Difference between revisions of "Queer Student Union"

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'''Meetings are Tuesday nights at 8 P. M. in Hardy House.  All are welcome, and there are frequently snacks.'''
'''Meetings are Tuesday nights at 8 P. M. in Hardy House.  All are welcome, and there are frequently snacks.'''
The current 2010-2011 board consists of Michael Semensi '12 and Gabrielle Joffe '11 (co-chairs), Carrie Tribble '13 (MinCo Rep), Veronica Rabelo '11 (Treasurer), Rhianna Alyxander '13 and Kate Flanagan '14 (Co-Social Coordinators), Jonathan Schmeling '12 (Publicity Coordinator), Rachel Nguyen '14 (First-year Rep.), Gulya Radjapova '14 (Secretary).   
The current 2010-2011 board consists of Michael Semensi '12 and Gabrielle Joffe '11 (co-chairs), Carrie Tribble '13 (MinCo Rep), Veronica Rabelo '11 (Treasurer), Rhianna Alyxander '13 and Kate Flanagan '14 (Co-Social Coordinators), Jonathan Schmeling '12 (Publicity Coordinator), Christopher Holland '11 (Political Education Coordinator), Rachel Nguyen '14 (First-year Rep.), Gulya Radjapova '14 (Secretary).   
Check out their [http://mcc.williams.edu/?page_id=38 website] under the Multicultural Center and their independent [http://queer.williams.edu website] for all things LGBTQ related on campus.
Check out their [http://mcc.williams.edu/?page_id=38 website] under the Multicultural Center and their independent [http://queer.williams.edu website] for all things LGBTQ related on campus.

Revision as of 09:52, March 11, 2011


Queer Student Union
Type of groupCommunity Building, Activism, Social Outreach, General Education
Meeting timeTuesdays at 8 P. M.
Meeting placeHardy House (Morely Circle)
Established1976 (Williams Gay Support Organization)

The MinCo-affiliated group of LGBTQ and allied students that organize events, speakers, and discussions that both promote awareness of queer issues and develop a queer and allied community. Especially known for putting on all-campus events during Coming Out Days (October) and Queer Pride Days (April) including Queer Bash.

Meetings are Tuesday nights at 8 P. M. in Hardy House. All are welcome, and there are frequently snacks.

The current 2010-2011 board consists of Michael Semensi '12 and Gabrielle Joffe '11 (co-chairs), Carrie Tribble '13 (MinCo Rep), Veronica Rabelo '11 (Treasurer), Rhianna Alyxander '13 and Kate Flanagan '14 (Co-Social Coordinators), Jonathan Schmeling '12 (Publicity Coordinator), Christopher Holland '11 (Political Education Coordinator), Rachel Nguyen '14 (First-year Rep.), Gulya Radjapova '14 (Secretary).

Check out their website under the Multicultural Center and their independent website for all things LGBTQ related on campus.

Mission Statement

The Queer Student Union is a group of students who share a common interest in participating in and protecting the queer experience at Williams College. We are advocates for the queer perspective and we work to ensure that the presence and voices of queer students are recognized and respected at Williams. We serve a political function, as activists working to transform our greater community. We serve a social function, by creating common bonds through conversation, social events, and activism. We serve an intellectual function, as a source of information and a center of discourse on the queer experience. We actively challenge homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism. As queer students, we want to thoughtfully question our society’s understanding of gender and sexuality.

We work collaboratively to create safe spaces on the Williams campus for our queer and LGBT-identified peers and we welcome all who reject traditional gender norms through their expression of sexuality and way of life. We are a resource for all members of our community who are interested in exploring what it means to be queer.

Important Dates

  • Sept. 23: Bisexuality Day
  • October: GLBT History Month
  • Oct. 11: National Coming Out Day
  • Oct. 19-23: National Ally Week
  • Nov. 20: Trans Day of Remembrance
  • Dec. 1: World AIDS day
  • April 15: Day of Silence
  • April: Queer Pride Days


October 28??, 1971: Daniel R. Pinello�s article �The homosexual at Williams: coming out�, where Dan came out as a gay male at Williams, was on the cover of The Williams Advocate. Also in this edition of the Advocate was an article �Gay Liberation: a profile�.

April 9??, 1976: The first organization on campus is created, WGSO, the Williams Gay Support Organization. WGSO�s call for new members in the Williams Record sparks heated debate and controversy, creating a flurry of articles in support and denouncing the new organization.

April 16??, 1976: Student stands on chair in Mission Park dining hall, actively denouncing the WGSO and the �Gay Support� platform.

