• 30 Nov 2010 9:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Genesis | November 19, 2010

    Genesis is an Astronomy student at Mount Holyoke College who is currently working with NASA. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, Genesis reflects upon
    discrimination in the workplace and his ongoing struggle to receive appropriate identity documents.

    I recall receiving my school ID card during orientation at Mount Holyoke College and considering how the image would not match my appearance after beginning hormone treatment. Over time, I had to renew my picture and a male presentation was a source of suspicion to anyone who knew that Mount Holyoke College was an all-women’s institution. Upon graduation I sought to prevent a similar problem with my state ID.

    That summer I lived in Maine and was searching for a job. After being stopped repeatedly in airports because my ID stated the “wrong” gender marker (I did not look female any longer) I realized that I would need a new ID in order to gain employment. I researched the DMV gender marker laws and found that, as is common with many states, I needed a doctor's letter confirming that I was transgender in addition to proof of gender reassignment surgery (GRS). As a 19 year old transman, I had no plans to go through GRS. But, without identification it was almost impossible to find employment.

    I eventually found a job with a supervisor that didn't seem to notice the gender marker mismatch. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I was wrong. For a grueling two months I was treated unfairly, spoken about inappropriately, and harassed based upon my gender identity. I never knew if I was treated this way because my supervisor disclosed my private information or because I didn't completely pass as male. Unfortunately, there were no state laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer individuals in the workplace at that time. Only recently did Maine pass anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ individuals. I quit and found a new work place.

    I used an incorrectly marked state ID for years until Massachusetts changed its gender marker laws last fall. I immediately acquired state residency and a Massachusetts state ID with a gender marking of “M”. For the first time, my gender identity was correctly reflected on a legal document. It felt like coming out all over again and a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders. With a correctly marked ID, going through airports or making purchases with a credit card suddenly became so much easier. The stress of disclosing my transgender status, the fear of being denied service, and the possibility of being subjected to further security screenings disappeared. Next, however, I needed to acquire a United States passport.

    At the time, American citizens were required to not only provide a doctor’s note and proof GRS but citizens were also required to legally change their name to a “clearly gendered name” in order to receive a proper gender marker on a passport. My legally given nameundefinedGenesisundefineddid not fit the criteria. I was mortified as traveling outside of the United States with an improperly marked passport could be dangerous in many places.

    Fortunately, this past June the US Department of State announced that GRS was not a prerequisite for passport gender marker changes. I'm currently in the process of acquiring mypassport and will have two correct and valid forms of ID that are so often required for various official documents, applications, and traveling.

    I'm currently taking a gap year working as an intern at NASA Ames in the Bay Area while still being active from a distance with the Coalition for Gender Awareness, Mount Holyoke's gender student organization. Next year I'm returning to finish off my senior year and graduate with a BA in Astronomy and a minor in Theatre Arts.

    My experience has taught me the importance of LGBTQ activism at all levels. High School outreach clubs, University organizations, and community LGBTQ centers contribute to making change. Thousands of individuals must contribute their hard work to make LGBTQ rights a reality. Everything from public policy advocacy to increasing visibility and awareness makes a huge difference. On this Transgender Day or Remembrance, remember to stay strong and give a moment to remember those whose sacrifices have brought us to where we are today.

  • 24 Nov 2010 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    by Jordan Namerow
    contributing writer, Bay Windows
    Thursday Nov 18, 2010

    On Nov. 17, the Senate of Wellesley College -- one of the few remaining women’s colleges in the country -- publicly announced that it had changed its constitution. It replaced every female pronoun with gender-neutral language. 

    Some believe this change undermines Wellesley’s single-sex heritage and violates its institutional identity. But it is a necessary step to accommodate the diversity of Wellesley’s student body today.

    When I enrolled at Wellesley College in the fall of 2001, it never crossed my mind that gender-neutral anything would be up for debate. 

    But one month into my freshman year at a late-night meeting in the dorm living room, a classmate proposed the following: replace the bathroom’s faceless lady in a dress with a poly-gendered or gender-neutral figure. 

    "Why all the fuss over an innocuous, universally recognized symbol?" I wondered. Because, as I soon learned, not every student at Wellesley identifies as a woman. Some Wellesley students are transgender. Others eschew gendered pronouns altogether. 

    Over the past decade, American universities have witnessed a growing and more visible population of transgender students -- most notably, students who identify as transmen (a term embraced by people assigned a female identity at birth but who choose to live in the world as men). Just two weeks ago, the nation learned that George Washington University women’s basketball player, Kye Allums, had come out as a transman. Allums is believed to be the first Division I college basketball player to compete as a transgender person. His announcement -- which garnered national attention in a New York Times article and on popular blogs -- came appropriately at the start of November, "Transgender Awareness Month." 

    Though precise figures are difficult to determine, The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that about three million Americans are transgender. Brett-Genny Janiczek Beemyn, the Director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst who has studied transgender college students cites that, historically, adults who wished to transition did so in middle age. But today, a larger percentage of transitions occur in adolescence or young adulthood. 

