Students Herald Coming Out Day

A number of Harvard student groups celebrated National Coming Out Day yesterday with rainbow streamers, stickers and special events like teas and film screenings--but without the controversial posters that the event featured last year.

The Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) set up tables in the dining halls as well as in front of the Science Center to distribute stickers. Group members distributed gay pride beads and encouraged passersby to make their own bracelets and necklaces.

Girlspot, a group for women to discuss issues of sexual orientation that is part of the BGLTSA, also tabled in front of the Science Center and staged "Live Lesbian Acts," with women doing ordinary daily tasks such as talking, reading and brushing their hair.


"The point of that event was to make people reconsider their conceptions of how queer women are exotic, or somehow different," Girlspot chair Mandy H. Hu '01 wrote in an e-mail message yesterday.

The celebrations this year--like in past years--featured posters and stickers bearing messages of gay pride.

"Part of being part of the queer community is being a little out of the ordinary, and I think that's what we should celebrate on Coming Out Day," said Peter T. Wilson '99, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters adviser in Eliot House. "I think those posters really make people stop and read what they really thought they read."

Some posters in previous years included controversial slogans like "every tenth Jesus is gay," but BGLTSA vice-chair Chris E. Holloway '01 said that the group decided to tone down its posters this year, partly in response to last year's uproar.

"It wasn't necessarily that we thought it was wrong to do it, but that it wasn't the right time," Holloway said. "There was a feeling that we should be able to make [Coming Out Day] a more embracing, positive image."

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