December 6??, 1977: Williams College President Chandler opposes change to non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation.

January 6??, 1978: Faculty rejects a College Council proposal to amend the anti-discrimination clause of Williams College to include sexual orientation. Debate ensues amongst students, faculty, and the president.

March 10??, 1978: First panel by gay activists on �Coming Out.�

April 14??, 1978: Gay rights supporters wear jeans on National Blue Jeans Day.

October 3??, 1978: WGSO becomes GPU, the Gay People�s Union, in order to create a broader presence on campus.

March 17??, 1981: �Coming Out� meeting held at Weston Language Center.

September 27??, 1983: GLU sponsors AIDS talk.

October 4??, 1983: Gaudino Forum on �Gay at the Movies, Gay at Williams.�

October 5??, 1983: The GPU establishes a new name, the GLU � Gay/Lesbian Union in order to avoid being stigmatized as an all-male organization. A new gay hotline is instated for students to talk about their sexuality.

April 23??, 1985: Controversy erupts over a student�s statement that the Berkshire Quad is a ghetto of the College�s �misfits and homosexuals.� As a result, a crowd of over 300 students, faculty, staff, and administrators rallied in a celebration of diversity. However, issues over student housing, marginalization, and diversity persist and disputes between the student and the Black Student Union, GLU, and Berkshire Quad members continue.

November 9??, 1985: Defacement of GLU event poster.

March 4??, 1986: Open panel discussion on homosexual life at Williams. Over 100 students attend a conversation on coming out and counseling assistance.

April 15??, 1986: First annual Lesbian and Gay Awareness Day. The day features an information table, rally, documentary, and reception. The day focuses on acceptance, diversity, and presence of gay and lesbian life on campus. Over 150 people attend the rally.

1987: The GLU changes its name to the Williams Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Union (BGLU).

February 24??, 1987: Students protest CIA�s discrimination in hiring as it recruits on campus. CIA responds in Record Article, citing that the CIA does not discriminate against any group, but that �it examines the whole person.�

May 5??, 1987: Second Annual rally on Lesbian and Gay Awareness Day.

October 13??, 1987: Disputes on whether Williams should allow the Marines to recruit on campus, considering their ban on homosexuals joining the Navy.

October 17??, 1987: Gay and Lesbian alumni organize to form first network. An organizational meeting and dinner on campus is held. The network is originally created to address a deficiency in alumni events, with its focus on children and spouses.

December, 1987: First openly gay faculty member receives tenure.

April 19??, 1988: First Gay awareness week. In the words of a BGLU student leader, �We wanted to challenge the campus to examine their homophobia. A week makes more of a coninuous confrontation, while a day is easily dismissed.� Events include a rally, men wearing skirts to class, and stickers proclaiming �Why Assume I�m Heterosexual?�

April 22??, 1988: The Issue, a student-run newspaper at Williams, has a centerfold on sexuality, including interviews with Faculty and students.

November 29??, 1988: Acting Dean of the College, Joan Edwards, issues a letter notifying the Williams community of defacement to BGLU posters, signs, and notices in a display case, discouraging future hostile behavior. The vandalists remain anonymous.

April 5??�9??, 1989: College Council sponsors the very first sexual awareness week to deal with issues of pregnancies, date rapes, and especially STDs.

Kareem Khubchandani became the second Queer Life Coordinator in the Fall of 2004

April, 1989: Sex Month! Between sexual awareness week and gay pride week, the campus tackles pertinent and provocative issues. Included in this month, a showcase of men and women in various physical contact, with an image of wrestlers causing controversy. Disputes over chalking recurs, with Buildings & Grounds first scrubbing away BGLU chalkings, then called off with an apology from the Dean.

November, 1989: Health Services and WCMA collaborate on an AIDS Awareness Week.

January, 1990: Discussions throughout month on AIDS and its role at Williams.

February 13??, 1990: BGLU display case in Baxter is vandalized again.

April 13??, 1991: Gay Pride Week includes movice showings, lectures, poetry readings, and a BGLU Party in Currier Ballroom.

November, 1991: BGLU chalks at homecoming, and distributes promotional pamphlets and stickers. This sparks a letter from a concerned parent MD denouncing the BGLU�s presence, and considering the BGLU�s organization one with possible chemical/ anatomical pathology.

October 5??�11??, 1992: BGLU celebrates National Coming Out Week with both confidential and public events.