    Wellesley, along with other women’s colleges, is wrestling with an unprecedented dilemma: how to accommodate transgender students in a communal context created by and for women.

    This dilemma has prompted administrators and students to ask tough questions: Why would a woman who identifies as a man want to attend a women’s college in the first place? Do transgender students threaten the mission of women’s colleges, or do they advance it? And, most importantly, is it possible for a women’s college to support transgender students without abandoning its heritage or violating its integrity? 

    For me, the answer is yes. Women’s colleges can -- and should -- support transgender students. 

    But I didn’t always feel this way.

    Nine years ago, at a weekly meeting for Wellesley’s Sexual Health Educators (the SHEs) I was sitting across from a burly, male-identified student with tattooed arms and a short buzz cut -- the first openly transgender person I had ever met. He was dressed in men’s clothing and had tightly bound his breasts with an ace-bandage.

    "I want to organize a workshop about masculine sexuality," he explained. "A program by and for trans students." 

    I caught myself cringing with judgment. "This is a women’s college," I thought to my conventionally gendered, Jewish lesbian feminist self. "We’re an organization called the SHEs, and you don’t even identify as a she. What makes you think you belong here?"

    The other SHEs and I squirmed in discomfort, our eyes shifting nervously to the bowl of Cheez-Its in the center of the table. We didn’t know what to say or do. We just hoped the proposed masculine sexuality workshop -- and transgender issues in general -- would quietly disappear. 

    But the workshop happened, and the issues didn’t go away. 

    Some months after that meeting, I asked a different transgender student -- someone I met through Wellesley’s LGBTQ student organization -- why he chose to come to Wellesley:

    "I thought women would be more open to my gender identity struggles than men," he said. "I was concerned about being harassed at co-ed universities for not being a ’real’ man or a ’real’ woman. Besides, I identify as a feminist and the empowering campus culture of Wellesley really resonated for me." 

    His response filled me with empathy and surprise. It spoke to the invisible truths of transgender people that I had not fully considered: a desire for basic human dignity, social safety, and a body in which to feel at home. It stripped away the layers of gender theory and made transgender identity not about "a complicated issue" but about people yearning to belong. 

    Who among us doesn’t want to be fully seen, fully heard, and fully supported in the world?

    The Women’s College Coalition, an association representing women’s colleges in the United States and Canada, identifies three core values that animate women’s institutions: social justice, equality, and human dignity. I have come to believe that affirming the diversity of gender experience is an expression of these values that we must embrace. Although sexual orientation has been added to the protected categories in women’s colleges’ anti-discrimination policies, gender identity has not yet made the list.

    Over five years have passed since I graduated from Wellesley; nearly ten since my introduction to the concept of gender-neutral bathrooms -- a concept that no longer seems foreign to me, even for women’s colleges. 

    But not long ago, I found myself at a "New Years Redux" party where I reconnected with a bunch of Wellesley graduates, many of whom I hadn’t seen for several years. There were others who I was meeting -- or re-meeting -- for the very first time: Whitney had become Will. Emily was now Elliot. They had new bodies, new genders, new names. 

    I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a bit of loss and sadness, quickly followed by a ping of guilt. 

    Yet the faces of my friends, both familiar and unfamiliar, were full of light. They exuded a sense of rightness with who they are and with their place in the world; the kind of rightness that comes only after years of struggle. 

    When I think of transgender students at Wellesley today, I am glad that this women’s college is on its way to becoming a home for them, too.

    Jordan Namerow is the Senior Communications Associate of American Jewish World Service and a graduate student of Strategic Communications at Columbia University. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2005.
  • 08 Nov 2010 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Stephanie Chen, CNN

    November 8, 2010 9:03 a.m. EST

    Students at Morehouse College, an all-male school, show the fashion spectrum of what it means to be a Morehouse man.
    Students at Morehouse College, an all-male school, show the fashion spectrum of what it means to be a Morehouse man.
    • Same-sex colleges face students who are nongender-conforming or transgender
    • Many same sex-schools have no policies for students outside traditional male-female roles
    • Study: Nongender-conforming and transgender students experience more harassment
    • Morehouse College has banned women's dresses, pumps and purses on men

    Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- When Kevin Murphy entered as a freshman at Mount Holyoke, a Massachusetts women's college, in 2003, he was female. By the time he received his diploma, he was male.

    Phillip Hudson, who attended Morehouse, an all-male historically black college in Georgia, calls himself androgynous, meaning he doesn't identify with masculine or feminine identity norms.

    The two men represent a debate that is brewing at some of the nation's same-sex colleges. For these colleges, which have historically defied boundaries and challenged the status quo, a new test of tolerance has surfaced: How are they handling gender identity?

    Defining gender on same-sex campuses has become murky as some students say they fall outside the conventional male-female gender binary. More schools are encountering complicated cases where not all students at men's colleges identify as male and not all students at women's colleges identify as female.

