APRIL EVENTS CALENDAR
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT MADE IT OUT: SPRING'S COMMUNITY MEETINGS
What's got green lambdas, black triangles, purple "prides" and little rainbows? No, not Lucky Charms. Not even Fruit Loops (although you 'are' getting closer...). The aforementioned symbols were some of those used at the Community Meeting in January to designate small discussion groups into which 40 participants were divided. Under the direction of Joellynn K. Monahan, counselor and acting director of the Women's Center at Princeton University, each group grappled with what kind of a lesbigay community they'd like to help create at Columbia. The result? The rainbow group emphasized social and interpersonal concerns such as inclusivity, openness, and trust, suggesting that a prime challenge was to "make the University accept [us] without embarrassment." The pink triangles recommended that we recognize differences while emphasizing similarities and keeping in mind that "not everyone wants a group." The black triangles suggested that the Community draft a statement of purpose. Other topics covered included the challenge of constructing a community in the middle of New York City, speculation on why some lesbigay groups seem to thrive while others languish, and the need for opportunities for plain old "babe-hunting." The March meeting featured a roundtable discussion on homophobia and heterosexism chaired by Stephen Davis. Steve van Leeuwen, Annie Barry, Ken Harlin, and James Crapotta offered personal insights. Lynne Bejoian, the University's Director of Student Affairs, suggested that the Americans with Disabilities Act may provide an avenue of redress when individuals are victimized because others assume that they are HIV-positive or have AIDS. The federal law, she noted, prohibits discrimination not only on the basis of disability but also on the perception of disability. For more information, contact Bejoian at 854-2388. Marsha Wagner, the University's Ombuds Officer, reported that of the 27 homophobic incidents her office has logged during the academic year, 18 involved public situations, such as defaced posters and shouted epithets. The rest involved interpersonal situations such as an individual believing she or he was passed over for a job promotion because of homophobia. Wagner can be reached at 854-1234 (email@example.com). - Ray Smith
HISPANIC GAY & LESBIAN ISSUES
What we in the United States know as the Gay Movement is not as visible in Spain or Latin America. Hispanics are much more reluctant to self-identify as gay or lesbian. Gay liberation movements in the Hispanic world are much less present and less well organized than here. Indeed, many Hispanics perceive the gay liberation movement as an Anglo-American phenomenon, something imported and grafted onto indigenous Hispanic cultures. Hispanic cultures perceive sexuality as something that is of the private and not of the public sphere. Homosexual acts and inclinations may be privately acknowledged, but rarely spoken about. A degree of closeting is endemic to these communities. Indeed, there is no Hispanic equivalent for the term "to come out." In all but the most modern, foreign-influenced, trendy urban centers--Barcelona is the one with which I am most familiar--the family and, particularly in smaller rural areas, the community, are the groups with which the homosexual most clearly identifies. I use "homosexual" advisedly, since what we consider lesbian and gay identities are in many ways not applicable to many areas of these cultures. The notion of one's sexuality as an essential marker of identity is in many ways erased by the identification with a community in which heterosexism rules. Traditionally, those homosexual men who have publicly assumed their homosexuality have tended to self-identify with and be identified as women. The "marica," the "loca," the fairy, the pansy have, curiously, been allowed a certain leeway in Hispanic societies because, as "women," they are seen as powerless and as nonthreatening to masculinity. Rural villages in Andaluca have often accepted the equivalent of the village fairy within the community--he/she is of use to the community, doing "women's work" (sewing, mending, cooking) and serving as a sexual release for the men in the fields. In Jose Donoso's "El lugar sin limites" ("Hell Has No Limits") we find an example of the village fairy who identifies totally as a woman and is tolerated because he/she is a source of entertainment and ridicule when the men need to assert their machismo from time to time. Molina in Manuel Puig's "El beso de la mujer arana" ("The Kiss of the Spider Woman") is another example. On the other hand, the masculine homosexual (the "maricon" in Spain), is perceived as more of a threat and as more dangerous to society because he is a "real man," could want sex from another "real man," and disturbs the heterosexual man's notion of what it means to be masculine. In the United States we tend to label anyone who has a sexual encounter with someone of his or her own sex as gay, lesbian, or homosexual. In the Hispanic world the marker is the role one takes in the sexual act and not the gender of the sexual partner. That is, the partner who takes the passive position and is penetrated, is deemed the woman, the lesser partner, the one who is dominated. The active partner, the one who takes charge and penetrates is deemed the man, the one in control, the one who dominates. Thus, a man who penetrates another man is still considered, and still considers himself, a man, and a heterosexual man. The first gay march in Barcelona, in 1976, was a movement led by maricas and transvestites. The macho clones, the "virile" homosexuals who modeled themselves on the more masculine-acting United States gays, stayed on the sidelines. Gay liberation has not necessarily been a liberation for all and it has not totally liberated the minds of gay men. Lesbianism in Hispanic societies is rarely acknowledged, but lesbian theory can be found in some feminist tracts by authors such as Lidia Falcon. We are including lesbian writers in the course I teach at Barnard, "Reading for Difference: Lesbian and Gay Themes in Hispanic Literature and Film." But, curiously enough, the writings rarely celebrate lesbianism as a lifestyle or identity that is fully assumed in a native Hispanic context. Perhaps our movement is not the ideal one for the Hispanic world. Perhaps, instead, its less-essentialist concept of homosexuality, one in which 'being' gay or lesbian is replaced by the notion of a society where sexuality is only part of one's identity--and not the defining factor of that identity--might actually be more liberating for queer men and women in this country. - James Crapotta
NO SMALL TASK: PUTTING US INTO THE CURRICULUM
The curriculum committee of GABLES is currently investigating various ways and means to introduce into the curriculum of Columbia more material dealing with lesbian, bisexual, and gay issues.
