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The Dartmouth
April 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth, as a whole, is supportive of gays

To the Editor:

In response to recent publicity surrounding the "rash of homophobic activity" at the College, I would like to attempt to place these events in perspective. While any manifestation of homophobia is upsetting, and while these incidents are particularly disturbing due to their severity and persistence, it is important to remember that the Dartmouth community has become highly supportive of its gay, lesbian and bisexual (g/l/b) members. This growing support is evident on a policy level. It is also reflected in the College's allocation of resources to support g/l/b students. More important, however, is the growing supportiveness of the student body.

Case in point: On National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), students in the Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance distributed 500 rainbow flag stickers to their peers in just over an hour. All day, I was surprised and delighted to see a wide range of students -- gay and straight alike -- wearing these stickers on their shirts and book-bags. Moreover, 500 stickers were not enough to saturate the campus, for I heard from several students who were disappointed that they did not get stickers before the supply ran out. When I first arrived here in 1990, this would have been unthinkable. Yet today, it appears that a growing majority of Dartmouth students are supportive of their g/l/b peers.

My point is not to deny the seriousness of these recent incidents. Nor do I wish to suggest that homophobia is no longer a concern at Dartmouth. (Clearly, we continue to have a significant problem here, and the College needs to do more to combat homophobia and to ensure the security of its g/l/b students. I hope that these events can serve as a catalyst in that regard.) Rather, my desire is to suggest that we not allow the behavior of a few anonymous students to intimidate or discourage us. Our progress over the past several years has been phenomenal. We should take heart at these gains, and we should continue our important work, undaunted by the antics of a shrinking fringe.

In closing, I would like to call upon straight allies to speak up on behalf of their g/l/b peers. At times like these, silence is often interpreted as acceptance of homophobia. Therefore, do not be silent. Vocalize your support directly to someone you know. Write a letter to The Dartmouth. Have the courage to voice your objection to an off-hand homophobic remark. Hang a "Gay Friendly Space" sticker on your door or in your room (blitz me and I'll send you one). However you choose to do it, help let Dartmouth know that anonymous homophobes speak for only a dwindling fraction of our community.