trans people, or only mention them as a side note. This kind of treatment can lead people to conflating gender identity with sexual orientation. I think that more serious consideration of the trans community needs to take place within the queer community. Everyone should look critically at the categories of sex and gender, for no other reason then to have a better understanding of yourself and your identity. This is one of the many factors that separate the queer community from the gay community and why I’m much more proud to say I’m queer than to say I’m gay.

Marriage as Heedless Pursuit

By Dominic Schuler '11

"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

This was said by Maine Governor John E. Baldacci when he signed LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom, last spring. He also noted in an interview that his decision to sign the legislation, a decision he firmly backs as the “right decision”, may not be final. Governor Baldacci signed a measure allowing a referendum in November, after voters mustered enough signatures to put the measure through. As we saw in California, the Maine gay marriage law is now in the hands of voters.

Next week, we may find out if this story plays out differently. I think there is something to be said for learning from Proposition 8 in California, and it seems that this is exactly what the community has done. Counter- ads to the opposition began in September and were well-received- check one out here! First TV Ad Spot: "Sam Putnam"

I thought that this was an interesting and important issue to blog about, but I also want to note that I believe there is an overemphasis in the queer community today concerning marriage. Yes- equality is important. No- denying people basic rights based on any identity isn't right.

But considering the numerous other structures in which access is still denied queer people, marriage should not necessarily be our first concern.

The good people fighting this struggle are necessary- this struggle is necessary. But marriage is an inherently sexist, racist, and classist institution and I, for one, have some difficulty placing it at the top of my priority list. Furthermore, marriage is still highly focused on an idea of a nuclear family unit that risks alienating members of the queer community who marriage does not serve, or who have little interest in the institution. Simply changing the idea from one of a mother, a father, 2.5 kids and a dog to one in which the 2.5 kids can have two mommies or two daddies? Not that big of a switch. The working structure of marriage cannot be solved by granting access to an institution that is still riddled with problems- that is merely a 'quick fix' and I urge caution against mistaking victory in the fight for gay marriage as the signal to 'lay down our arms'. Rather, we should see the problems inherent in marriage as a call to arms, and we should remember that with every such victory, someone is silenced.

Humorous Interlude

By Logan Rimel '10

Because I tend to talk about serious, heavy topics when writing blog posts, I figured there was room for a bit of levity. How best to inspire laughs on a queer blog? Why, Eddie Izzard, of course!

Eddie Izzard is a British actor and comedian who is also well known for being a transvestite. (An “executive transvestite,” to be more precise.) I love that he’s out there, talking about his identity and experiences in a way that is palatable to mainstream America.

Here’s a clip of Izzard talking about his identity, growing up, and considering a military career: Eddie Izzard Transvestite

The Miscellany News - Panel discusses evolution of Vassar queer life

Vassar Miscellany News covers Interrogating Mythologies: Queer Life at Vassar since '69

Unpacking Gay History Within the Black Community



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Mormon Missionaries

By Logan Rimel '10

Recently, while checking the queer and political blogs I regularly read, I clicked on a banner ad for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as the Mormons) offering a free Book of Mormon. As a religion major conspicuously lacking said holy text, I decided that this opportunity was too good to pass up. I filled out the information and promptly forgot about it.

About a week later, I received a call from two young missionaries working here in Poughkeepsie. They wanted to schedule an appointment with me so that they could drop by, give me the book, and discuss their faith. I’ve now met with them on two separate occasions, discussing everything from the validity of the Bible to the testimony of Joseph Smith to (my personal favorite) queer identities, particularly within the Church.

For anyone not familiar with LDS doctrine (and I must confess, I am not nearly as well-versed as I should be. That was part of the reason behind requesting a Book of Mormon in the first place), the family is considered the central unit. It is through our relationships with our families that we learn how to love God and, eventually, to become like Him. From this position – the family not only as God’s prescribed plan, but as how one attains salvation – the LDS Church can be very difficult for queer members.

In my most recent meeting with the missionaries (two very kind, amiable, and intelligent women about my age), I brought up the fact that I was queer and did my best to explain my identity – how I view relationships, the people I date, the way orientation and gender identity combine to give me my perceptions of the world. At the end of my brief exposition, one of the women said, “So…like, homosexuality?” It was then that I realized we were speaking different languages.

Sometimes I forget, you know? I forget that the terms “gender binary,” “genderqueer,” “nonmonogamous,” and a thousand others are ones I use freely here, but sound like Greek to many others. I am privileged to be at Vassar, a privilege few others experience. As we discussed in the last Fruit Salad put on in the LGBTQ Center, the language that we have access to in institutions such as Vassar is not language that others necessarily are familiar with. The nuances of my identity are a result of my privilege.

The missionaries didn’t know exactly how to answer my questions, so they promised to do some research and meet with me again next week. I greatly appreciate the honesty in that answer and I’m looking forward to learning more about their perspective as they learn more about mine.

Gay Marriage: Cross-Cultural Concerns

By Dominic Schuler '11

It's no secret that in our country, the (mainstream) gay community is very focused around the struggle for marriage equality, hate crime legislature, and rights within the military. I think it is important sometimes to step back and look at what struggles queer communities internationally are facing.

While we featured the first gay couple on the 'Newlywed Game' last month, debate raged over the marriage of two Kenyan men in London (the first gay marriage in London) under the Civil Partnership Act. Religious leaders in Kenya described the union as “unacceptable and unnatural” and “un-African”, and expressed a sense of shame in their shared heritage with the two men. They also cited China's intolerance for queer issues.

Currently, Kenya is drafting a new constitution, which intends to invest in the interests of both majority and minority groups. Although British MP's urge for gay rights to be recognized and protected, religious groups have a large say in the matter and will shoot down the draft if it includes gay rights. Leaders stated that “the majority of Kenyans are against...anything to do with homosexuals and lesbians” and asked “How can a Kenyan marry another man when there are many women out there looking for men to marry them?"

I don't claim to know very much about Kenyan society, but I know that, growing up, I heard many statements similar to those in the paragraphs which precede this one in the American media (Fox news, for example), and it is interesting and, I think, important for us to recognize the similarities and differences in the struggle of queer communities for recognition in our society and others.