    The diversity of gender expression comes in many forms, from individuals who consider themselves androgynous or nongender-conforming to students who are transgender or in the process of changing their sex. Transgender people are often defined as those who do not identify with the gender they were at birth.

    At Smith College, a women's institution in Massachusetts, the junior class president is Roth, who recently transitioned from female to male. Roth asked to be identified only by his first name.

    At Morehouse College, the issue of cross-dressing students emerged on campus last year. A handful of the male students wore women's clothing, purses and high heels.

    "You don't have to conform to one idea on what it means to be a masculine male in order to be successful, and the same way with women," said Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride, a resource network dedicated to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender college students.

    At the center of the controversy is whether men's and women's colleges should allow transgender or nongender-conforming students to stay on campus when the purpose of same-sex schools is to cater to a single gender. Same-sex schools continue to admit only a single sex, but once the student is enrolled, the rules are less clear.

    Most schools don't have specific policies to address nongender-conforming or transgender students, said Genny Beemyn, who has studied transgender issues on campus and is on the board of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transgender people. Only a little more than 300 out of 4,000 colleges have added gender status to their nondiscrimination protection clauses.

    You don't have to conform to one idea on what it means to be a masculine male in order to be successful, and the same way with women.
    --Shane Windmeyer, director of Campus Pride

    "Colleges don't think they have a need to do it, and in my opinion, that's a wrong mindset," Beemyn said. "It's reactionary, and it's waiting until you have a crisis before you do anything."

    In 2003, a student-led initiative at Smith College replaced gender-specific language in the student government constitution such as "she" and "her" with more neutral terms. Other students have advocated for gender inclusiveness through the National Student Genderblind Campaign, a grassroots network that promotes gender-neutral policies.

    Patricia VandenBerg, communications director at Mount Holyoke College, said the school does not have a specific policy to address transgender students or nongender-conforming students -- the only hard rule is that Mount Holyoke can admit only women.

    "We admit women," VandenBerg said. "We graduate students. They develop as they develop."

    On Morehouse's quaint campus, signs banning women's clothing are visible inside buildings. The rules have been strictly enforced, students say.

    Last year, administrators implemented a dress code that no longer allowed women's apparel, including dresses, tops, purses and pumps. The administration declined to comment on the dress code, and the rules still stand, said Elise Durham, media relations manager at Morehouse.

    Read about Morehouse's clothing ban passed last year

    Kevin Webb, a Morehouse senior and president of the gay student group Safe Space, said parts of the dress code contradict the school's historic tradition of acceptance. He said the school should embrace a wide spectrum of male students, instead of imposing a narrow definition of masculinity.

    "We are all humans, students," he said. "We should be able to experience things, including cross-dressing. If we take those moments away, we have failed them during the four years. We haven't allowed them to grow."

    Identifying with a different gender can be challenging on college campuses, according to The 2010 "State of Higher Education for LGBT People" report by Campus Pride. The survey examined responses from more than 5,000 students, faculty members and administrators at colleges and universities across the U.S. and found that respondents who identified as transmasculine, transfeminine and nongender-conforming experienced higher rates of harassment.

    Nearly 40 percent of transfeminine and transmasculine respondents experienced harassment on campus, the study showed. About 31 percent of nongender-conforming students experienced harassment.

    In comparison, the study found that about 20 percent of men and women experienced harassment.

    Phillip Hudson, 21, who identifies as androgynous, was a student at Morehouse studying communications last year when the women's clothing ban took place. Towering at more than 6-foot-4, he liked wearing makeup and lip gloss. He often sported his Marc Jacobs tote bag and Ugg boots on campus.

    His fashion choices and sexuality sometimes brought harassment and ridicule on campus, he said.

    "I do understand it's an all-male school," said Hudson, who transferred to a college in Florida this year. "If you want to have a uniform for us to wear, that's fine, but don't pass policies that are specifically targeting a few people."

    Kevin Murphy, now 25, who entered Mount Holyoke as a woman and graduated as a man, said the school was safe and supportive. However, there were many times when he still felt left out.

    "I often felt very lonely and lost a lot of people I cared about," he wrote in an e-mail.

    Cade, a 19-year-old student from California at Mount Holyoke studying computer science, identifies herself as gender queer and is transitioning to become a male. Cade is planning on taking hormones this year.

    "It's a very small percentage of the population that has that reaction," said Cade, who declined to give a last name for privacy reasons. "A lot times, it's, 'This is a women's space. Why are you here?' "

    A lot times, it's, 'This is a women's space. Why are you here?'
    --Cade, a transgender student at Mount Holyoke College

    While little has been studied about nongender-conforming students on same-sex campuses, some academics are beginning to examine the issue. The topic also became a part of a Sundance documentary show called "TransGeneration" in 2005.

    Colleges may view allowing the opposite gender -- or what is perceived to be the opposite gender -- to remain on campus to be damaging to the school's reputation, explains Susan Marine, assistant dean of student life at Harvard College in Massachusetts, who wrote a dissertation on women's colleges and transgender students.

