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Take Heterosexism Seriously



To the Editors of The Crimson:

I would like to respond to the "College to Study Co-Ed Rooming" article [March 1] and the "Co-Ed Rooming Groups" editorial ["Why Not?", March 8]. Many gays, lesbians and bisexuals, myself included, would like the housing policy changed for the same reason many heterosexuals would: so they could live with whomever they wished to live with, male or female.

Quite honestly, though, I've never heard a gay, lesbian or bisexual student complain about the housing policy because the rules are heterosexist. In fact, this line of reasoning that the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard (CLUH) and The Crimson is using is insulting to gays, lesbians and bisexuals and dilutes the real meaning of heterosexism.

Yes, Harvard's housing policy is "narrow-minded" and it is based on heterosexist assumptions. However, there are dozens of other laws and policies at Harvard and in the rest of the world that are far more damaging to gay people.

Heterosexuals (mostly) are crying, "Heterosexism!" now only because they're being discriminated against. Somehow, CLUH has picked the one example of heterosexism at Harvard that doesn't specifically discriminate against gay students.

Changing Harvard's policy would not be a victory against heterosexism nor a way of fighting discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals. A change in the policy would be a victory for personal rights and civil liberties, but changing the policy won't make people examine their assumptions, and fighting heterosexist assumptions is not the reason that the members of The Crimson and CLUH support co-ed housing.

Let's be honest here; they support it because they want to be able to live with whomever they please.

If CLUH and The Crimson would like to fight heterosexism, let me suggest that they first fight the blatant heterosexism that causes pain and even death to many gay people. Help fight job contracts that deny gay, lesbian and bisexual employees health insurance for their same-sex partners, laws that refuse same-sex couples the benefits given to married heterosexual couples, the lack of AIDS research funding, and classes, books and films that erase gay, lesbian and bisexual history.

Fighting the housing policy by using the energy and political power that the gay rights movement has generated, when the main beneficiaries of the change are heterosexual, is insulting and damaging to gay people. However, as an individual I wish you luck in your efforts to work for personal rights, and as co-chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association, I invite you to join our efforts to make Harvard a safe and welcoming place for gay, bisexual and lesbian students to live and study. Julie K. Schulman '91   Co-chair, Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association

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