SexGames: Sexuality and Athletics



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Interrogating Mythologies: Queer Life at Vassar since '69



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Promises Deferred

By Logan Rimel '10

I’m on the email list for OneNewsNow, a conservative Christian new website. Today in my inbox I received an email with the subject “Christians on high alert over hate crimes passage.” Intrigued, (but also aware that my blood pressure was probably going to be on the rise soon), I decided to read on.

Putting aside the blatant lies, half-truths, and mental gymnastics that one would expect from such an email (The hate crimes bill will NOT mean that pastors who speak about homosexuality in an ill light go to prison. That’s a bald-faced lie.), I focused instead on one line from Matt Barber of Liberty Council. Barber says that President Obama will likely sign the bill since he desires to, “throw a bone to homosexual activists because they have been breathing down his neck...and this is a way to hold them off."

It was sort of disturbingly funny to find myself agreeing with Mr. Barber. President Obama has made promise after promise to the LGBTQ community during his campaign and first several months in office, yet does nothing to ensure that these promises are fulfilled. His administration has castigated and promised to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act while simultaneously defending them in court.

I, for one, am disgusted by this lack of leadership, but not exactly surprised. I just don’t like agreeing with Matt Barber.

The text of this email can be found here:
http://www.onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=736154

For an explanation of the hate crimes bill, go here:
http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/13712/how-the-new-hate-crimes-prevention-act-works

Sexual Mafia

By Dominic Schuler '11

The Mafia (Cosa Nostra) is as an institution one of the top subscribers to ideals of 'machismo'. In a nutshell- organized crime is a go, but gay is a deal breaker. I found this interesting because of Robert Mormando, a Gambino family gunman, who broke the mafia code of silence-- omertà and confessed to acting as a government informer in his court hearing this week (regarding a shooting in 2003), but that isn't all he confessed to. He also outed himself in court, in an attempt to stress to the judge the higher-than-usual degree of danger he was putting himself in acting as a government informer.

I didn't find this case interesting because of a slightly self-interested court-mediated outing, nor because I was surprised to hear about a 'gay' in the Mafia (I'm sure there are more), but because of the Mafia's history in interacting with the queer world.

Before queer communities 'came out' from underground, laws prevented queer people from living easily in the mainstream world. For instance, throughout the 1950's and 60's, the FBI kept a list of known homosexuals (due to the 'Lavender Scare'- we all know those gays are right up there at the top of the list of risks to national security) so that bartenders could avoid breaking the law by having more than three homosexuals in their building at the same time- and this law seems almost sane and non-arbitrary in comparison with others!

During that time period, the Mafia ran a host of gay bars and night clubs, including the Stonewall Inn, interacting profitably with what at the time, was another underground, highly controversial community. Although queer culture has run more into the mainstream these days (I'm glad that law is off the books, because I've probably broken it more times than I can count!), the Mafia still interacts with many openly gay lawyers and businessmen.

I think that these seemingly opposed ideals stem from the divide between what is 'business' and what is 'personal'. In any event, the Mafia (and the military, for that matter) would probably do well to leave sexual preference out of their membership criteria.

Hate Crimes

By Dominic Schuler '11

On Thursday (October 22), Congress approved extending protections from hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability. Conservatives have opposed what they say is “controversial language” in the hate crimes legislation, which is “unrelated to our national defense”, and Republicans comprised all of the 'no' votes but one.

It bothers me that one of the main lines of opposition to basic protection from violence is based in untruth. Opponents claim that hate crimes legislature for the queer community will not do what previous hate crimes legislature for other groups has, but will instead create a 'special class' of victim, or lead to the silencing of those affiliated with religious institutions which are opposed to homosexuality. Lobbyists apply a malicious intent to laws only intending to protect the basic rights of other human beings.

When I went looking for news about this topic to write this post, I found a problem that I expected less than I expected the bastardization of the intent of the laws passed in Congress this week. Major news sources, including mainstream queer news sources, are reporting more often than not that legislature for sexual orientation and only sexual orientation passed, leaving out gender, gender identity, and disability.

First of all- gender wasn't already included in hate crimes legislature? I don't even have words.

Second- gender identity and disability are often 'silenced' or 'invisible' categories already. In the case of gender identity specifically, it shocks me that we cannot come together as a queer community to celebrate new protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, that we must still compartmentalize into smaller communities and silence one another rather than recognizing our common aims and joining the fight for social justice and equality together.

Events for the Week of October 26





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Vassar students join the National Equality March

By Casey Katims, '10

On October 11th, over a hundred Vassar students trekked from Poughkeepsie to Washington, D.C., to join the National Equality March for LGBTQ civil rights. As one of the presidents of ACT OUT, I can easily say that organizing this exhilarating (and exhausting) 14-hour trip was the most amazing experience of my college career. But even more importantly, I can say that marching side-by-side with this group of 103 individuals has made me prouder than ever of the Vassar student body.

Although most of the Vassar LGBTQ community would agree that our college is extremely progressive, a number of factors have often limited student participation in campus activism. Extracurricular activities, coupled with heavy workloads and busy schedules, make each of us weary of taking on new responsibilities. Yet the outpour of support that ACT OUT received for this trip—from individuals, administrators, dorm houses and VSA, among others—allowed us to organize a truly special event.

In many ways, the trip to the National Equality March defied logic. On the Sunday immediately preceding midterms, why would 103 students be willing to wake up at 3:00 a.m., spend 14 hours on a bus, and march through Washington, D.C.?

To answer this question is simply to recognize that Vassar students care a lot—much more than I realized—about ensuring the LGBTQ movement's continued progress. It continues to fill me with pride that so many students wanted to join us, regardless of their workload, stress, and other obligations. Yet for Leslie (ACT OUT's other president) and myself, nothing can replace the memory of 103 students standing around Main Circle at 3:00 a.m., with pillows and homework in hand, to march on Washington for LGBTQ equality.

