November 20, 2007

'Act Out' Speaks Out


Yesterday's "Empty Quad" post (http://madsvassar.blogspot.com/2007/11/empty-quad.html) sparked a discussion over homophobia at Vassar. Some students were offended by the Coming Out Week structure referred to as an "eyesore."

In a comment late last night, Julia Golomb, president of Act Out, sets the record straight:

This structure was constructed for a fire safety demo, which it was supposed to be used for sometime following coming out week - I'm not sure why they left it there for so long and didn't use it for the demo, and yeah, the box was ugly. Since it was there, QCVC and Act Out! decided to turn the box into a closet for National Coming Out Week [...]

Those of us who most need exposure to "the closet" are not the ones who would take a trip to Blegen to check it out - that's why it was in such a highly visible location [...]

Shouldn't we want to send the message to prospective students that Vassar is a welcoming environment? Just because glbt people are visible on campus does not mean that vassar is "over-run" with the gays.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

it was there for like a month with nothing related to tolerance or whatever on it. sitting in the quad. being ugly. i'm surprised the ROC didn't try to charge the quad dorms for its removal

Anonymous said...

omg its a fucking wooden box. deal.

Anonymous said...

Everything's such a big deal with these people. Silence is golden.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to take this school back from them. Which I know sounds stupid and harsh, but as a freshmen I think the sense of non-hetero people is way too strong. It makes me uncomfortable and not in an "oh look I'm learning diversity" way. Just uncomfortable in my own home. My friends were just talking about this the other day. Why can't Vassar be more like other schools like Cornell or Brown or Oberlin that aren't opressive or anything, the student bodies just aren't so overwhelmingly vocal about this adgenda.

Anonymous said...

once again you are all missing the point. if you don't like the gay community here, GO to Cornell, Oberlin or Brown. it is good that you are able to express your opinions, but there is no room for intolerance here. i do hope you and your buddies can find comfort here though, and maybe learn a little something about these "non-hetro people"

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment, re: "there is no room for intolerance here." I take issue with one thing tho - When you say that someone who is homophobic should go to another college, that implies that glbt is a core feature of THIS college, in the same way that a student might make a decision about whether or not to go to Columbia based on their core curriculum, or a decision to go to Smith because it's all female. This gets into a trickier area, because we're not advertising VC as an exclusively or especially gay school and we certainly should never do that, because that is even more exclusionary and idiotic. but so when a kid shows up on day one freshman year confronted by an unusually high number of flamboyant people (plus gays of our lives), is that fair? if she didn't expect or want to be? it could be argued from both sides.

Anonymous said...

vc needs straight men. And lots of them. i think it should be possible to be tolerant while still keeping diversity at least relatively proportional to society at large.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, "take the school back" from WHOM? the "non-hetero people"? Would you like to take the school back from "non-white people" while you're at it? Who ever said this was YOUR school in the first place?

Did you ever stop to think that perhaps the closet was not there to teach YOU diversity but rather to offer support to queer members of this school in the process of coming out?

After three months into your freshman year you feel comfortable enough here to call Vassar "your own home." I can't imagine that the closet caused you remotely as much discomfort as your homophobic desire to "take this school back from them" causes members of our community.

I won't even comment on the schools you wish Vassar to be more like beyond mentioning the fact that Cornell has the highest suicide rate in the country.

I am honestly shocked that this conversation has turned into an "us" against "them"--homophobic comments such as these show that the queer community, as well as straight allies, are clearly not vocal enough about "this agenda."

As much as I would like to post anonymously, it really upsets me how conversations such as this allow people to espouse homophic rhetoric without taking responsibility for their comments.
-Sophie Feintuch

Anonymous said...

Wow. I had no idea that there was this much hate at Vassar. Someone said they feel "uncomfortable in their own home"? Try being gay and hearing this said about you. That the school should be "taken back" from you. Then come back and talk about feeling uncomfortable in your own home.

