COMMUNITY NEWS Volume 1, Number 2
October 1993

           COMMUNITY NEWS  Volume 1, Number 2  October 1993

        A Newsletter for the lesbian, bisexual, and gay community
          and supporters at Columbia University and Affiliates
BISEXUAL, GAY, & LESBIAN AWARENESS DAYS (BGLAD), OCTOBER 9-17 Don't miss the first ever Columbia University BGLAD--Bisexual, Gay, & Lesbian Awareness Days, a week-long celebration of lesbigay events on campus. BGLAD is being held in conjunction with National Coming Out Day and is sponsored by a coalition of Columbia student, staff, and faculty, and lesbian, bisexual, and other gay organizations. Some events are still being planned. Watch for posters! Volunteers are still needed: contact Sarah Chinn at (718) 789-2073. 9 (Saturday) QUEER CARNIVAL: kissing booth, condom toss, fortune telling, safer-sex favors, and informational tables from lesbigay organizations and bookstores from Columbia and throughout the City. 12 -4 pm, Low Plaza. 10 (Sunday) LESBIGAY BRUNCH: Open to all members of the CU lesbigay community. Fabulous cuisine, fabulous company! 12 noon, Schiff Room, Earl Hall. RSVP by Oct 6 to Ken Harlin at 854-1501. 10 (Sunday) INTERFAITH PANEL: Representatives from six religious traditions to discuss lesbigay issues. 2 pm, James Room, 414 Barnard Hall. 11 (Monday) NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY: Rally on Low Plaza. Invited guests as well as members of various Columbia communities will speak. 12 noon. 11 (Monday) "QUEER AT COLUMBIA": A panel discussion on being out at Columbia. Students, administrators, and members of the CU lesbigay mentoring project will speak. 8 pm, Schiff room, Earl Hall. 12 (Tuesday) "SAFE IS DESIRE," an "On Our Backs" production. A film and talk on safer sex for lesbians. Cosponsored by GMHC's Women's Health Project. 8 pm, 501 Schermerhorn. 13 (Wednesday) "WHAT LESBIGAYS NEED AND WANT FROM THEIR STRAIGHT FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES": An important presentation for supportive straight members of the Columbia Community, covering civility, homophobia, health issues, legal issues, and curricular reform. All are invited. Optional workshop follows. 8 pm, 308 Lewisohn. 14 (Thursday) QUEER COFFEEHOUSE: Featuring lesbigay talent from Columbia and around the world. 9 pm, Lower Level McIntosh (Barnard). 15 (Friday) "DEAD BOYS CLUB" film. A young gay man gets to relive the excitement of the outrageous 1970's when he inherits a pair of disco shoes. Cosponsored by CGHAP. Time and location to be announced. 17 (Sunday) LBGC MEETING: COMING OUT STORIES. LBGC members old and new can share coming out stories and concerns. 8:00 pm, 303 Earl Hall? OTHER OCTOBER EVENTS 1 (Friday) LBGC'S FIRST FRIDAY DANCE. 10-2 am, Earl Hall. 7 (Thursday) "LESBIANS AS CRIMINALS" CU Seminar on Homosexualities. Ruthann Robson. CUNY Law School at Queens College. 7:30 pm, 1512 SIPA. For more information, call Eugene Rice at 854-3657. 8 (Friday) LGSG: READING GAYLE RUBIN'S "THINKING SEX" COLLOQUIUM. 4 pm, 754 Schermerhorn. 21 (Thursday) GABLES MEETING 5-7 pm. Location to be announced. 22 (Friday) LGSG: FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION OF "LAST CALL AT MAUDE'S." 4 pm, 754 Schermerhorn. _____________________________________________________________ | LBGC - Columbia-Barnard Lesbian Bisexual Gay Coalition | | LGSG - Lesbian and Gay Studies Group | | GABLES - Gay, Bisexual, & Lesbian Employees & Supporters | | CGHAP - Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Project | | GMHC - Gay Men's Health Crisis | |___________________________________________________________| BULLETIN BOARD * The monthly Lesbigay Community Meeting will not be held this month. Next Community Meeting will be November 11. * Gay and Lesbian Law Students Association (GALLSA): Look for an upcoming fundraising event for the Stonewall Scholarship for a gay or lesbian law student. For more information, contact Scott Ulrey at (212) 678-2177. * Gays and Lesbians in Business (GLIB): If you are a Business student, you may wish to leave a note for GLIB in the Student Activities Office, 113 Uris Hall. They will arrange to have someone get back to you. * Lambda Health Alliance (LHA): Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 6:00 pm in the Black Building, Room 2-234. Call (212) 928-4330 if you have any questions about the LHA, or for general information about the lesbian and gay environment at the Health Sciences Campus.