    After interviewing more than 30 administrators at women's colleges, Marine said there are concerns that alumni will react negatively to the idea of allowing cross-dressing or nongender-conforming students on campus. As a result, they could refuse to donate money to the school.

    "The colleges are in a very unique position," she said. "How do they preserve their identity when student identities are being called into question?"

    Some students say their same-sex colleges are welcoming when it comes to changing genders.

    At Smith College, Roth, 20, said he was admitted to the school as a woman. He says he grew up in a conservative Asian-American household and was surprised to encounter a "whatever floats your boat mentality" from fellow Smith classmates.

    During the second semester of his freshman year in 2009, he started taking hormones. He underwent top surgery last summer, a process that included the removal of his breasts.

    "It [Smith] definitely helped me transition faster," said Roth, who, even as a man, was elected junior class president last year.

  • 04 Nov 2010 5:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Here's the website:

    Description follows:

    Join Us!



    Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is looking for interns for the positions listed below. The deadline for submission of applications is December 1, 2010.


    Internships begin December 15, 2010. Their end date depends on the particular position. The survey and chapter interns will likely complete their work by the end of the Spring. The website and publicity interns will continue on through the book’s publication, tentatively next Fall.


    Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply. The book’s editors are willing to work with your school to obtain credit for your internship.  Unfortunately we do not have funds at this time to provide payment to interns. All interns will be recognized by name in the final book.




    Please submit the following to laura at by December 1, 2010:

     -A cover letter describing your interest in interning for Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. Why are you interested in the particular position? What skills do you have that make you an ideal candidate? Include your email address and phone number in the letter.

     - A resume/cv that highlights work you have done that will help you in the position.




    Website Intern

    Until now, Trans Bodies’ website has been handled by the book’s editor, Laura Erickson-Schroth, who knows nothing about websites except how to click a mouse and insert text/pictures. YOU can save this project’s website from itself. (If applying for this position, please include examples of your work in your application).


    Publicity Interns

    The Trans Bodies project is growing out of its britches, and expanding to facebook, twitter and to conferences near you. Be a part of this project by connecting people with Trans Bodies through social media and events.


    Survey Interns

    We are seeking interns to assist with our surveys for gender-variant people, current/former partners of gender-variant people, and parents of gender-variant children. We will be using quotes from the surveys for the book, and due to the extremely large number of responses, we need to thematically code the surveys. Interns will be supervised by a PhD candidate, and given a brief introduction to the organization and analysis of qualitative surveys. They will have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of individual perspectives as they work with the data. Applicants should be motivated, thoughtful, interested in the experiences of trans-persons and their families, and sensitive to handling confidential information.


    Chapter Intern: Transgender Representation in the Media

    Authors Jamison Green and Dallas Denny are looking for an intern to help them with research for their chapter, which will cover transgender representation in popular media, including television, movies, magazines and newspapers.


    Chapter Intern: Gender Around the World

    Authors Jamie Roberts and Anneliese Singh are recruiting an intern for their chapter, which explores the gender roles and transgender movements around the world.


    Submission Details


    Submissions for consideration of your opinion piece, topic introduction or testimonial should include the following:
    1) An original opinion piece/topic introduction on a topic you feel should be addressed in one of the book's chapters (up to 800 words - click on "About the Book" to learn more about the chapter structure)
        An original testimonial about some aspect of your life as a transgender or gender-variant person (up to 800 words)
    2) Your name, age, and location, along with a one-paragraph biography
    3) A picture of you that can be placed next to your short piece in the book 

    Please direct all submissions to: laura at (The @ symbol has been removed in order to avoid spam through this website. Please replace it when sending in your submission.)

  • 02 Nov 2010 9:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    November 2, 2010

    This article originally appeared in the October 26 edition of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

    A day when the color purple shows threads of solidarity against homophobia

    SOUTH HADLEY -- On Oct. 20, I participated in Spirit Day. I joined hundreds of thousands of young people across the United States who wore purple in remembrance of the six youths who committed suicide after they were bullied or harassed because they were gay or were thought to be gay.

    The suicides of LGBTQ youth covered by the media in recent weeks and months have sparked an important dialogue among Americans about the dangers of bullying and harassment.

    As the Spirit Day Facebook page states: “This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.”

    According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) website, “purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

    The goal of Spirit Day is to show LGBT youth who are victims of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment that there is a vast community of people who support them.”

    I wore purple on Spirit Day as part of the movement to show LGBTQ youth that millions of Americans accept and value them regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment is not a new phenomenon in our society.
    According to Ashleigh Eubanks, a member of the Beyond Tolerance Project at Mount Holyoke College, “These [suicides] are not anomalies or isolated incidents . . . LGBTQ youth have been committing suicide for years now. They have the highest suicide rate among teenagers.”

    While many people have been quick to blame information and communication technologies, including social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, for their role in creating new forums for bullying and harassment, “the [real] problem is with our society. We should take a look at the way we address or don’t address these issues.