February, 1993: Student gets expelled for impersonating a homosexual and calling two male students, pretending to be attracted to them. The calls were made in response to the two males harassment of various females on campus. Disputes result over whether this incident is homophobic, and the student pursues a civil suit against the college.

justin adkins became the third Queer Life Coordinator in the Fall of 2008

April 11??�18??, 1993: Queer Pride Week. Queer Bash, March on Washington, and other events.

October 7??, 1994: The Queer Straight Alliance is created �to fill the void between queers and straights at Williams and the greater community.� (The BGLU is still in existence)

October, 1994: A homophobic and physically threatening letter is submitted to the Daily Advisor. The Dean�s office notifies and denounces the incident in a letter to the William�s community.

January, 2000: Queer Life Coordinator, Stephen Collingsworth, is appointed to a permanent position in the MCC staff.

August, 2004: Kareem Khubchandani becomes the second Queer Life Coordinator, replacing Stephen Collingsworth.

December, 2005: The Queer Student Union (QSU) ratifies a constitution.

October, 2008: justin adkins takes the Queer Life Coordinator position, replacing Kareem Khubchandani.

May, 2009: Daniel R. Pinello is awarded the first �Outstanding Queer Alum Award� at the 5th Annual Rainbow Graduation.

November 28??, 2009: The word "Fag" is seen spray painted in the common room of Mills-Dennett 1. In response, members of the QSU and Women's Center stage a sit-in in Hardy House to protest and make 5 demands to the administration. These demands were:

  • Queer Studies
  • Better training for Junior Advisors on Queer and Women issues
  • A Gender and Sexuality Resource Center
  • Gender neutral housing
  • The Queer Life Coordinator be promoted to a full-time position

Spring 2010 Organized the 1st annual New England Small College Queer Summit

Other LGBTQIAA Student Resources

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center

  • Anything But Str8 In Athletics a support group for LGBTQIA athletes. Completely confidential, the group meets every other week on the second floor of the MultiCultural Center (Jenness House) from 9-10 P. M. on Wednesdays
  • W-Talk - a support and discussion group on a variety of topics pertaining to gender and sexuality, meets alternating Wednesdays 9-10pm in Justin's Office.
  • queer.williams.edu, a site that places all queer resources in one location. For any books in the library of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, any queer groups on campus, any random queer articles or news, plus more go an take a visit.

Other Campus Resources

There are several other resources which provide an outlet for private discussion regarding issues of personal concern. These resources include: free, professional counseling at the Williams College Health Center; the College Chaplains, who are readily available to talk with interested students; Peer Health, a student-run organization which offers confidential advice, health education, and referrals; and the Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition committed to creating a safer and more inclusive locale.

Social and Political Space

The houses in Morely Circle (Rice, Jenness, and Hardy) provide study spaces, kitchen facilities, TV rooms, and computer stations for MINCO groups and all students. Hardy House contains a library of books, magazines, and videos which focus on lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay themes and issues. All the houses are accessible with card access 24/7 for study and socializing.

LGBTQ students also make themselves visible in other spaces on campus. In the Spring of 2007, the MCC’s Canvas Project presented: ‘Fearless’, a well-received exhibit of LGBTQ athletes in the impressive new student-center on campus. Each year during Queer Pride Days and Coming Out Days, the college posts large Queer-friendly banners on the library and student center. Also, once a month, the ERA hosts ‘Queer Table’, a lunch-time opportunity for people to come together and talk about current topics pertinent to the BLTGQ community.

Academic and Alumni Support

There are a good number of gay and lesbian faculty and staff at Williams. Many professors are open about their sexuality, helping to challenge misunderstandings and ignorance about queer people in general. A number of classes explore the subject of sexuality in depth and offer opportunities to learn about and explore LBGTQ history and issues in an academic setting. These classes appear in departments ranging from Political Science, to Comparative Literature, Religion, and Art History.

  • The Dively Committee: Mike Dively, Class of '61, has endowed a fund for Queer programming. This generous gift, managed by the Dively Committee, has helped fund trainings for staff around the needs of transgender folk, drag shows, academic presentations, discussion forums, and queer theater performances.
  • LGBT Advisory Committee: The LGBT Advisory Committee was started by Stephen Collingsworth in 2002 as an informational conduit for students, faculty and staff. This group is chaired by the Queer Life Coordinator and meets monthly for lunch in Hardy House. The group is purposefully comprised of people across campus to make sure that a variety of voices are being heard. The committee also advises the Queer Life Coordinator and helps form suggestions for policy changes and campus wide initiatives. If you are interested in joining the LGBT Advisory Committee contact justin (justin.adkins@williams.edu)
  • Williams Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Alumni (BiGLaTA) an alumni network. Reasons given to join:
    1. It's free!
    2. You gain access to an inner circle network of Williams alums great networking opportunity and access to jobs, housing, and more
    3. Invitations to BiGLaTA events across the country
    4. Invitations to BiGLaTA Reunions on campus
    5. Invitations to BiGLaTA events at your class reunions
    6. Invitations to other schools' LGBT alumni group events a great way to connect with other LGBT people in your community
    7. Great way to keep in touch with your classmates
    8. Great way to get to know people from other classes that you might never otherwise get to know
    9. Annual newsletters
    10. Keep in the loop with what's going on on campus
    11. Help improve the experience of current and future LGBT students
    12. Find out about BiGLaTA student internships