These students spent week after week attending meetings, getting to know one another, discussing rules, and painting signs (with phrases like "Equality is SO Gay" and "Legalize Love"). Many of them helped us fundraise, allowing us to pay for the second bus and bring 50 additional students. And each of them added a different shade of the LGBTQ rainbow to the ACT OUT trip—from straight to queer, transgender to gay, intersex to bisexual, and every color inbetween. I have learned so much from this group of people, whom I now consider part of the ACT OUT family, and whom I plead to continue fighting for LGBTQ equality.

The Equality March was a significant moment in the LGBTQ movement and in all of our lives. But all Vassar students need to remember that it was only one step toward full citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. The United States still needs federal non-discrimination laws, hate crimes protections, marriage equality, gender-neutral facilities, and more. Achieving these goals won't be easy. So, after we've caught up on sleep and done all our homework, let's pick ourselves up and keep fighting for what we know is right. Because, as Cleve Jones said at the march, “If you believe that you are equal, then it is time to act like it.

Reflections on the National Equality March

By Tristan Feldman '12

Last Sunday’s March On Washington was amazing! A great day with perfect weather was topped off by an amazing speech by Staceyann Chin and then running into her at the rest stop on the way back to Vassar (even though I saw her just as she was getting back onto the bus and didn’t get a chance to speak to her, even that small glimpse made my day. Who cares about Lady Gaga, Staceyann Chin really stole the show). The march was all I expected and more, but it was not all that I hoped for.

Like at most LGBTQ events, the L (lesbian), the G (gay), and for once the B (bisexual) dominated. There were side references to the T (transgender), including some speakers, but no reference to intersex people, pansexuals, and to those who defy labels. Yes, there were trans speakers, yes they did speak about the strides they are taking to represent an underrepresented community, but this was just a formality. Looking at the signs people were carrying, the words they were chanting, the general sentiment of the march, I would have to label it a gay event, not a queer event.

All this happened as I am trying to find my place in a community that I so much want to be apart of, a community upon which I define my identity, but a community that so often ignores me or treats me as a side note. Events like these really make me question what holds our community together? Are we really a LGBTQAI… community? What is it that we share?

We share a history. Drag queens and trans women were the ones who fought back at Stonewall. They took the lead and fought back against the police. We share discrimination. We share high runaway and homeless youth rates. We share high suicide rates. We share class and race issues. We are groups fighting for equality. The thing about equality is that it can’t come in small bits for some people. We need social justice for all, the ending of all inequality, all hierarchy, and all privilege. But this won’t happen in a gay movement that side notes those who originally took the lead, those that have even fewer rights and are in even greater danger. We need a truly queer movement and a truly queer community.

Autumn Reception

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New Beginings

Hello!

The start of the Fall semester has brought a new addition to the Campus Life Office, specifically me. My name is Steve Lavoie, and I am the new Assistant Director for Campus Life LGBTQ Programs. For those who may be curious as to who I am, here are a few words: I am a member of the class of '08, and I was previously Assistant Director for Vassar's Exploring Transfer program. My undergraduate concentrations at Vassar were in economics, philosophy and gender theory. I am a currently pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy at Stony Brook, and my research interests include hermeneutics, critical theory, psychoanalysis, queer theory, and the relationship between community and violence.

I am most excited to be taking on this new position, and I want to thank Julie for her excellent work over the past two years. We have many exciting programs planned for this semester, and I encourage all the members of the Vassar community to be part of each one. As before, upcoming events will be posted here on the blog. I also encourage everyone to submit essays, stories, comments, or just random musings for posting. This has been a locus for rich and textured dialogues and I hope that will continue.

My office hours for this semester are as follows:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesdays and Fridays 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
or by appointment

Please feel free to stop in at your convenience.

I look forward to working with all of you.

-Steve

Blog Hiatus

For those of you who have not heard yet, this is my last week at Vassar College. I have recently accepted a job at Bard College as Director of Student Activities and Campus Center. It has been a fantastic 2 years at Vassar, and I have especially enjoyed working with the queer community here. Details about my replacement are still being determined, so this blog will be going on hiatus during this time of transition. Hopefully it will continue once my replacement is hired.

In the meantime, please contact Ed Pittman, Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life with any questions you might have about the LGBTQ Center. Ed can be reached at 845.437.5426 or edpittman@vassar.edu.

My Vassar e-mail will be disconnected soon, so feel free to reach me at julie.silverstein@gmail.com for any reason. Thanks!

-Julie

Same-Sex Marriage Law Passes in New Hampshire!

After going back and forth with 3 different versions of the bill, the governor of New Hampshire finally signed a same-sex marriage law yesterday that will go into effect in January 2010. The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage. It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

This now leaves Rhode Island as the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex marriages yet. However, opponents hope to overturn the law in Maine through a public vote, much like what happened in California with Prop 8.

Read more here.

California Supreme Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court announced their ruling today about the controversial Proposition 8 - a constitutional amendment passed during the November elections that banned same-sex marriage in California even though legal marriages were currently being granted to same-sex couples.

Unfortunately, the court upheld this same-sex marriage ban that had passed with only 52% of the vote. However, they have also ruled to allow existing same-sex marriages to stand. An estimated 18,000 same-sex couples will remain legally married.

This is breaking news from the California Supreme Court, but read more here as the story develops.

Fall 2009 Course Offering

Still looking for courses to add for the Fall 2009 semester? Check out this interesting option:

Transnational Queer: Genders, Sexualities, Identities
(crosslisted with WMST and INST)

Course Description:
This course examines, critiques and interrogates notions of what is Queer as constructed in, and through, France and North America. In what ways do different societies engage with discourses on gender and sexuality? Can/should our understanding of queerness change depending on the cultural context? This course will feature guest speakers specializing in queer cultural production from fiction to cinema and performance. Topics include the body, sexual politics, citizenship, legal and aesthetic discourses. Through examination of these questions, this course aims to expose students to differing kinds of otherness and cross-cultural understandings of specific forms of identity constructions through a broad range of queer theoretical and cultural productions including fiction, cinema, and performance. All readings and discussions will be in English.