    This is all of our responsibility, as a whole,” says Eubanks. “These suicides are reflecting our [society’s] values and beliefs.”

    As Eubanks implies, there are systems at work that permit and perpetuate deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior intended to harm others.

    We need to come together as a society, like we did on Spirit Day, to dismantle values and beliefs that endorse behaviors, like bullying and harassment, that disrespect others. The Aspire Project is working towards this goal.

    Moreover, we need to show our youth, from all walks of life, that their differences are not just tolerated by society, but that they are accepted and valued, and that they are loved.

    Brittany Finder is a student at Mount Holyoke College and Aspire Project contributor.

  • 22 Oct 2010 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Emma Ramsay, The Smith College Sophian

    Issue date: 10/21/10 Section: Features

    The Pioneer Valley has long been considered a locus for women's activism and scholarship. At present, 350 faculty in women's and gender studies reside in the area, constituting what is widely believed to be one of the largest concentrations of academics in the world.

    Elizabeth Lehman, the assistant director of the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, explained that it was not until the early 1990s that faculty addressed the need for a collective venue.

    "They recognized there needed to be a focal point for research on women and gender in the [Pioneer Valley]," she said.

    FCWSRC has played host to over 300 scholars from nearly every state and 44 countries since it opened its doors in 1991. Around this time, the very concept of "women's studies" was still a relatively novel one.

    "[The Center] named at a moment when women's studies was new," said current faculty director Laura Lovett. She said that the "informal network of programs" among each of the colleges was finally legitimized, gaining solid footing as a formal department, though she qualified, "It's still a term that's very much under discussion."

    The FCWSRC offers its research associates and visiting scholars an impressive list of amenities, including a private office - or a "room of one's own," as Lehman put it - faculty-level library and archive access at each of the academic institutions in the area and formal affiliation with the Five Colleges.

    While the only criteria for admittance into the program is any sort of women's or gender studies research, the application process is extremely competitive. Lehman noted that there are always more applicants than there are spaces, a trend unlikely to change given the center's growing prestige. Research associates' terms are limited to an academic year, and they cannot apply for a second once their term is up.

    Facilities are situated in two stately Victorian houses on the Mount Holyoke College campus, where, in exchange for the services provided by the center, research associates give free public lectures explaining their work. Topics this semester run the gamut from "queer women's migration" to "historical materialism."

    Aside from providing the necessary resources, the FCWSRC offers opportunities to delve into subjects they would not have time for otherwise given their hectic schedules. "[My work concerns] how writing and reading cookbooks offered women a way to participate in the construction of national and regional cultures," said Megan Elias of Queensborough Community College.

    "I have also for a long time been interested in the gendered division of culture and society, which has never seemed to make sense to me," she explained. "It has always seemed like a ridiculous waste of resources."

    When asked what she will miss the most when her time at the FCWSRC comes to end, Elias named the "feeling that all my time here is mine, not parceled out among different responsibilities - it has been a vacation from real life."

    Elias emphasized the strong sense of community the FCWSRC fosters among its research associates. Fellow associate Karin Ekstram, a doctorate student from the University of Gothenburg studying gender and cultural changes in contemporary urban Spain, agreed.

    "The leadership of the center [does] a great job at providing formalized opportunities for exchange...but also encouraging and helping [set up] writing groups and the like," Ekstram said in an e-mail.

    The FCWSRC prides itself on expanding its global outreach, pooling an increasingly multicultural and multigenerational group each year. Some research associates come from institutions where women's and gender studies are firmly entrenched while others are anomalies among their colleagues at home. Regardless, research associates and faculty alike find the FCWSRC to be an empowering and intellectually stimulating work environment.

    "Already, after five weeks, I am more confident in myself and my research," Ekstram said.

    In an era when people still question the legitimacy of women and gender studies, Lehman suggested that the FCWSRC reaffirms that the fields are still relevant.

  • 12 Oct 2010 10:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, one of my closest friends from home, who attends a large, prestigious university, informed me that his mother begged and pleaded with him to remove his “interest” in men on Facebook after hearing the news of Tyler Clementi’s suicide. She did this not because she is ashamed of his sexual orientation, but because she is afraid for his life. This is the unfortunate truth. Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals live in fear and shame because society still treats them as second-class citizens, deprived of basic human rights. How can we ask today’s youth not to bully individuals over their sexual orientation while simultaneously passing laws that strengthen bigotry against the LGBT community? This is the underlying issue surrounding the death of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman who jumped to his death last month after discovering that his roommate secretly webcast footage of him having sex with another man. His tragic and horrifying death has struck a chord with the public, leaving people at a loss for answers.

