Archive for the ‘Yale University’ Category

Gay Pride Flag Vandalized

April 16, 2007

Yale Pride
A flag hung on Cross Campus to celebrate Pride Week at Yale was found desecrated Sunday, forcing students in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Cooperative at Yale to remove it.
The duct-tape lettering on the rainbow-colored flag — which the Co-op had hung on the Porter Gate between Berkeley and Calhoun colleges — was altered late Saturday night or early Sunday morning so that it read “Yale Gluttony,” instead of “Yale Pride,” LGBT Co-op coordinator Anna Wipfler ’09 said. She said the LGBT Co-op board has not yet decided on a definite response to the incident, but is likely to address the issue through dialogue and Wednesday’s “day of silence” rather than turn to the administration for help.
The desecration of the flag is part of an ongoing pattern of offensive and insensitive attempts at humor on campus that are made at the expense of minority groups, Wipfler said. As an example of the increasing incidence of inappropriate jokes, Wipfler pointed to a campus-wide e-mail condemning homosexuality as a sin that was sent out by a fictional group called the National Organization to Gain Acceptance for Your Sins — or N.O.G.A.Y.S. — during last October’s National Coming Out Day.
“It definitely feels like a repeat of the N.O.G.A.Y.S. deal from the fall, and it’s really sad to the LGBT Co-op board in particular because we thought we made it clear to folks that this kind of ‘humor’ is just not funny,” she said. “We spent a large part of our time last October getting over that, so to see it just happen again feels like an attack on us personally.”
In November, two sophomores in Jonathan Edwards College — Will Wilson ’09 and Matthew Brimer ’09 — apologized to the LGBT Co-op board for sending the e-mail and posting similar fliers around campus, saying their actions were intended as a joke.
Other recent incidents include jokes published in a few campus periodicals that made fun of various minority groups, including Asian-Americans. Although such actions have been intended as humorous, they are still hurtful to many members of those groups, LGBT Co-op Political Action Chair Hugh Baran ’09 said.
“I find it offensive because I’m sick of people making jokes at the expense of people’s identity,” he said. “I don’t think my queerness is something that should be a butt of someone’s joke all the time, in a way that is really hurtful and that is suggesting that my identify is in this case sinful.”
Baran said the alteration of the flag right before the beginning of Bulldog Days on Monday is particularly worrisome, since many queer pre-frosh might be discouraged from attending Yale if they saw the flag while visiting.
Although they are still deciding whether to approach University administrators about responding to the incident, Wipfler said, for now, Co-op members are devoting most of their energy to generating public discussion about issues relating to sexuality and gender identity on campus. The LGBT Co-op will use an evening rally after Wednesday’s day of silence — which was originally scheduled not as a response to any particular event, but as part of a nationwide campaign — to discuss the vandalism, she said.
“I think it will be less behind the scenes, less one-on-one talks, and more public reaction and discussion about how this keeps happening,” Wipfler said. “We’re going to go with public avenues of silence as protest, followed by public discussions, which everyone is welcome to come to.”
Baran said he does not know what response would be appropriate, but he thinks the administration has a responsibility to respond in a proactive manner to cases of “bigotry” on campus.
Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said she has not seen the defaced flag but is open to working with LGBT Co-op members if they approach her to talk about the issue. Taking down another group’s sign and altering it without informing anyone is a “cowardly” thing to do, she said.
“If somebody has some problem with what the gay pride people are doing, they have to come forward and talk about it openly and above-board,” Trachtenberg said. “Why they don’t want to identify themselves is beyond me.”
Wednesday’s day of silence is part of a two-week-long series of talks and other events meant to highlight queer issues on campus that began April 7.
from The Yale Daily News

Anti-Gay E-Mail Sent To Students

October 12, 2006

Gay CoupleYALE UNIVERSITY – An anonymous, apparently anti-gay e-mail and postering campaign blanketed parts of campus on Wednesday as Yale’s gay community celebrated National Coming Out Day.
The occasion, which was celebrated across the country, comes as the University moves forward in providing more institutional support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students. But the festivities were shadowed by the e-mail and corresponding flyers posted around campus that appeared to condemn homosexuality as a sin.
The e-mail, which appeared to have been sent from a Yale e-mail account, claimed to be sponsored by the National Organization to Gain Acceptance for Your Sins, whose acronym is N.O.G.A.Y.S. Information Technology Services officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday about whether the University is tracing the e-mail.
The early morning e-mail, sent under the alias “Yale LGBTTQQQQ … (et al.),” appeared to implicitly compare gays who come out to people who expose themselves as racists or Nazis. Flyers posted in areas including Cross Campus and the Yale post office had similar messages – one featured a picture of Sen. Joe Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 (D-Conn.) and suggested that he is “coming out” as a Republican. Another suggested that actor Mel Gibson is coming out as an anti-Semite.
“There’s no shame in being who you are,” the e-mail said. “Just remember, admitting it doesn’t make it right.”
Anna Wipfler ’09, the coordinator of the Yale LGBT Student Cooperative, said she hopes University officials can trace the e-mail back to its sender. She said such a show of intolerance is a reminder of why events like Coming Out Day are so important.
“There is still a reason we have this day,” she said, “Because people either treat homophobia as a joke that doesn’t need to be talked about or actually have problems with it.”
Yale College Dean Peter Salovey could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
On Old Campus, participants in the Coming Out Day festivities were unfazed by the e-mail, which organizers said was the exact kind of behavior the day hopes to discourage.
“It’s really just a celebration more than something more political,” Wipfler said. “It’s something to promote pride. We have a lot of people coming out as allies … it gives people the chance to show solidarity and support.”
By midday, more than 30 people had come to the Coming Out Day booth on Old Campus to have their picture taken as they walked through a symbolic, freestanding door that was set up for the celebration.
Wipfler said reaction to the celebration varied, with some students stopping by to pick up leaflets or candy while others did not pay the event much notice.
“There’s been a mix,” she said. “[Some] people are just a little bit confused. But I haven’t seen any outright fingers in the air, or hateful anything.”
Students at the Coming Out Day booth said that the day was meant to stress acceptance – regardless of whether a person is gay or straight.
“It celebrates the freedom to be yourself and to be unapologetic about it,” said Raj Persaud ’10, coordinator of the group Not-So-Straight Frosh.
Justin Ross ’07 said the controversial posters and e-mails directly attacked the celebration’s message that people can define themselves in any manner.
“[The Day] is about accepting diversity within our own community,” Ross said. “People come through this door and they proclaim themselves as anything, and that’s partly what the posters are making fun of in a way – because you can come out as whatever.”
Coming Out Day coincides with the Yale administration’s growing focus on issues relevant to the LGBTQ community, which had been lacking institutional support, students said, despite the University’s reputation as the “gay Ivy.”
Last month, the University appointed Maria Trumpler as a special adviser to the administration regarding LGBTQ issues. The appointment followed a report from the LGBTQ Needs Assessment Task Force last spring that said the University lacked ample support structures for gay students. In its meeting last month, the Yale Corporation approved the expansion of the University’s nondiscrimination policy to include “gender identity or expression.”
from The Yale Daily News / Thomas Kaplan