Although they hope their heavy publicity efforts will draw many people to Gay and Lesbian Awareness day (GLAD), organizers said yesterday they are worried violent incidents may disrupt tomorrow's activities.
"We've run into a lot of hostility from Harvard students and I'm afraid it might erupt at GLAD." Leslie Gladsjo '84, co-chairman of Gays Organized in Opposition to Discrimination (GOOD), said yesterday, adding that she had been threatened earlier this week while putting up posters publicizing GLAD.
GOOD organized GLAD, a day-long series of films, workshops, and discussions at the Science Center, "to educate the Harvard-Radcliffe community about homosexuality," Gladsjo said.
Last year, the first time GLAD was staged, more than 1000 students attended the day's events, during which a freshman apologized to the Harvard gay community for harassing students at a gay and lesbian dance.
Mark R. Lentczner '84, co-chairman of GOOD, said yesterday that organizers of GLAD considered hiring their own security guards "in case the verbal abuse turns ugly," but decided not to because of the expense.
"We also doubt there will be any really violent incident, although we do expect the usual verbal barbs," Lentczner said.
Michael G. Colantuono '83, secretary of the Harvard Gay Students Association, said yesterday that students are more hostile to gays this year because of the group's increased visibility.
"We've put up a lot more posters this year and it's given the people who oppose us a greater motivation to harass gays or tear down the signs," Colantuono said. But, he added. "The whole purpose of GLAD is to educate these people about who and what we are. We want straight people as well as gays to come."
Gladsjo said yesterday that most students "have the mistaken notion that we want them to embrace homosexuality."
"We're not doing all this just for ourselves. We're doing it for all those people who don't understand us or have questions about homosexuality," Gladsjo said, adding that she received "a lot of positive feedback from the people who went to GLAD last year."
GLAD activities begin at noon with a showing of the film "Word is Out," followed by a series of workshops. A question-and-answer session between members of the audience and a panel of gays will end the day's events.