This course is the result of a collaborative project and was designed collectively by faculty from five different institutions (Bucknell University, College of the Holy Cross, Union College, Vassar College, and Williams College) and will be offered simultaneously at Bucknell University and Vassar College. This unique opportunity will enable students to engage in dialogue not only with their classmates, but also with peers at Bucknell University. This course is organized into five units framed by an introductory module and a conclusion. Within each unit, one of the participating faculty members will give an evening lecture and lead an in-class discussion the following day.

Given the structure of this course, students are expected to fully engage in all its components by participating actively in class discussions and attending evening lectures and film screenings. Readings in this course will guide class discussions as well as inform your final project.

Tentative Lecture Schedule:
9/21 -- Thibaut Schilt, College of the Holy Cross (on the work of French film director François Ozon)
10/5 -- Brian Martin, Williams College (on Homosexuality and the Military)
10/12 -- Philippe Dubois, Bucknell University (on Food and Homosexuality)
11/2 -- Vinay Swamy, Vassar College (Gay "Marriage" and the French Republic)
11/16 -- Charles Batson, Union College (Queer Quebec)

This course is possible thanks to generous grants from the Andrew Mellon Faculty conversation grant at Vassar, the Dean of Faculty's office and Bucknell University. Contact Vinay Swamy (viswamy@vassar.edu) with any further questions about the course.

Senior Showcase has been Filled!

Thanks to everyone who contacted Megan Habermann about performing at the Senior Showcase this Friday! I have heard that all slots have been filled, so be sure to go watch the acts and support your fellow classmates:

Senior Showcase
Friday, May 22
9:00-10:30pm @ Aula

Senior Showcase

Are you a senior with a talent you would like to showcase one last time before graduating? If so, you have one last chance!

On Friday, May 22, Campus Activities and ViCE After Hours will be sponsoring a Senior Showcase in the Aula from 9:00-10:30pm, and they still have spots available for performers!


E-mail Megan at mehabermann@vassar.edu if you are interested in performing.

Lavender Grad Reception


We made the Misc again! Check out this article about our upcoming Lavender Grad Reception for LGBTQ and ally graduating seniors. For more details about this event, e-mail me directly at jusilverstein@vassar.edu.

Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Maine!

Today, Maine became the 5th state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the 2nd to do so legislatively rather than by court order. Read more here.

Come on New York...hopefully we will get our act together here soon enough!

What's between YOUR ears?

Where is gender in your life?
What does it actually mean to act female, male, trans, or gender neutral? Where do we intersect and overlap? What separates and unites us?

Join us for a discussion over tea, cookies, and other refreshments to share how you perform gender at Vassar, in your mind, and in the world at large.

TONIGHT - May 5th
8-9pm @ Jade Parlor

Sponsored by the Campus Life Women's and LGBTQ Centers

Study Hours at LGBTQ Center!

It's that time of year again....

Today is the last day of classes, and reading week/finals period begins tomorrow! We know that this is the busiest time of the semester at the Library, so we would like to invite you to use the LGBTQ Center as an alternative study space during the next couple weeks. Join us during the following extended drop-in hours for some light refreshments and some great study space:

Wednesday, 5/6: 2-6pm
Thursday, 5/7: 12-4pm
Friday, 5/8: 10am - 2pm
Saturday, 5/9: 12-4pm
Monday, 5/11: 2-6pm
Tuesday, 5/12: 1:30-4pm
Wednesday, 5/13: 12-4pm

Good luck everyone!

Want to be a 'Gays of Our Lives' Star??

As you may recall, "Gays of Our Lives" is a popular program geared towards new students during orientation week in the Fall. The event seeks to introduce new students to the queer community at Vassar, while breaking down stereotypes about the community. A large part of this program is a Q&A with panel members where the audience asks questions in order to determine the sexual orientation/gender identity of each panel member. We are looking for some volunteers to participate in this program, so please come to our next planning meeting if you are interested in any of the following:

Being a panel member for the Q&A part of the program
OR
Co-hosting the event with our very own "Miss Rey" (Raymon Azcona)

The meeting will be on Friday, May 8 at 2pm @ the LGBTQ Center (CC 235). At this meeting, we will explain more about the program, will select final panel members based on the variety of identities we can get, and select a co-host for the event based on talent, humor, comfort level, and chemistry with Miss Rey.
YOU MUST BE PRESENT AT THIS MEETING IN ORDER TO BE SELECTED FOR THE EVENT!

**Please note: In order to participate in "Gays of Our Lives," you will need to come back to Vassar early at the end of the summer. The program will be on Friday, August 28 at 9:30pm, so if you are not already back for other reasons by then, you will need to come back either Thursday, 8/27 or Friday, 8/28. Julie Silverstein (Assistant Director for Campus Life/LGBTQ Programs) will make arrangements with Res Life for this.**

If you have any further questions about this before Friday, May 8th, feel free to contact Julie at jusilverstein@vassar.edu.

Another Week of Progress!

(Posted by Nick, '11)
HAPPY MAY!

It has been another hugely progressive week in the fight for equal marriage rights!

On Monday, a new NY Times/CBS poll was released. It found that 42% of those polled believe queer couples should be able to legally marry; 25% think that they should be granted civil unions. This figure is up NINE points from just last month, when 33% of those polled thought gay people should be allowed to marry. Personally, I think this is largely because of the momentum that’s been building with states all over the country either passing or considering gay marriage statutes.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted 13 to 11 to legalize same-sex marriage. The law goes into effect on January 1st, assuming the governor does not veto it. In the past, he has spoken out against gay marriage, though has not indicated what he would do should such a bill cross his desk. Read more here.

Also this week, there was a very interesting article in the NY Times about how the GOP is considering changing its stance on gay marriage because they’re bleeding support. The article also delves into the age divide when it comes to this issue—in a poll, 31% of respondents over 40 were in favor of same-sex marriage, whereas 57% under 40 supported it. Read the article here.

On Thursday, the Maine Senate passed by a vote of 21 to 14 a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state, making it the sixth to do so. It appears to have broader support in the state House of Representatives. Read more here.