LGBTQIAA Terminology

Androgyny (also androgynous, bi-gendered, no-gendered): A person who identifies as both or neither of the two culturally defined genders, a person who expresses merged culturally defined genders, or a person who expresses merged culturally/stereotypically feminine and masculine characteristics or mainly neutral characteristics.

Gender Binary: A system that defines and makes room for two and only two distinct and opposite genders (male and female). These two genders are defined in opposition to each other, such that masculinity and femininity are seen as mutually exclusive. In this system, there is no room for any ambiguity or intermingling of gender traits.

Biological Sex: This can be considered our �packaging� and is determined by our chromosomes (XX for females; XY for males); our hormones (estrogen/progesterone for females, testosterone for males); and our internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina for females, penis and testicles for males). About 1.7% of the population can be defined as intersexual�born with biological aspects of both sexes to varying degrees. So, in actuality, there are more than two sexes.

Biphobia: This term addresses the ways that prejudice against bisexuals differs from prejudice against other queer people. There is often biphobia in lesbian, gay, and transgender communities, as well as in straight communities.

Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to both men and women. Some people avoid this term because of its implications that there are only two sexes/genders to be sexually attracted to and this reinforces the binary gender system.

Coming Out (of the closet): To be �in the closet� means to hide one's identity. Many LGBT people are �out� in some situations and �closeted� in others. To �come out� is to publicly declare one's identity, sometimes to one person in conversation, sometimes to a group or in a public setting. Coming Out is a life-long process�in each new situation a person must decide whether or not to come out. Coming out can be difficult for some because reactions vary from complete acceptance and support to disapproval, rejection and violence.

Cross Dresser: Someone who enjoys wearing clothing typically assigned to a gender that the individual has not been socialized as, or does not identify as. Cross-dressers are of all sexual orientations and do not necessarily identify as transgender. Cross-dresser is frequently used today in place of the term transvestite.

Drag King: A female who emulates a man in appearance and manner, generally for the purposes of entertainment, and not necessarily because the person identifies as a man or as transgender.

Drag Queen: A male who emulates a woman, in appearance and manner, generally for the purposes of entertainment, and not necessarily because the person identifies as a woman or as transgender.

Gay: A homosexual person, usually used to describe males but may be used to describe females as well.

Gender Expression: Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and emphasizing, de-emphasizing, or changing their bodies� characteristics. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex. Gender expression is not necessarily an indication of sexual orientation.

Gender Identity: Our innermost concept of self as �male� or �female��what we perceive and call ourselves. Individuals are conscious of this between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex. For some, however, their gender identity is different from their biological sex. We sometimes call these people transsexuals, some of whom hormonally and/or surgically change their sex to more fully match their gender identity.

Genderqueer: A term which refers to individuals or groups who problematize the hegemonic notions of sex, gender, and desire in a given society. Genderqueers possess identities that fall outside of the widely accepted sexual binary. Genderqueer may also refer to people who identify both as transgender and queer, ie. Individuals who challenge both gender and sexuality regimes and see gender identity and sexual orientation as overlapping and interconnected.

Gender Role: This is the set of roles and behaviors assigned to females and males by society. Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles: masculine (having the qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities attributed to females). People who step out of their socially assigned gender roles are sometimes referred to as transgender. Though transgender has increasingly become an umbrella term referring to people who cross gender/sex barriers, many people find any umbrella term problematic because it reduces different identities into one oversimplified category.

Heterosexism: Bias against non-heterosexuals based on a belief in the superiority of heterosexuality. Heterosexism does not imply the same fear and hatred as homophobia. It can describe seemingly innocent statements, such as �She�d drive any man wild� based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm.

Straight/Heterosexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted and committed to the members of a gender or sex that is seen to be the �opposite� or other than the one with which they identify.

Homophobia: Refers to a fear or hatred of homosexuality, especially in others, but also in oneself (internalized homophobia).

