A special issue of The Peninsula focusing on homosexuality provoked strong reactions from students when it was distributed yesterday.
The October/November issue of the conservative student magazine devoted most of its 55 pages to articles on what its writers called "a bad alternative" to heterosexuality. The magazine's cover featured an exploding pink triangle. The pink triangle is the emblem of gay identity.
A number of students interviewed yesterday said they were offended by the magazine's mission and content.
"It upset me not only as a lesbian, but as a rational human being as well," said Sheila C. Allen '93, former co-chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association.
Allen said she was worried about the effect that the publication would have on someone who is gay and is "just beginning to reach out to other people."
"This would be a psychologically painful thing [for such a person] to read," she said, "I'm really shocked that the Peninsula felt that sexual identity was fair game for them to attack."
Katie L. Kretler '92 said she was also upset by the magazine.
'Aim to Offend'
"I think their aim is to offend," she said of the editors of Peninsula. "They're not being forced to be gay, they're not being forced to have gay friends. Why make a project out of creating such a thing?"
But the magazine's staffers defended the project, saying they hoped to plumb the depths of a complicated and divisive issue.
"Our opposition to homosexuality...includes no sinister plots, is motivated by no fear or hatred, and is not irrational," they state in an unsigned introduction. "We believe that homosexuality is bad for society."
Roger J. Landry '92, a member of Peninsula's council, said the purpose of this month's magazine was to "do something so the campus of homosexuals and non-homosexuals alike can get past the propaganda." Landry added that the edition was not intended to promote any "gay-bashing feelings."
Brendan M. Murray '93, another Peninsula council member, said, "We care about people. We realize this may be counter-cultural, but we're doing this because we feel that we have a message.
'Not Just Gay Disease'
In an article entitled, "AIDS Is Not Just a Gay Disease," Murray claims to dispell common "myths" about AIDS. These "myths" include the belief that the government is not addressing the problem, that the Catholic Church is obstructing the fight against AIDS and that condom distribution is an ineffective way to prevent AIDS.
Murray's article also alleges that members of some radical homosexual advocacy groups have "carried out a campaign of lies and half-truths...to benefit their political agenda."
"We don't want to [say] that all homosexuals are trying to [deceive]," said Landry. "But a small minority in the homosexual movement are trying to use AIDS...to make homosexuals appear to be victims and to remove the responsibility."
Other articles in the issue include "The Genesis of Homosexuality," "Ignorance=Fear" and "The Courage to Change." The magazine features a diagram charting "Possible Pathways to a Homosexual Orientation" and a list of "help groups" for homosexuals.
But while the magazine was a topic of conversation in dining halls, class sections and dorm rooms all over campus yesterday, some students said they just didn't take it very seriously.
"My roommates and I just skimmed right through it, and we basically just laughed at it all the way," said Jon K. Hsu '94.
Janet A. Viggiani, the College's assistant dean for co-education, could not be reached for comment yesterday.