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
LGBTQ Center (CC 235)

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, 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


Tuesday, April 21
6:00pm @ CC 237

FREE PIZZA! (with vegan options!)

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!!

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, 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

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 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.
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!

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 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:


(posted by Nick, '11)

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.

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.