BGLTSA Withdraws Panel Co-Sponsorship

The Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters' Association (BGLTSA) recently withdrew its co-sponsorship of a panel discussion to be moderated by Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. '53.

On March 15 BGLTSA sent an e-mail message to its subscribers informing them that the organization had declined from publicizing a Kennedy School of Government (KSG) panel debate between Andrew Sullivan and William Kristol '73 on issues concerning virtue and conservatism, because of Mansfield's involvement in the program. Sullivan is openly gay and has previously spoken at Harvard about gay rights and the Republican Party.

The e-mail message said that by withdrawing support from the panel discussion, BGLTSA was not asserting a negative statement on gay conservatism or the discussion itself, but that it "did not feel comfortable signing onto a panel with Professor Harvey Mansfield."

The message also included quoted criticisms of the gay, lesbian and transgender lifestyle by Mansfield from a 1993 article in the Boston Globe. The message stated that Mansfield's comments conflicted with the mission of the BGLTSA.

According to Adam A. Sofen '01, BGLTSA co-chair, the organization's mission includes sponsoring social and political events and discussions for gay and lesbian supporters.


Sofen, who is a Crimson editor, noted that the e-mail message presented its subscribers with logistical information about the panel so that members could decide whether or not to attend the event on their own.

According to Sofen, another reason for the organization's withdrawal from sponsorship of the panel discussion was a scheduling conflict due to a panel discussion on gay marriage that BGLTSA is hosting at Quincy House at the same time as the KSG panel.

Mansfield said he was unaware of any conflict the BGLTSA felt concerning his moderation of the panel event. He declined to comment on his personal views about homosexuality.

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