Last June trustees of the University approved the extension of health benefits to partners and families of lesbian and gay employees--a move that could put Columbia in the forefront of such reforms among academic institutions. Officials hope that coverage will begin as soon as January. But in the meantime they must satisfy requirements imposed by the New York State Insurance Department before the plan becomes effective. Stay tuned. We hope to have more to report in next month's edition of "Community News."


The Herculean struggle waged by the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) for inclusion in New York's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue is now well known. But the fight is not over: on November 1st, up to 170 men and women-- members of ILGO and sympathizers--are scheduled to go on trial for defying a court order that prohibited them from even setting foot on Fifth Avenue during the parade last March. More than 200 people were originally charged with such offenses as criminal contempt, but a number of them have already settled their cases and agreed to perform community service. Among those who have settled is Annie Barry, the administrator for the Department of Religion at Columbia and a primary organizer of the lesbigay community here. Barry suggests that anyone wanting to show support for ILGO should attend the trial, now scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Part 7 on the fifth floor of the courthouse at 100 Centre Street, and should also write letters to ILGO, Mayor Dinkins (Office of the Mayor, New York, NY 10007), and other city officials. A letter of support to the Mayor was signed by 40 members of the CU lesbigay community in April. ILGO, whose address is The Center, 208 W. 13th St., NYC, NY 10011, has a hotline for updates on the legal fight: (212) 967- 7711, ext. 3078.


      Toni Eng does not think of herself as being radical--except when 
      it comes to her sexuality. Eng is bisexual, one among many largely 
      undeclared and invisible men and women within the lesbigay 
      community at Columbia. Since she fell in love with "a wonderful 
      woman," Eng, a Columbia College junior, has learned what so many 
      bisexuals have long known: to many, they are suspect. "Even within 
      the lesbigay community you have to watch out because there is 
      hostility towards bisexuals," she says. And among lesbians, 
      especially, "there is a certain resentment."

      Many people demand that bisexuals make a choice: gay, lesbian, or 
      straight. "There's a whole legitimacy aspect that you get from 
      both the lesbigay community and the straight community, and in 
      many ways they have lots more in common with each other than they 
      do with us," Eng says. What they refuse to recognize, she has 
      discovered, is this: "Beyond just loving someone of the same sex, 
      bisexuality is loving someone regardless of sex. It's just loving 
      somebody. So it's taking intimacy away from gender, which is in 
      many ways much more radical than the gay worldview."

      Bookstores like Oscar Wilde's refuse to cater to bisexuals, and 
      academic institutes such as N.Y.U.'s Center for Gay and Lesbian 
      Studies "don't mention the 'B' word," according to Brenda Howard, 
      a bisexual woman whose activism dates back to Stonewall. Existing 
      Columbia groups pay lip service to inclusion--even the very name 
      "lesbigay community" has bisexuals at its center--but there is 
      little acknowledgement beyond that. Eng and other Columbia 
      bisexuals have turned to the Bisexual Network (BiNet), which 
      comprises dozens of city organizations that regularly meet at the 
      Gay and Lesbian Community Center at 208 W. 13th Street. Howard, 
      who coordinates BiNet, said that since 1987 bisexuals have been 
      demanding a greater voice in the lesbian and gay coalition. And 
      women, who she said are much more open about being bi, are taking 
      the lead in that movement nationally.

      Eng, who a year or so ago would have considered herself 
      apolitical, is anything but that now. She is helping BiNet and 
      Mayor Dinkins's office put together a citywide conference on 
      bisexuality, slated for October 16th. And, she is working with 
      BiNet to launch a cable television show, also in October. "People 
      need to change their ideology about human relationships," she 

      For more information on the October 16 conference--or just to say, 
      "Hi, I'm bi"--contact Eng through E-mail ( For 
      more information on bisexual groups that meet at the Center, call 
      (212) 459-4784.

                                                            - E.R. Shipp


      In recent years the AIDS epidemic has all too often been cast as a 
      medical thriller of sorts, with valiant scientists in white coats 
      using microscopes and centrifuges to thwart a dangerous and 
      elusive virus. Far less heralded has been the painstaking research 
      done at places like Columbia's HIV Center for Clinical and 
      Behavioral Studies, where 150 dedicated men and women deal with 
      real, unpredictable people and the messy details of sex and 
      illness. For them, until there is a cure, the focus must be on 