    Since the discovery of the footage, there has been wide coverage of the story in the news and media, and I admit that I became slightly enraged with the reporting. For example, news anchor Diane Sawyer began ABC’s news segment on Clementi’s suicide by attacking the “callousness” of kids today and the “destructive behavior” of cyber-bullying through Facebook and Twitter. I anxiously waited for the segment to discuss the underlying issue: why Clementi felt so much shame, and why his roommate felt he could breach Tyler’s privacy and openly mock and exploit him— but nothing was reported. We need to understand that this is more than cyber-harassment. This kind of bullying stems from homophobic bigotry manifested throughout mainstream society. First, where is the mainstream media—CNN, NBC and ABC (I won’t even bother to ask where FOX is) in unveiling the epidemic of suicides among gay adolescents? These news sources publicize the referendum results, the congressional decisions and the court verdicts that repeatedly reject equal rights for LGBT Americans. According to a 2007 Massachusetts youth risk survey, gay adolescents are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight adolescents. Where is CNN, ABC, and CBS when it comes to reporting about these victims?

    Within the past couple of years, our generation has witnessed human rights withheld, even taken away—such as Proposition 8 in California which repealed the right of same-sex couples to marry. However, California isn’t the only state that voted against equal rights for the LGBT community. States all across the country have held referendums where the majority of the public voted against permitting gay and lesbian couples their equal right to marry, sadly including my own “blue” state of New Jersey. Despite compelling arguments, it didn’t make a difference. The majority of the public and state lawmakers voted for the LGBT community to be recognized as second-class citizens under the law. Governor Chris Christie recently stated in the aftermath of Tyler Clementi’s suicide, “As the father of a 17-year-old…I can’t imagine what those parents are feeling today, I can’t” This is the same governor whose political platform openly opposes legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey. This is not to say that Governor Christie does not empathize with the Clementi family, but having a political agenda against civil rights for LGBT Americans only furthers this bigotry and hate throughout New Jersey. I ask you, what message does this send to the LGBT youth of this country if they are not granted equal rights from their government?

    The movement against LGBT rights’ expands even beyond the state level. Recently, Congress turned down the opportunity to finally repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Act originally created in the 1993. DADT literally restricts United States gay and lesbian soldiers from disclosing their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, these are the same soldiers that go wherever they are needed. For a country that denies them their basic human rights to be who they are and to love whoever they choose without fear of endangerment. This law declares that it is illegal to serve as a soldier in the U.S. Armed Forces if one is openly gay.

    One cannot do any more damage to a human being than take away their basic human rights. Think about the loss of Tyler Clementi and the thousands of other lives caught in this cyclical torture of homophobic bullying. Bigotry is costing lives.

    Resources such as The Trevor Project and Matthew’s Place are incredible tools for suicide prevention, and I urge everyone to make suicide prevention a top priority in the aftermath of this tragedy. However, the homophobic bullying and harassment will continue until laws and society’s treatment of the LGBT community change. Our generation needs to take a stand and fight for equal and just laws. This is our time to rid the shame and rid the fear. We cannot stand idly by any longer.

  • 02 Oct 2010 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    By Staff Report

    List continues to grow with over 50 colleges “coming out” to recruit hundreds of LGBT and ally prospective college students at fairs across the country

    ( Charlotte , N.C. ) – According to Campus Pride officials, “The time is now for colleges to come out of the closet.” Over fifty colleges from across the United States have pre-registered to attend one or more of the LGBT-friendly college fairs and to recruit hundreds of prospective lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight ally youth starting this October.

    Campus Pride, a national non-profit working to create safer, more LGBT-inclusive colleges and build future LGBT and ally leaders, will kick off its first 2010-11 LGBT-friendly College Fair in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 2, Noon -3:30 p.m., at The NC Music Factory. The event, held in collaboration with the annual Pride Charlotte festival, Time Out Youth and the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte , marks the first time the College Fair program has visited the Southeastern U.S. and the first time it will be held in conjunction with a Pride festival.

    The second college fair will be held in Portland , Ore. , on Oct. 16, 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Q Center of Portland, 4115 N. Mississippi Ave. , Portland , OR , 97217 . The event, held in collaboration with the Q Center of Portland, marks the first time the College Fair program has visited Oregon and the Pacific Northwest .

    Other cities on the tour include New York (Nov. 5), Boston (Nov. 6) and Los Angeles (April 9). More details on each event, which are free to current or prospective students and families, can be found online at

    “Our LGBT-Friendly College Fair program presents unique opportunities for both prospective college students and those universities who seek to build more diverse, inclusive student bodies,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “Prospective students want to attend campuses that are a welcoming and safe place to learn, live and grow. These fairs across the country present an opportunity for campuses to ‘come out’ as LGBT-friendly — often for the first time.”

    Last year, Campus Pride made a commitment to grow attendance at the Fair by partnering strategically with local LGBT and ally youth organizations as well as hosting in more progressive metropolitan “queer meccas” of LGBT activism – New York , Los Angles and Boston .

    Windmeyer especially encourages colleges and universities in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them in the Fair, and said: “The colleges participating in the national fair program send a clear message: ‘Gay students are welcome, even celebrated on this campus.’”