Homosexual: A person who is primarily and/or exclusively attracted to members of what they identify as their own sex or gender. �Homosexual� is a clinical term that originated in the late 1800s. Some avoid the word because it contains the base word �sex�. Orientation has more to do with the issue of love than of sex, and it is believed that the use of �homosexual� devalues the orientation of individuals.

Intersex: A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn�t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Passing: A term used by transgender people to mean that they are seen as the gender they self-identify as.

Queer: Historically a negative term used against people perceived to be LGBT, �queer� has more recently been reclaimed by some people as a positive term describing all those who do not conform to rigid notions of gender and sexuality. Queer is often used in a political context and in academic settings to challenge traditional ideas about identity (�queer theory�). Used as an umbrella identity term encompassing gay, lesbian, questioning, bisexual, non-labelling, transgender people, and anyone else who does not strictly identify as heterosexual.

Questioning: Refers to people who are uncertain as to their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are often seeking information and support during this stage of their identity development.

Sexual Identity: This is how we perceive and what we call ourselves. Such labels include �lesbian,� �gay,� �bisexual,� �bi,� �queer,� �questioning,� �heterosexual,� �straight,� and others. Sexual Identity evolves through a developmental process that varies depending on the individual. Our sexual behavior and how we define ourselves (identity) can be chosen. Though some people claim their sexual orientation is also a choice, for others this does not seem to be the case.

Sexualism: A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human sexualities (sexual orientation and gender identity) determine social or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own sexuality is superior and has the right to be universally acknowledged as such. Also the hatred or intolerance of another sexuality or other sexualities.

Sexual Orientation: This is determined by our sexual and emotional attractions. Categories of sexual orientation include homosexuals�gay, lesbian�attracted to some members of the same sex; bisexuals, attracted to some members of more than one sex; and heterosexuals, attracted to some members of another sex. Orientation is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics and hormones, as well as unknown environmental factors. Though the origins of sexuality are not completely understood, it is generally believed to be established before the age of five.

SOFFA: which stands for Significant Other, Friends, Families, and Allies: refers to the people close to the person who is transitioning or transgender. These people, particularly partners and other family members, also go through a transition related to their relationship with the trans person.

Ally: Queer lay-term commonly recognized as a heterosexual person who works to end oppression in his or her own personal and professional life through support of and as an advocate with and for the non-heterosexual population.

Transgender: Refers to those whose gender expression at least sometimes runs contrary to what others in the same culture would normally expect. Transgender is a broad term that includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens/kings, and people who do not identify as either of the two sexes as currently defined. When referring to transgender people, use the pronoun they have designated as appropriate, or the one that is consistent with their presentation of themselves.

Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people; transphobia is manifested in a number of ways, including violence, harassment, and discrimination.

Transsexuals: Individuals who do not identify with their birth-assigned genders and sometimes alter their bodies surgically and/or hormonally. The Transition (formerly called �sex change�) is a complicated, multi-step process that may take years and may include, but is not limited to, Sex Reassignment Surgery.

Two-spirit: A Native American person who embodies both masculine and feminine genders; Native Americans who are queer or transgender may self-identify as two-spirit. Historically, different tribes have specific titles for different kinds of two-spirit people.

Transgender/Transexual Medical References
Pre-op: Term used within some transgender circles to describe individuals who have not undergone and surgical changes to their bodies.

Post-op: Term used to describe individuals who have had a surgical procedure to change an aspect of their appearance.

Chest surgery: Typically refers to when a person is having their chest reconstructed to fit the sex they seek to identify with � this may mean having fuller breast implants or having breasts removed.

Facial Feminization: Various procedures that are done to change the shape of their face to make it more feminine.

Bottom Surgery: Typically refers to when a person is having their genitalia reconstructed to fit the sex they seek to identify with.
Penectomy � Removal of the penis, where the shaft of the penis is used to create the neo vagina
Phalloplasty � Construction of a penis typically using skin from ones forearm
Vaginectomy � the closing of the vaginal opening from the bottom and opening from the top internally
Metoidioplasty � Releasing of an enlarged clitoris so that it resembles a penis
Labiaplasty � Typically done for MTFs when they use the scrotum to construct a new labia
Hysterectomy � removal of uterus (some states require people to have this procedure in order to legally transition)
Opherectomy � removal of the ovaries
Scrotoplasty � construction of the scrotum using labia

Cross-Hormonal Therapy: the use of testosterone (FTM) or estrogen (MTF) to biologically produce secondary physical characteristics.