Coming Out Of the Closet


Gay students' demands for fair treatment and respect from their peers and the University climaxed in a day-long conference in April on Gay and Lesbian Awareness Day (GLAD), which Harvard officially endorsed for the first time.

More than 500 students attended panels and a film and heard testimony from students and state legislators on the difficulties in gaining acceptance homosexuals face at Harvard and in the nation.

When an undergraduate attempted to assault a gay student at a campus gay and lesbian dance, the gay student agreed not to press charges if his harasser would apologize publicly at the GLAD forum. He did.

In the wake of the GLAD conference, a coalition group, the Harvard Lesbian and Gay Coordinating Committee, sought to add a clause to all University admissions material, catalogues and personnel manuals stating that Harvard officially opposes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The coalition received letters from administrators in the College and all graduate schools asserting that they do not discriminate against students because of sexual preference. But neither the Business School nor the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences would agree to print the statement.

The coalition also released a report in May which praised University Health Services for agreeing to revise its medical protocol and to train mental health staff to help homosexual patients.