    Over fifty colleges and universities have already committed to attending at least one of the Fairs, including: American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Appalachian State University, Bennington College, Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University, Bucknell University, Carleton College, Charlotte School of Law, Clark University, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University in the City of New York, Davidson College, Drexel University, Elon University, Emory University, EqualApp,Eugene Lang College, Everest College and Institute, Grand Valley State University, Guilford College, Ithaca College, Indian University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Marlboro College, Marymount Manhattan College, Michigan State University, Mount Holyoke College, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Penn State University, Point Foundation, Portland Community College, Richmond, the American International University in London, Southern Oregon University, SUNY Potsdam, Syracuse University, The Sage Colleges, Trinity College, Tufts University, UNC Charlotte, Union College, University of Maine, University of Oregon, University of Southern Maine, University of Vermont, University of Maine Farmington, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Warren Wilson College, Washington and Lee  University, Washington State University, Washington State University Vancouver, Western Washington University – Fairhaven College and Whitman College.

    Free and open to the public, the Campus Pride’s LGBT-Friendly College Fairs allow any student and their family the opportunity to interact with colleges and universities that value LGBT and ally people. Registration for schools is $195 to $250 per fair for each institution and is open to any college or university across the United States . Each fair will also feature expert advice about LGBT-friendly colleges, scholarship resources and even effective tips for campus visits.

    To learn more about Campus Pride programs and services, please visit or email

  • 20 Sep 2010 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Candy Gonzalez

    Elizabeth Bernal ‘11, Emily Carol ‘11, Cleo Schneider ‘11, Director of Athletics Laurie Priest, Robin Kranzler ‘11, Lynn Pasquerella, Sarah Patches ‘11, Executive Assistant to the President Irasema Perrault and Sarah Baughman ‘11 row the Lynn Pasquerella on the Connecticut River on Sunday morning.

    Friends, family, alumnae and students gathered at the Mount Holyoke Community Boathouse on Sunday morning to see the president of the College christen and then row a new boat.

    President Lynn Pasquerella and Head Crew Coach Jeanne Friedman poured river water and champagne over the new boat to christen it, as part of a team tradition that originated in the 90’s. Then Pasquerella, six varsity rowers, an alumna and Director of Athletics Laurie Priest rowed the Lynn Pasquerella out onto the Connecticut River.

    Boats can cost anywhere from thirty to thirty-four thousand dollars. In the crew team’s case, most of these funds come from donations from alumnae, parents and friends, according to Friedman.

    Rowing boats come in different shapes designed to meet the needs of the rowers. The new boat’s flat-bottomed frame provides optimal stability so that the boat is less likely to tip in the water. Experienced rowers opt for narrower boats which are more difficult to balance on the water but are faster. The Lynn Pasquerella ’80, with its wider frame, best suits novice rowers who are just learning how to distribute their weight on a boat.

    Friedman felt that the stable, reliable structure of the boat mirrors Pasquerella’s leadership style. Pasquerella’s first year of presidency coincides with the new boat’s first year on the water. Hence, the decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Friends of Rowing to name the boat after Pasquerella.

    “As Lynn is getting her feet wet in her novice year, we thought it appropriate to name our novice boat ‘Lynn,’” Friedman said.

    Pasquerella, who received a letter announcing the boat’s name a month ago, said she was moved to tears at the news.

    “It means a lot to have something that supports student athletics bear my name,” Pasquerella said.

    When asked whether she would consider rowing her boat in the future, Pasquerella responded: “I would love to; [rowing] is certainly therapeutic.”

  • 23 Aug 2010 8:34 AM | Anonymous


    By -Emily McGranachan;  (Posted as Guest of Melanie Nathan)- August 22, 2010 -

    The media is buzzing about the new film “The Kids Are All Right”, which premiered earlier this month.  Its release was exciting for me because for the first time I saw characters who closely reflected my family’s makeup, though the rest of the story, not really.  I too have two mothers and a sperm donor who I contacted when I turned eighteen.  The outcome was different and far less drama surrounded my family when I was finally able to contact and meet my donor, though there were still plenty of surreal moments.  The reaction to the film has been extremely varied, from people thrilled to see representation of a lesbian-headed household, to those who see the events depicted in the film as reinforcement of the notion that children need to know and live with their biological mother and father.

    Growing up in Massachusetts through the marriage equality debate in 2004 and all subsequent movements, I have long been combating false beliefs that LGBTQ people should not get married or raise children.  I have lesbian mothers and I have a sperm donor.  This in no way has made me less of a person, daughter, woman, or friend.  To me, what makes a good parent is dedication to raising and loving a child.  The number, gender, or sexuality of the parents does not determine the ability to help a child grow into a compassionate and kind person.  To tell the truth, I feel lucky to have grown up with the knowledge that my mother put a great deal of time, money, and thought into having me.  I have never doubted that I am loved because I know how much my mother wanted to have a child and did everything she could to have me.

