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OCTOBER 2003
Volume 96, Issue 1
 
GRAPHIC:  Also in every issue Letters
Affirmative action reminds me of a cheap magic act...

Gay past and present
Today, more than ever, I am proud to be a gay University of Chicago alumna (“Moment of Decision,” August/03). When I started college in 1995, the buzz surrounding George Chauncey’s Gay New York was deafening. I did not yet understand how profoundly moving it would be to step onto a campus that wholeheartedly accepts the study of the identity I now embrace.

I am proud to have attended the school that allows Mr. Chauncey to be the scholar he deserves to be, when so many other universities brushed him aside with the nonchalance and offensive remarks reserved for those in any field of “identity studies.” I am proud that the school I perceived as conservative when I was attending it supported the study of gay and lesbian history before I even knew it existed. I am proud that I read John D’Emilio next to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. And, despite the University’s penchant for producing conservatives in the legal field, I am proud that it also houses a professor who is influential in ending the oppression of a previously unseen class of citizens.

My only regret is that the University did not, or could not, provide an adequate support system to help me realize that I was a part of community that needed advocacy. Perhaps the Lawrence v. Texas victory will force the school to see that it cannot just support the academics of the gay community, it must support the social structure of it as well.

Renee McGarry, AB’99
Brooklyn, New York


The article about George Chauncey reminds many of us how times and the University have changed, especially with regard to its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) students, faculty, and staff. During Alumni Weekend 2005, the Lesbian and Gay Studies Project (LGSP) plans a conference to mark the 35th anniversary of the founding at the University of the Chicago Gay Liberation Front, which was the city’s first gay liberation organization.

The LGSP invites LGBT alumni/ae and friends to return to Chicago to reflect on the history and current state of LGBT life at the University. The conference will feature panels on LGBT life at U of C through the decades, the role of Chicago students in the city’s lesbian and gay movement, and current University scholarship in LGBT studies.

A group of LGBT staff and alumni are organizing a national LGBT alumni/ae affinity group, which will help organize this conference. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for this group, please send a message with the following information to lgsp@uchicago.edu, or, via regular mail, to LGSP, 5733 South University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637: Your name, University affiliation, and year; your e-mail and postal addresses and telephone numbers. Please note if you are interested in (a) attending or participating in the alumni conference and/or (b) helping to organize the LGBT alumni affinity group.

For more on this and other activities, see the LGSP Web site: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/cgs/lgsp.html.

Stuart Michaels, PhD’97
Center for Gender Studies
Kathleen Forde
Director, LGBTQ Mentoring Program
Murray Edelman, PhD’73
Amanda Geppert, AB’95
Tim Child, AM’85


The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. We ask readers to keep correspondence to 300 words or less. Write:

Editor, University of Chicago Magazine,
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

E-mail: uchicago-magazine@uchicago.edu

 

 


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