Thursday, March 6, 2008

Oh, the Gays at Harvard

I was going to take some time (maybe like a week or two) before posting again, but reading this Fifteen Minutes article in The Crimson changed my mind. The subject of gay life at Harvard is particularly close to my heart, mostly because I spent a year and a half on the BGLTSA executive board, last semester as co-chair (go me!). Even though Boston's promise of an actual gay life was one of the deciding factors that convinced me to go to Harvard, during freshman year, I never participated in the BGLTSA or went to any of their events. In fact, I only ran for my publicity chair sophomore year because a good friend asked me to. But, I quickly became a devotee of the club and its mission, a result that has put me at odds with some gay students. I feel really strongly that the fracturing of the gay community into so many smaller clubs is not the best solution for our socialization problems. I believe that the BGLTSA, being the oldest, largest, and most recognized LGBT student organization, with its widely-worded mission, is best equipped to help bring gay students socialize, educate the straight community, and politically advocate for gay rights inside and out of Harvard.

I tend to agree with the article when it says most gay Harvard students who choose not to come out do so because they're so obsessed with their future. After all, gay business leaders, officeholders, and the other elites we hope to become some day are few and far between. We can't all be Tammy Baldwin. But I don't think that's a valid excuse anymore.

Personally, I think a lot of the closet cases who perennially gripe on Bored@Harvard about the BGLTSA types being "too gay" comes from deep-rooted jealousy that we have the balls to come out and they don't. I'm not saying that every gay has to subscribe to the BGLTSA list and come to all the events (though that would be phenomenal), but a little solidarity would be nice. We only make up a tiny part of the population, even at Harvard. We need to come together and stop self-segregating ourselves into the lesbians, the stereotypical white gay boy, etc. I, and so many gay friends, want to have an environment where we can meet the man, woman, or zemale (?) of our dreams. Sometimes, instead of dancing like there's no tomorrow (thanks Paula Abdul!), some of us want to take on the man, storm the Capitol, and run the rainbow up the flagpole. All I know is that staying together and talking out our differences, instead of walking away to start yet another student group, is the key to fulfilling all those dreams.

But we don't stay together. We let our inner divas come out in our open letters on the email lists instead of the dance floor, where they belong. Like the rest of Harvard, the gays suffer from too many chiefs and not enough indians. We all (myself included) want to be the head honcho, instead of reining in our sometimes-unbearable pride and egoism and work hard to get the job done. I get sad when I think of all the really great ideas that BGLTSA members have had that have died because we couldn't get enough people or interest to put them into action. I get angry when the walk-outs turn and criticize the Board for the deficiencies that their apathy and arrogance cause.

Fortunately, there is some hope, because Clayton, Michelle, and the rest of the BGLTSA board this semester are doing a really great job at trying to bring the community together and put on fun events. I hope they succeed and that I can go back to the gay Harvard I always wanted to go to.

1 comment:

Datura said...

Ya, I kinda feel the same way, espeically the party about solidarity.

How was your experience as Co-Chair? We should chat sometime about it all. Mine was 'interesting' to say the least.

Let's hope we both return the Harvard we wanted to go to!


p.s. you were gonna take a week or two to post your next one? lol :p