Finally, on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard Act. If it passes in the Senate, President Obama has indicated that he would sign it into law. This would be a huge victory for equal rights – the bill is an anti-hate crimes act that defines such crimes as “those motivated by prejudice and based on a victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.” This would make it the first bill to protect people by virtue of their sexual orientation AND gender identity. Read more here.

Tonight at the LGBTQ Center!

Tonight - Friday, May 1st - Founder's Day Eve
Last LGBTV of the semester! Tonight at 7pm - come watch a queer movie in the LGBTQ Center. We provide the snacks, bring your friends!

Followed by...
GAYME NIGHT!
DDR
Guitar Hero
Wii
Apples to Apples
Scrabble
And More!

Safer-Sex Workshop for Gay Men

CHOICE invites you to a safer-sex workshop from the Gay Men's Health Education Center in ARCS:

Be the first to experience our cutting edge safer-sex presentation for gay men. Come learn today's newest and most effective techniques to keep yourself safe while still having fun!

Thursday, April 30
7:30-9:30pm @ Rocky 210


Check out the website for the program here

CHOICE will be providing tea and cookies and safer sex supplies for everyone!

**CHOICE will also be having an open house on Friday, May 1st from 1-5pm. Stop by during this time to stock up on FREE safer sex supplies before Founder's Day, Graduation, and the summer!**

Same-Sex Couples Married in Iowa Today

Today is the first day that same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa. Lesbian couple Shelley Wolfe and Melisa Keeton (see picture) became the very first same-sex couple to exchange wedding vows this morning. Read more here!

Later-Life Lesbianism

(Posted by Nick, '11)
A new article on CNN titled "Why women are leaving men for other women," investigates the growing phenomenon of women who've been with men all their lives suddenly (or seeming so) beginning to date other women. It particularly focuses on Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame, who dated a man for fifteen years and had two children with him. She's now seeing a woman.

The article attributes cases like this to "sexual fluidity," something that Kinsey found when implementing his scale in research: most people test as bisexual, but that doesn't mean that's how they identify. In addition to this, studies have found that said fluidity is more prevalent in women. A 2004 study showed straight and gay porn to separated groups of men and women. It found that women were sexually aroused while watching both gay and straight porn, but men were only turned on when watching porn associated with the sexuality they identified with.

In any event, it's a rather interesting article and deserves a read. You can find it here.

Fruit Salad! - FRIDAY

Log Cabin Republicans
Short film screening and discussion about those who identify as both politically conservative and queer.

Friday, April 24
12-1pm
LGBTQ Center (CC 235)

FREE PIZZA
Co-sponsored by MICA

Part of our Fruit Salad! discussion series about diversity in the queer community.

Gender Free Orgasm Workshop

TONIGHT! Thursday, April 23
7:30-9:30pm @ the Aula

Sponsored by CHOICE

Could it really be possible to have an orgasm with your clothes on and without touching yourself or being touched by anyone else?

Can you really reach ecstasy simply by breathing?

Can gender really be irrelevant when it comes to orgasm?

This evening we'll explore the unlimited, ungendered possibilities of orgasm, specifically, the vast range of orgasms that lie beyond those achieved by genital stimulation. Using Tantric and Taoist techniques to move sexual energy throughout the body, we will experience the playful, powerful and transformative power of breath and pleasure.

***Although this is a participatory workshop, there will be no nudity and you will not be asked to work with a partner.

Open Conference at Bard College

"Confronting the 'Race Doesn't Matter!' Moment: Rethinking Race after Obama"
Saturday, April 25
12-8pm @ Avery Auditorium (at Bard College)

Sponsored by the Multicultural Affairs Office, Anti-Racist Dialogue, and the Queer Straight Alliance at Bard. An intertwining focus of the conference will be surrounding questions of sexual identity and race. There will also be performances and entertainment after the conference.
Here is the schedule for the conference. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Julian Letton at jletton@gmail.com, who is a Bard student involved with the main planning and implementing of this conference.

Saturday, April 25

12-1pm - Reception (with complimentary lunch for conference attendees)

1-2:30pm - Keynote Speech and Q&A with Kendall Thomas, Director of the Columbia University Center for Law and Culture. (Thomas is a queer critical legal theorist with a specialty in race, feminism, and gender law)

2:30-3pm - coffee/cookie break

3-5pm - PANEL: Pop Culture, Politics, and the Personal: Confronting the "Race Doesn't Matter!" Moment. Panel members include: Kalup Linzy, DJ Rapture, Kendall Thomas, Baratunde Thurston, and Binyavanga Wainaina.

5-6pm - Dinner (requires complimentary conference ticket)

6-8pm - PANEL: Race After the "Post-Racial": De Factor vs. De Jure in Public Space (Law, History, Architecture) Panel members include Jesse Shipley, Tabetha Ewing, Ashwini Sukthankar, Michael Tan, and Mitch McEwen.

8pm - ? - After Conference Entertainment (Campus Center MPR)
with Kalup Linzy, DJ Rapture, Sienna Horton, and others

Mono/poly

Tuesday, April 21
6:00pm @ CC 237

FREE PIZZA! (with vegan options!)

Polyamory?
What is it?
But isn't that cheating?

A panel of speakers who identify as non-monogamous will speak about their views on and experiences with non-monogamous and polyamorous relationships of all kinds.

If They Know Just ONE of Us...

(Posted by Nick, '11)
So this week has been a little odd for me. A lot of things have been going down in my life, new developments happening every day. This week, my second cousin who's also my sister's godmother send me a Facebook message:

"No bullshit here goes. Are you gay or bi and do your folks know? Been dying for confirmation for a while, I don't care but am damn curious."

I responded with something along the lines of "uhm yeah I'm gay duh..." and we had a lovely conversation about how she somehow "knew" before I even did and whatnot... But that's not what's really interesting about this whole thing.

After one of her messages, her Facebook status changed to read: "_________ thinks the Catholic Church needs to get with the times. We need a change. And they wonder why people stop going!"

She'd never posted anything like this before, and this activist message made me think of the concept that Harvey Milk promoted while campaigning against Prop 6: if they know ONE of us, they're more likely to rally with us than rally against us. Life is full of surprises, no?

