Gay past and
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