Awareness Campaign Marks 'Coming Out Day'

The enigmatic smile in Leonardo DaVinci’s most famous painting was explained this past week in posters across Harvard Yard.

“Nobody knows I’m lesbian,” reads the caption beside a picture of Mona Lisa.

The posters are part of an effort to advertise National Coming Out Day, an annual event that has been organized at Harvard by the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters’ Alliance (BGLTSA) and Building on Diversity (BOND).

Another poster advertising the event shows Batman and Robin kissing, encouraging the community to support openly gay and lesbian people.

This year’s posters are not as politically charged or controversial as they were for the event in 1999, when posters featured catchphrases like “Can I bum a fag?” and “Have more sex, join the BGLTSA.”


BGLTSA Co-Chair Stephanie M. Skier ’05, who is also a Crimson editor, said the main point of the posters is to create awareness, not to be confrontational.

“I was hoping they would be a little more political, but that’s how the posters have turned out,” Skier said.

Last year’s Coming Out Day posters were also relatively apolitical. Then BGLTSA Co-Chair Daniel R. Tremitiere ’02-’03 had said he had tried to keep the posters more “upbeat” a month after the terror attacks of Sept. 11.

Members of the BGLTSA will be tabling outside the Science Center today, handing out brochures, stickers and ribbons, according to Skier.

Other plans include holding panels and discussions on transgender issues and on coming out to parents and roommates. These discussions will be held at the BGLTSA resource center in the basement of Holworthy Hall.

Coming Out Day this year comes a week after the BGLTSA held elections for certain posts, electing Andrew R. Suggs ’05 as publicity chair, Kevin B. Holden ’05 as secretary, Marcel A.Q. Laflamme ’04 as public relations chair and Oussama Zahr ’04 as political chair.

The group is planning a dance on Nov. 8 and also plans to have bi-weekly community meetings, in line with suggestions made to the group last year by Laure E. “Voop” de Vulpillieres ’02. Vulpillieres wrote her senior thesis on the BGLTSA and how it could be strengthened.

BOND also elected a new co-chair this week, though only one candidate was in the running.

Justin C. Ocean ’03, co-chair of BOND, sent out an e-mail on BOND’s mailing list announcing Zachary M. Subin ’03 as the new co-chair.

“You all probably noticed there was no voting involved, but given he was the only candidate, it seemed a sure thing,” Ocean joked in the e-mail.