Following allegations of harassment and discrimination against the queer community in Dunster House, House Masters Roger and Ann Porter appointed two resident Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporter (BGLTS) tutors Friday.
Students in Dunster, which has not had resident BGLTS tutors since 2002, charged over the Dunster open-list last week that the House was “exceptionally homophobic” and that students were afraid to be openly gay in Dunster.
“I myself have been harassed numerous times, and the same has happened to my friends,” wrote Joseph R. Geschlect ’06 in an e-mail encouraging fellow Dunster students to attend the Queer-Straight Social held last night.
Geschlect cited examples of neighbors tearing down his holiday decorations and decorations for his friend’s coming-out party.
“This harassment peaked when I returned from winter break to find lesbian porn slipped under my door in an attempt to ‘convert’ me,” he wrote.
The introduction of the new tutors—Mafalda Cardim and history graduate student Daniel Sargent—came in an e-mail to the entire House Friday in response to the debate sparked by Geschlect’s e-mail. Geschlect said that Dunster was one of only two Houses without resident BGLTS tutors.
“Once Joe’s e-mail became publicly disseminated, the Porters quickly moved to remediate the situation,” Sargent said while attending the social last night.
Cardim, a tutor in Dunster for a year and a half, said she volunteered to be a BGLTS tutor at a regularly-scheduled tutors’ meeting Thursday.
“We will basically begin to call the things we already do by their names,” said Cardim, who said she hosts an informal gathering every Tuesday to watch “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
Geschlect said last night’s social, which he helped organize, aimed “to stop the sense of divisiveness” in Dunster.
“We’re students just like anyone else,” he said. “Straight friends often get flack for their gay friends, and that also needs to stop.”
Dunster resident Natalie M. Orr ’06 was one of about 40 people who attended last night’s social.
“Several of my gay friends were being harassed…and I feel it’s just horrendous,” said Orr, who added that some of her gay friends have not had problems.
Ann Porter said one reason for adding the resident BGLTS tutor was that Dunster’s sophomore class is larger than usual and “could really benefit from an in-house tutor.”
“The perception [of homophobia in Dunster] has been very frustrating, because there hasn’t been a lack of caring or of trying,” Porter added.