      It's been that way since the founding of the center, which 
      operates at the Columbia Health Sciences Campus under the auspices 
      of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the New York State 
      Psychiatric Institute. The collaborative efforts of a university, 
      a medical center and a psychiatric institute have encouraged 
      multi-disciplinary studies involving over a dozen clinical and 
      research fields, including psychiatry, neurology, 
      obstetrics/gynecology and epidemiology. In addition to studying 
      the core high-risk groups--gay men and intravenous drug users--the 
      HIV Center has also sought to examine transmission, adjustment, 
      and treatment in such less-studied groups as women and 

      Focus groups have been designed to shed light on the prevalence of 
      heterosexual anal intercourse and on the impact of sexual identity 
      on men who, as the active or "top" partners in homosexual anal 
      sex, do not consider themselves gay. Longer-term studies have 
      included bereavement among children who have lost parents to AIDS, 
      high-risk sexual behavior among the mentally-ill homeless and the 
      persistence of unsafe sex practices in gay male couples where one 
      partner is HIV positive. AIDS prevention programs have been 
      designed for girls in therapy for depression and for runaway and 
      gay youth at the Hetrick Martin Institute and in New York City 

      Later this fall a new study will focus on the relationship between 
      coming out and high-risk sexual behaviors. Using questionnaires to 
      measure the relationship between one's comfort with sexual 
      identity and the trauma involved in coming out, the HIV Center 
      hopes to create a basis for future clinical interventions among 
      lesbian and gay youths.

      Because, until there's a cure....

                                                             - Ray Smith


      Several weeks ago--on the 30th anniversary of the historic March 
      on Washington and Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech before 
      250,000 people--Torie Osborn of the National Gay and Lesbian Task 
      Force looked out upon a considerably smaller gathering at the 
      Lincoln Memorial. "I bring you greetings from the latest great 
      civil-rights movement," she declared.

      Osborn and the gay man she introduced spoke near the close of the 
      rally, when barely a handful of people remained in the sweltering 
      heat. But they had been invited. And in that symbolic gesture 
      Kendall Thomas, a Columbia law professor who is gay and black, 
      sees reason for encouragement.

      After all, throughout the summer--and largely because of 
      comparisons being made between the military's resistance to 
      homosexuals today and blacks 50 years ago--blacks were embroiled 
      in a debate particularly painful to black lesbigays. The question: 
      what to do about lesbigays who insist upon inclusion on the civil-
      rights agenda of the 1990s. Much of the rhetoric assumed that all 
      lesbigays are white, all blacks are straight, and all civil-rights 
      fall within the purview of the nearly 400-year-old black struggle.

      "The similarities in the historical experience of African 
      Americans and people of color generally and gay men and lesbians, 
      many of whom are people of color, seem to me undeniable," Thomas 
      said recently over breakfast at Camille's. And Thomas, a 
      constitutional law scholar, an AIDS activist, and an occasional 
      pianist for a Harlem church, is using his unique position to 
      bridge the gulf between the traditional civil-rights movement and 
      the predominantly white lesbigay movement.

      "When all is said and done, there is a relationship amongst 
      racism, sexism, and heterosexism, whose consequences is that no 
      struggle against any one of those ideologies is going to be 
      effective without a struggle against them all," he said.

      This is a theme about which Thomas teaches and writes. As he sees 
      it, the civil-rights leaders in this country have taken a highly 
      moralistic stance to combat "the mobilization of sexual ideology, 
      sexual images and the like to defend the racist status quo." 
      Keeping lesbigays out means protecting themselves against "the 
      emergence of these sexual stereotypes."

      Thomas, who is completing a book this fall on the issue of sexual 
      racism, says the price for inclusion in the traditional civil-
      rights movement has been too high: a denial of sexual identity and 
      of gender. This in turn has turned off countless lesbigays of 
      color "who are simply unwilling to commit a kind of spiritual 
      suicide in order to be accepted."

      "I think it's time for African Americans and other people of color 
      to insist on the right of being sexual," he said. "That, it seems 
      to me, is a legitimate part of the antiracist agenda, and I think 
      it's one of the lessons that the gay and lesbian rights movement 
      can offer to the antiracist movement."

                                                            - E.R. Shipp


Dominick Moro, director of CU Security, sent the following memo to all vice presidents, deans, directors, department chairpersons and department administrators. DATE: August 16, 1993 SUBJECT: Bias Incidents In the past few months complaints of anti-gay graffiti and the unauthorized removal of gay oriented posters have been reported throughout the University. Incidents of this type have no place in our society and certainly not in a close University environment. Incidents reflecting an illegal bias, including racial, religious, ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation should be properly addressed and appropriate action taken. Individuals are encouraged to report bias incidents to University Security. In all cases when incidents of this type come to the attention of a member of the Security Department, a full investigation will be conducted, reports prepared, and prompt notifications made to interested parties. To report an incident call 854-2796.

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