Happy sunny weekend!!
Nick

Day of Silence

Today is the National "Day of Silence," which is a student-led awareness campaign bringing attention to the silences faced by, and forced upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in schools.  Hopefully you saw some of our awareness campaign fliers around campus with some facts about ways that lgbt people are silenced both inside and outside of schools.  We will post those facts on the blog next week.  For today, here is an extensive explanation and history of the Day of Silence from their official website run by GLSEN:


The History of the Day of Silence®


Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

Here's a brief history.
 
1996 - The Day of Silence is born. Students organized the first Day of Silence, its original name, at the University of Virginia. With over 150 students participating, those involved felt it was a great success. The Day of Silence received extensive local press coverage and a positive response from the UVA community members, motivating Maria Pulzetti to take the Day of Silence nationally.

1997 - From one, to one hundred, National Day of Silence takes off With a web page and much dedication, Pulzetti and then 19-year-old Jessie Gilliam, developed the project to be used in schools across the country. It was renamed the National Day of Silence, and that year nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. Some schools in Australia heard about the project and modeled a similar day for Australian schools.

1998 - The Day keeps growing, the Project begins Pulzetti and Gilliam realized they could not expand the National Day of Silence alone, so they organized a team of regional coordinators who could assist schools better by working with and understanding local networks. Expanding from a one-day vow of silence to include additional actions and educational events, the Day of Silence was officially inaugurated. That year, for the first time in a recognized number, students in high schools joined the organizing efforts, helping double the number of participating schools to over 200.

1999-2001 - More people, more time, a message of unity sets in Through the sponsorship of Advocates for Youth, Gilliam worked part-time over the summer of 1999 to maintain and expand the Day of Silence. A first in the project's history, a team of volunteers met for a weekend in Boston to discuss strategy and develop future plans towards assisting schools. The Day of Silence continued to support high schools, colleges and universities around the country with volunteers led by then 18-year-old Chloe Palenchar, as the National Project Coordinator. Over 300 high schools participated that year.

2001 - GLSEN developed a proposal to become the official organizational sponsor of the Day of Silence and provide new funding, staff and volunteers. GLSEN developed a first-ever Leadership Team of high school students to support local high school organizers around the country and a partnership with the United States Student Association, to ensure colleges and universities receive equal support.

2002 - Making noise, making history In what has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools, the April 10th Day of Silence was organized by students in more than 1,900 schools across the country, with estimated participation of more than 100,000 students. Representative Eliot Engel introduces the first ever resolution on the Day of Silence in Congress, which received support of 29 co-signers; additionally, Governor Gray Davis of California issued an official proclamation making April 10, 2002 the National Day of Silence. Local Day of Silence® organizing efforts appear in over fifty media stories across the country, including USA Today, MSNBC, CNN, Voice of America and a live broadcast on NPR. Breaking the Silence rallies are organized with tremendous success in Albany, NY, Kalamazoo, MI, Missoula, MT, Ft. Lauderdale & Sarasota, FL, Eugene, OR, Boulder, CO and Washington DC, among other places.

2008 - Last year’s Day of Silence on April 25 was held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old eighth-grade student in Oxnard, California, was shot and killed by a 14-year-old classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. Hundreds of thousands of students at more than 8,000 schools participated. Their efforts were supported by hundreds of community-based "Breaking the Silence" events at the end of the day. Together, concerned students created a powerful call to action in order to prevent future tragedies. 

There are simple steps that all schools can take to make schools safer for all students, to end the endemic name-calling and harassment that LGBT students and their allies face every day. We need to act now so that Lawrence King and the countless others who endure anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment will not be forgotten, and so that we can create an enduring legacy of safer schools for all in their names. 

Students handed out "Speaking Cards" which said:

"Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in schools. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by name-callinmg, bullying and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?"

Last Chance for "Coming Out" Submissions!

The Closet Door
(a new publication from the LGBTQ Center)
A collection of personal stories by queer, questioning, and allied members of the Vassar community about life on all sides of the closet door.

Submit stories to jusilverstein@vassar.edu, or place in Box 555. Please specify if you'd like your story to be published anonymously. Any type of submission accepted - creativity encouraged!

Submissions are due by Friday, April 17, 2009.
Publication will be released in October, 2009.

Same-Sex Marriage Legislation Introduced in New York

New York's Governor, David Patterson, has announced today that he is re-introducing legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. This same bill was introduced by Elliot Spitzer in 2007, passed in the Assembly, but then died in the state senate. Since then, a democratic majority has taken over the State Senate, so there is hope that this time it will pass through that as well.

This would make New York the 5th state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the 2nd (after Vermont) to legalize it through legislation, rather than the court system.

Gay-Themed Play at Dutchess Community College

DCC's Performing Arts Program Presents:
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
A riveting play based on the actual court transcripts of Oscar Wilde's case, which led to Wilde's conviction and imprisonment on charges of "gross indecency" with his young male lover. This play was written by Moises Kaufman, who also wrote The Laramie Project.

April 16, 17, & 18 - 8pm
April 19 - 2pm


Hall Theater in Dutchess Hall at Dutchess Community College
53 Pendell Road, Poughkeepsie, NY
Tickets are $5 for any student, $10 for others - tickets are open seating and sold at the door a half hour before each performance.

QCVC Event this Thursday!

Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales
This one-man show is based on the oral histories collected in Johnson's book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South--An Oral History, published by the University of North Carolina Press. The oral histories are from black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South and range in age from 19 to 93. This performance covers the following topics: coming of age in the South, religion, sex, transgenderism, love stories, and coming out. The show tells of Chaz, a transgendered person who lives as a man on Sunday so he can sing in the church choir, but lives as a woman during the rest of the week; then there is Larry, whose early years of sexual experimentation is both humorous and disturbing; Freddie's story of being raised by parents who did not want his is heartbreaking, but also delivered with an ironic twist; Countess Vivian, the oldest narrator, recounts his life during the 1920s and the 1930s on the streets of New Orleans; and, Stephen, one of the youngest men, shares the moving story about being pressured to conform to a traditional notion of masculinity and enter a heterosexual relationship that produces a son. Johnson embodies these and others' stories in the show.