    While I understand that some people believe that the married, heterosexual, biological family is the only valid familial model, I refuse to let this stereotype go unchallenged.  I have two mothers, only one of whom is biological, and no father.  Rather than somehow leaving a negative affect, my family has helped me become a more open, loving, passionate, and socially aware individual.  Growing up I was surrounded by many wonderful adult role models, some of whom were male.  Of course I thought about my sperm donor, who he was, why he donated, what it would be like to meet him.  The reason for me was never about searching for a parent I had lost or a piece of me that was missing, it was about meeting and thanking the person who enabled Cathy and Nancy, my mothers, to become parents.

    I had never met another person with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or even queer parent until I was thirteen.  That summer my family went to Provincetown, Massachusetts for Family Week where I participated in workshops provided by COLAGE.  COLAGE is the only national youth-driven network of children, youth, and adults with LGBTQ parents.  I would not be writing this if I had never come to know COLAGE and the others with LGBTQ parents I met through COLAGE.  That summer I found my center and my political voice.  Through the years COLAGE has helped me become a better advocate for myself and my family.  This summer I am an intern at COLAGE and I am assisting in the distribution of the Donor Insemination (DI) Guide.  The DI Guide is part testimonials and part advice focusing on the questions and concerns of donor-conceived children and their families.  I have been able to watch the DI Guide go from an idea to a tool for families.

    It has been almost three years since I began the process of contacting my sperm donor.  Four months after I turned eighteen I had the name and address of my donor and within the year I learned I had two half-sisters who shared the same donor.  I think the most incredible part of meeting my donor and half-siblings was putting an end to the mystery.  After years of playing around with different scenarios in my head, or coming up with the reasons that Harvey Fierstein was my donor, I lost mystique but gained very real new friends and family.  Now family gatherings include my two sisters, two of their siblings, our collective six lesbian mothers, and our donor and his wife.  Certainly we are still getting to know each other, but there is an undeniably authentic connection between all of us.

    Along with identical chins, my half-sisters and I have followed very similar paths.  One sister, who is four months older than me, was a sophomore at Smith College as I began my first year at Mount Holyoke College.  The schools are both women’s liberal arts colleges and twenty minutes apart. Together we met our other donor sister in March 2009.  It turned out that this new sister is from a town ten minutes from my own, that we have mutual acquaintances, and I had heard about her a year before I met her.  At a drama festival at her high school I met a guy who had taken the girl in town with lesbian mothers to her senior prom the previous year.  In my favorite “small world” story, my sister and I took the same guy to our senior proms.  I do not look like anyone in my family, but I do look a lot like her.  The photos, both of us wearing blue dresses, are just incredible.  Thankfully, we did not both date “our” prom date.

    Meeting my donor and my new extended family did not alter my relationship with my parents.  They were completely supportive of my desire to contact my donor and they were with me when I met him.  I did not begin this adventure to seek a father and, though my donor is a wonderful person and a part of my life now, he is not my father.  I have two parents and that is enough for me, but I am thrilled to have him as part of my growing family.  For some people, family is a rigid concept.  For me, family is not limited by genetics or living in the same home.  My family is filled with moms, grandparents, half-siblings, friends, cousins, and a sperm donor.  It may seem unfamiliar to some, but this is my family and together we are more than all right.

    -Emily McGranachan

    Emily McGranachan ’12  – Love Makes a Family

    Emily McGranachan ’12

    Hometown: Georgetown, Massachusetts

    Emily McGranachan found her voice at the age of 13 while attending the COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) Family Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Its “life-changing lessons” gave her “a sense of empowerment.”

    As a resident of Massachusetts, McGranachan often heard people debate what rights her family should have. Now a guest speaker with the Freedom to Marry Tour, she has shared her story and “introduced people to a child of a same-sex household” on several radio stations nationwide.

    McGranachan has also worked to encourage tolerance and activism on a local level, serving as president of her high school Civil Rights Team and as a volunteer at a family homeless shelter through Horizons for Homeless Children. “These children inspire me,” she said. “In return I do my best to teach them kindness and compassion by being a positive role model.”

    COLAGE is an organization, created in 1989 by the children of severallesbians and gay men who felt a need for support. Though its membership is not necessarily LGBT-identified, COLAGE’s focus on the issues of LGBT parents’ families makes it a de facto part of the LGBT community. There are 52 COLAGE chapters in the United States of America, 2 chapters in Canada, and oneEuropean chapter.  COLAGE is run and operated by children (of all ages) who have a lesbiangaybisexualand/or transgender (LGBTparent or parents. Older Colagers mentor younger members. They prepare them for any challenges that a child may have, having same sex parents. Members are open with each other and any topic can and is discussed. COLAGE teams each summer with Family Pride and holds its annual Family Week in Provincetown on Cape Cod. There, hundreds of gay families come to enjoy the summer and the kids attend COLAGE meetings and workshops.

    COLAGE is based out of San Francisco, California and has small number of paid staff. Its executive director is Beth Teper who has a lesbian mom and today is an advocate for children who have same sex parents.

© Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software