In an effort to improve female representation among its members, the Harvard-Radcliffe Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Student Association (BGLSA) elected a female co-chair to work with its two male co-chairs.
Natasha E. Litt '95 said she will encourage lesbian and bisexual women to join the BGLSA, a primarily male organization.
"I'm running for co-chair precisely because so many lesbian and bisexual women are not here at BGLSA," said Litt, who is a Crimson editor.
"In a society which has very specific ideas about how women should look and behave, it can be difficult to realize you're a lesbian," she said. "I want this to be a place where women feel comfortable discussing issues that are important to them."
Litt will share the responsibilities of co-chair with Robert E. Giannino '95 and Dennis K. Lin '94. In addition, E. Abim Thomas '96 joins Ted Gideonse '96 as vice co-chair.
Giannino and Lim said BGLSA has organized a number of events, beginning Monday, to mark "Coming Out Week."
The activities will culminate Friday with a tea. At that event, the co-chairs plan to give Harvard administrators a petition, signed by members of the Harvard community, that supports the creation of a bisexual, gay and lesbian resource center.
Also at the meeting, Rafael Sainz, a member of the steering committee for the Boston Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth, spoke about the importance of AIDS education.
Sainz, who has spoken at numerous colleges in the Northeast, told the group he learned he was HIV-positive in 1992. He was 19 at the time.
"Since I was diagnosed, 25 people I know have been diagnosed as HIV-positive, all under the age of 28," he said. "Of these, 15 have died."
Sainz said he hopes that through education, young people will learn how to protect themselves from the virus. He encouraged the group to inform members of the Harvard community about safer sex and about AIDS.
Giannino said the goal of the talk was "to bring to the forefront the fact that there are people our own age who are HIV-positive, and that you can never think that you're immune."
"Having speakers like Rafael reminds us that we can't walk away from AIDS," he said.