"THE LAST BRUNCH": A REVIEW
The comedy troupe now appearing at the Courtyard Playhouse calls itself "Loud Blouse," but they might just as well be Outrageous Wig, Stiletto Heel, Padded Bra, or even, yes, Giant Vagina. Furiously changing costumes and shifting gears, the five players use the 120 minutes of their new show, "The Last Brunch," to send up fag hags, Magic Earring Ken, Doris Day, gays in the military, life-threatening head injuries, Mary Magdalene, and Julio and Marisol of subway advertising fame. Along the way you can call the Anxiety Hotline, get advice from Our Bodies Ourselves, check out the new line of Barbie dolls for the 90s and see the Apostles do the conga. But what I still want to know is whether the backup singers for drag queen Hedda Lettuce get equity wages. If all this seems intriguing, if jumbled, you've got the spirit of Loud Blouse. Indeed, it must have been a slow night when the "New York Post" called the group "'Forbidden Broadway' in a head-on crash with Kids In The Hall." The show is performed on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:30 pm at the Courtyard Playhouse, 39 Grove Street. Admission is $10. For reservations, call 330-7601. - Ray Smith
COLUMBIA GAY SITCOM?
For those who've been wondering, the gay cable soap opera Sixth Floor Harrison is not based on or produced at Columbia, although exterior campus scenes were shot on campus walk last September. Still, the show is a fun reflection on college gay life and well worth a watch. Revolving around ten guys (mostly gay) on the sixth floor of Harrison Hall at an unspecified midwestern college, the 13-part series features lots of romance and intrigue without getting pornographic. "We're just trying to say that gays are people too," says producer/director Sam Tallerico. "Sixth Floor Harrison isn't about coming out or about AIDS, which just about every other show on TV about gay people is. There are no gay characters on the ten daytime soaps, and the character on Melrose Place hardly ever does anything.... So, we just want to let the networks know that you can show two guys kissing on television and not have people go crazy." You can check it out for yourself at 10:30 pm on Friday nights on Channel 16 on both Paragon and Manhattan Cable. The entire series will be rerun starting April 15. - Ray Smith
* GLIB (Gays and Lesbians in Business) has begun building a file with information about sexual orientation issues at a number of major employers and a listing of Columbia lesbigay alums working at various corporations. The GLIB file can be viewed by any Columbia student at the Business School's Career Resource Center in the mezzanine of Uris Hall. GLIB can be reached by contacting the Business School's Office of Student Activities at 854-5563. * Work is underway on the next edition of the "Columbia ALmanac of Information Pertaining to Sexual Orientation" (CALIPSO). We'd appreciate hearing from anyone who has new or updated information, would like to help with writing or editing, is interested in doing artwork, or could help with production. Please contact Ray Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. * GALLSA (Gay and Lesbian Law Students Association) is having a fund-raising party for the Stonewall Scholarship, presented to a law student committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, on Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 pm in the Case Lounge at the Law School. A $30 contribution to the scholarship is requested. Professor Kendall Thomas will make opening remarks. RSVP to Scott Ulrey at 678-2177. * Kate Wissman asks for vignettes: I am working on an essay describing how lesbigay civil rights legislation can help change the negative messages lesbigays receive and how it could therefore help prevent lesbigay teen suicide and addiction. I would like to discuss this issue via e-mail (email@example.com) or in person (854-7303)--your thoughts, personal feelings, stories, statistics. Anonymity and confidentiality assured if you wish. * The LBGC is sponsoring research prizes for queer scholarship in the humanities and social sciences for undergraduates at CC, BC, and GS. We will offer $175 and a plaque for the first prize and $75 and a medal for the second prize. Each prize will be available for a male and a female. The recommended length is 15 to 25 pages (senior theses may exceed this length). Deadline: April 29, 2 pm. Pick up a written application from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender in 763 Schermerhorn Extension and return it there with four copies of your paper (without your name). There will be a reception to honor the queer researchers on May 6. If you have any questions, please call 854-1488, firstname.lastname@example.org. * To graduate students: We need someone to take responsibility for convening meetings and coordinating social events for the scores of lesbigay graduate students at Columbia. Contact John Higgins at email@example.com. ______________________________________________________________________ | Congratulations! | | | | To Bill and Joe on their registering as Domestic Partners on | | Tuesday, March 1, 1994. After 15 years of "living in sin," you've | | finally (been allowed) to make honest men of each other. | | Continued love and happiness! | | From your fellow 'SAS'y boys | |____________________________________________________________________|
COMMUNITY NEWS Volume 1, Number 7 April 1994
"Community News" is produced monthly during the academic year by men and women of Columbia University's lesbian, bisexual, and gay community. We thank GABLES-CU and the Office of Campus Programs for providing financial and moral support. Coordinator Dwight Childers 854-4572 firstname.lastname@example.org Articles Editor E. R. Shipp 862-4527 email@example.com Events Editor John Rash 678-3779 firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Steven van Leeuwen 854-3078 email@example.com Production Nuala Hallinan 854-5644 firstname.lastname@example.org Beth E. Stryker 854-2514 email@example.com Nurturer Ken Harlin 854-1501 firstname.lastname@example.org Guiding Spirit Stephen Davis 854-4744 email@example.com "Community News" is distributed at various public University locations including Campus Programs (305 Low), via a mailing list (854-3078; firstname.lastname@example.org), and on ColumbiaNet in the Community Interest menu (for help in connecting call the AcIS Help Line, 854-4854, 9-5, M-F).
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Last revision: 05/01/02