Imagine people hating you for who you are. Just because you had green eyes, or were tall, or had curly hair. That's what it's like for me being gay and reading these posts.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 10:18

I genuinely hope bad things happen to you

assuming you were being serious

Anonymous said...

i completely agree with the comment above, how dare you, you ignorant freshman, say those things, it just shows the type of people vassar is now recruiting and how much more vocal and visible the lgbt community needs to be. vassar used to be a school where people were conscious, intelligent, and active individuals, and glbt issues were at the top of the agenda. it is so unbelievable to me that you say that the non-hetero people need to keep a lower profile, when this school is, in reality, overwhelmingly heternormative most of the time, it seems like you need to take a look at yourself and why you are so uncomfortable.. and especially why furthering silence and repression of all that is non-white and non-straight is your answer to these things, clearly you and your hateful words belong somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Clearly that wooden box did it's job if it's encouraging debate.

When you say "we need to take this school back from them," who is "we"? Straight people? As if to say the school is being unfairly controlled by "non-hetero people"? And what do you mean by "take back"? Move all of the undesirables off campus?

I'm all for open debate about homosexuality in our community and in the world in general, but comments like these are incendiary and hurtful rather than productive.

Zack Miller '10 said...

"I agree. Gays should be able to express themselves wherever they like, just like other students. They pay the same money to go here."

This "us" and "them" mentality is pretty confusing and childish. The post I quoted is one of the more harmless ones, but it still demonstrates the backwards viewpoint that a lot of my fellow breeders share in which glbt are an abnormal section of the populace. As long as people (hetero and glbt alike) continue to equate heterosexuality with normalcy, there will continue to be glbt who don't feel safe to share their sexuality with others. As long as this is true, and as long as straight people are weirded out by being forced to acknowledge diverse sexualities, we should have that closet up year round.

Anonymous said...

chill people, roll a j, be love

Anonymous said...

I am part of the problem. I am uncomfortably flamboyant and the oppressive nature of my sexuality is a crime against humanity. So gay. So "in touch with diversity."

I slept with an admissions officer at Brown. I totally love straight men, too. I also know that I'm biologically fit to "breed" and will someday have kids and be happily married.

But I'm certainly not going to apologize, and I'm certainly not going to let you take the school away from me. And I'm only going to get more overwhelmingly vocal.

Tolerance. Stupid and harsh?

Anonymous said...

Wait, so you slept with an admissions officer at Brown and you ended up at Vassar? Way to admit you're terrible at sex, hah.

Anonymous said...

I chose not to apply to Brown after all. Vassar was my first choice. I was still a Junior in HS still anyways. The point is - Brown is no less gay than Vassar and misinterpretations of fire safety demos should not stimulate homophobia.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst your bubble but telling everyone you slept with ONE person at Brown doesn't mean the school is very gay...unless you slept with the entire male population at Brown...or female, ya know.

Anonymous said...

This is so Vassar.

Tons and tons of people bitch about something said or expressed by a very small minority of the campus for the explicit purpose of bitching. Deal with it. You'll get judged regardless, and you write those people off as fucking stupid. Move on with your god damn lives.

Granted, if we were talking about homophobia in the context of, say, the country as a whole, I could understand where outcry over sentiments such as the one posted at 10:18 are coming from, but jesus christ, you could probably rub yourself down naked with peanut butter on the quad and few people would care.

Anonymous said...

I really hate this school sometimes......

Anonymous said...

i'm pretty sure that 11/21 9:43 just wanted to admit to someone that they slept with an admission's officer.

that doesn't say anything about being gay or straight... it's just so wrong on so many levels, let's get real.

Anonymous said...

Who wears the jackboots?

There is a gay "mafia" on Vassar's campus. They cry and scream "intolerance" or "homophobia" something is done that does not fall in line with their agenda, which is not tolerance -- the free speaking of minds of both parties -- but an oppressive "my way or no way" path. You cannot disagree with a homosexual or homosexuality without being labeled a homophobe. You cannot speak against a homosexual agenda -- even with something as slight as saying "get rid of the ugly box" without it being labeled intolerance. The sensitivity is too much. The price is being paid with political correctness, and that price is that the oppressed are the new defacto oppressors. But tolerance is conformity, right?

Anonymous said...

when something*.

Anonymous said...

I would not be surprised if they called for my expulsion if I had published these words under my name in the Miscellany. Such, after all, is tolerance.

Anonymous said...

the thing about the Brown admissions apparently happened in a Gossip girl book. Joking, lying, maybe?