Thursday, April 16
8-10pm

Sanders Classroom 212 - Spitzer Auditorium

Intersex Tennis Player Cleared to Compete in Professional Tour

According to The Advocate, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) are allowing a 22-year old intersex woman to compete in an upcoming professional tennis tour. Sarah Gronert, from Germany, was born with both male and female characteristics. She had surgery when she was 19, and is legally a woman.

This is the first time a known intersex athlete is able to compete in this type of professional tour. Read the whole article here.

Job Opportunity for Fall 2009!

The Campus Life LGBTQ Center is looking for
a work-study student to be an LGBTQ Center Intern!
Job Description: This person will attend all LGBTQ Center staff meetings, work a weekly 4-hour shift welcoming whoever comes to the center, plan one program a semester, respond to community needs as necessary, and work on special projects as assigned. (8-10 hours a week total)

Required Skills: Willingness to collaborate on programs to address issues of equity and pluralism across the campus.

Qualifications: Reliable, comfortable, and interested in working with LGBT and Queer communities, able to greet and welcome everyone, willing to do hard work according to center rules, respecting the needs and limits of all the groups who use the center, including CARES – the student group addressing sexual assault and violence.

Contact: Julie Silverstein at jusilverstein@vassar.edu or x3521 by Wednesday, April 15 to schedule an interview!

Marriage Equality Overview

(Posted by Nick, '11)
Happy Friday!

This week, for my post I’d just like to review what a truly historic week it was in the fight for equal marriage rights for queer people!

Friday, April 3
Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, deeming unconstitutional a 1998 ruling that defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. Read about it here.

Tuesday, April 7
Vermont legislature overrides the governor’s veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. Read about it here.
AND
D.C. Council unanimously votes to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Read about it here.

Wednesday, April 8
New York governor says that he plans to re-introduce a bill to legalize gay marriage. Read about it here.

With all this happening in just ONE WEEK, it looks like 2009 will truly be a banner year in the fight for equal rights!
~Nick

ACT OUT Lobby Day for Marriage Equality in New York

(Posted by Tristan, '12)
First Iowa, Now Vermont… What about New York?

Iowa and Vermont have both legalized same-sex marriage in the past week, but New York still doesn’t have marriage equality. You can help change this!

ActOut is participating in the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Equality and Justice Day in Albany. We will be meeting with senators and doing lobbying as well has holding a rally and displaying our photo campaign for all to see (remember taking a picture with the “I Support Marriage Equality” sign?).

We will be going to Albany on Tuesday April 28th. The trip is completely free; lunch is even provided! The only thing is, we need to know for sure who’s going by Friday April 17th. So e-mail Clare at clciervo@vassar.edu for more info and a registration form or come see ActOut in the College Center Circle on Wednesday April 15th for food, fun, and more info!

Vermont Becomes First State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Legislatively!

*Breaking News*
The Vermont Senate voted this morning to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of the same-sex legislation that was passed within the past few weeks. This means Vermont will become the FOURTH state to legalize marriage (after MA, CT, and IA) and the FIRST to do so through the legislative process, rather than a decision by the state supreme court. This law will go into effect beginning September 1, 2009.

See the whole voting process that took place here:

Chay-chay-chaaaangggeeee

(posted by Nick, '11)
NEWSflash:

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has just redefined marriage!  Take a look at the pic below:
Notice the second definition?  They've finally resolved the fight over whether or not the word "marriage" should be applied to the union of same-sex couples in the same way it applies to that of opposite sex couples.  This is a big step for the dictionary, as the World Net Daily points out that the 1913 version of the dictionary not only didn't mention same-sex couples in its definition of "marriage," but also supplemented its entry with passages from the Bible.

My, how times have changed.
Have a wonderful weekend.
   ~Nick

Marriage Equality for Iowa!


Just this morning, the Iowa supreme court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.  This means Iowa joins Massachusetts and Connecticut to become the 3rd state to allow same-sex marriage!

Read more details here.

LGBT Issues of Importance within VSA Student Government

(Posted by guest blogger, Mary Catherine Halfpenny, '09)

VSA Elections are coming soon and I’d like to encourage the readers of this blog to consider running for a position on VSA Council. I’m currently a senior and the President of Strong House (yes I know a dyke in Strong House go figure). But, you have to realize that at first I was scared that I would be too stereotypical to win. When I was considering whether I should run, I was in the closet, and I was scared that by running for office I would be outed. I worried that the residents of my dorm would think twice before electing me because of the stereotype of Strong House being full of lesbians (and although the house has several, we also have genderqueer identifying, trans identifying and straight residents). I decided to give it a go anyway, and I was so comforted to know that when I came out to my house team they were very supportive and now I can’t believe I worried about it. Unfortunately, when I feel silly that I ever worried, I am also reminded of why I was scared in the first place: the first semester when Strong was hosting our first all campus party, the Misc BackPage calendar noted the partygoers should wear flannel!

Council deals with issues that impact all students, but recently several of the actions taken were related to LGBT issues, and that’s why I’m proud to be on Council. Two of the largest of these were gender-neutral housing and gender-neutral bathrooms, and since Council is seen by the administration as the voice of student opinion, Council advocated for these popular changes. Although Council knew they had the support of the entire VSA body, another challenge was tackled by Council when the letter to the Trustees was drafted and worrying about whether the terms used concerning gender would be interpreted as intended by a much older audience. Even though Vassar is a queer friendly space, we can do more to make it accepting—and there is more to do.

Currently, Transmission is seeking certification. Council approves organization certifications, and Transmission is being held up because of budget concerns. When the issue comes out of committee for approval by Council, I plan to voice strong support for the group because I believe it fills a void at Vassar and that the college should be doing more for trans issues.

So, basically, what I’m asking of all of you is to consider running for a Council position (VSA Exec, House President, Senior Housing President, or Class President) because the issues brought to Council affect all students, but LGBT students especially.

Think Before You Speak - TRANNY

Tranny
1. There was a time when all "tranny" referred to was a transistor radio. Now people use the phrase "hot tranny mess" to describe bad fashion choices, which is really offensive to people who identify as transgender.
2. So please, knock it off.
3. Learn more at ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

Did you Know?
LGBT students who experience high frequencies of verbal harassment are twice as likely as other LGBT students to skip school, and LGBT students who are frequently physically harassed report lower grades than other students (on average a 2.4 versus a 2.8 GPA).

Internship Opportunity for LGBT Students of Color

The Pipeline Project recruits new, diverse talent to work for and with LGBT organizations at staff and Board levels, including internships and entry-level positions. Our goal is to increase the number of people of color working with the nation's LGBT rights, services, and advocacy sector.

We will provide you with information on all types of internships: paid and unpaid, full-time and part-time. Internships are available for summer 2009, fall 2009, and for all of 2010. Applications are due by April 30, 2009. E-mail jusilverstein@vassar.edu for an Internship Interest Form to begin the application process. Possibilities for internship opportunities include, but are not limited to:

CenterLink (opportunities all over the country)
The Equality Federation Institute (opportunities in San Francisco and nationally)
Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (Boston)
In the Life Media (New York)
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (Boston)
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (San Francisco)

Think Before You Speak Campaign

(Posted by Nick, '11)
Hey all!

I hope you had a refreshing vacation full of vegging on the couch, watching bad horror movies, and winning radio contests! I know I did! ;)

ANYway, the month of March (or rather the two and a half weeks of March) is Think B4 You Speak awareness month at the Campus Life LGBTQ Center! You may have noticed the flyers with hateful, derogatory words and their definitions posted around campus. This is our way of calling out people who use those words, and those who stand by and let it happen. It’s a call for everyone to actively combat hate speech here at Vassar and wherever else life takes you.

We’ve adopted this campaign from the Ad Council because we feel that it’s an important topic in modern culture, where phrases like “that’s so gay” have become prevalent.

This Wednesday at noon, we’ll be having another Fruit Salad event – “Labels Are For Cans!” where we discuss we use in the queer community and how they have evolved. Feel free to drop by anytime from noon to 1:00 p.m. to contribute to our discussion, and to grab some free pizza!

Finally, be sure to check out the Think B4 You Speak official website, where you can catch some pretty awesome (and funny) videos, starring the likes of Wanda Sykes and Hilary Duff. Here's the Hilary Duff ad:

Fruit Salad! - WEDNESDAY!

Welcome back from Spring Break!! We have a very exciting Fruit Salad! discussion coming up this week. Here are the details:

"Labels are for Cans!"
A discussion about the words we use in the queer community and how they have evolved.
Wednesday, March 25
12-1pm @ LGBTQ Center (CC 235)

FREE PIZZA

Part of our Fruit Salad! series about diversity in the queer community.


Discussion led by Loghann Rimel, '10 and Sarah Conklin from the Counseling Center.

Think Before You Speak - HERMAPHRODITE

Hermaphrodite
1. An antiquated term used in a derogatory way for someone who is intersex. Does not refer to someone who is confused about their gender, was born "wrong," or is transgender.
2. So please, knock it off.
3. Learn more at ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

Did you Know?
Almost 90% of LGBT students are verbally harassed, 44% are physically harassed and nearly 1 in 4 are physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation. And 2/3 of LGBT students are verbally harassed, 30% are physically harassed and 14% are physically assaulted at school because of their gender expression.

Think Before You Speak - FAGGOT

Faggot
1. There was a time when the word "faggot" meant a bundle of sticks, but people started using it in an insulting, offensive way and things changed. So when you say things like "homo," "dyke" and "that's so gay" trying to be funny, remember, you may actually be hurting someone.
2. So please, knock it off.
3. Learn more at ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

Did You Know?
83.1% of LGBT students report that hearing "gay" or "queer" used in a negative manner at school causes them to feel bothered or distressed to some degree. Yet only 18% of LGBT students report that school personnel frequently intervene when hearing homophobic remarks and only 8% report that other students frequently intervene.

Another Vassar Student Highlighted


Casey Katims, a junior here at Vassar, is spending the semester in Washinton DC doing an internship with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Check out this link to see an interview of Casey on the HRC website. Keep up the great work, Casey!

Think Before You Speak - DYKE

Dyke
1. Be honest with yourself. You're not thinking of "an embankment that holds back and controls water." The problem is, words like "dyke" and "faggot" are so commonly used as insults these days, it's really hard to remember a time when they weren't.
2. So please, knock it off.
3. Learn more at ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

Did you Know?
54% of LGBT students often or frequently hear negative comments about their peers not acting "masculine" enough and 39% hear comments about their peers not acting "feminine" enough.

Study Abroad Opportunity - Explore Gay Paris

Faculty-Led Summer Session 2009

UW-La Crosse has partnered with CEA to offer you the opportunity to study abroad in Paris, France. Renowned for its intellectuals, artists, writers, and revolutionaries, Paris represents the perfect combination of tradition and modernity. Long known as a city for freedom and tolerance, Paris has become characterized over the past decade by its acceptance of the LGBT community. Discover the Marais district, the location of CEA's GlobalCampus in Paris and the heart of Gay Paris. You will live in an apartment with like-minded students, fully immersed in French culture.

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
Paris, the city of lights and host of the Gay Pride Parade & Festival that brings close to 750,000 people together in celebration every June - what better place to spend your summer and complete 6 credits of coursework (compare to 2 units at Vassar). As part of the program you will take the course W-S 250: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Studies taught by Sara Sullivan and William Van Roosenbeek from UW-L and earn 3 additional transfer credits (1 unit) by taking Gay Paris: Culture, Society & Urban Sexual Identity at CEA's GlobalCampus. Participating in this program will provide you with unique opportunities to explore Paris first-hang while earning course credit.

*Open to all students who are 18 or older, have completed one year of college, and have a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

For more information, or to apply visit this website or contact Willem Van Roosenbeeck at vanroose.will@uwlax.edu or Sara Sullivan at sullivan.sara@uwlax.edu