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Thanks to everyone who was able to participate in the 4th Out @fter Carleton reunion on October 28-29, 2011. We had a great time!

 

Profile of OAC member and past Pride Banquet Speaker: Danny LaChance

By Naomi Siegal ‘80

One of the things that the OAC Leadership committee does is hold a yearly meeting on campus each spring. Since April is Pride Month at Carleton, we get to participate in some great GLBT activities. One of the highlights of Pride Month is the annual Pride Banquet. This is a celebration highlighting GLBT life on campus and recognizing the graduating seniors who have been active in the campus GLBT community. It also features a keynote speech from a recent graduate who can come back and tell students what it is like to continue GLBT life off campus. In an effort to share some of the energy of Carleton Pride with you, we will highlight one of these recent grads and their speech in each newsletter.

The pride banquet speaker in April 2009 was Danny LaChance. Danny graduated from Carleton with an English major in 2001. Danny describes the campus he first came to as not hostile, but not particularly comfortable for GLBT students. He feels that in his freshman year there were very few out men on campus. There were more lesbians, but he remembers a very ill-attended coming-out rally and feels there was not a critical mass of students willing to be out. There was a queer political group, but no active support groups for students coming out. Danny was active in theater, wrote for the Carletonian and tutored prisoners at the Faribault medium security prison in reading skills. Danny was in the midst of his coming out process when the first Family reunion took place. He mentions that the 4 years he was on campus were a sea-change for the Carleton community. By the time he graduated there were 15 to 20 men out on campus and there were many more activities and choices for GLBT students. For example, there were both social and political groups focused on GLBT life and issues.

As Danny mentions in his speech, he spent his first years after graduation teaching in a school with absolutely no queer presence. He now teaches in a school in NY that includes Tony Kushner and the Laramie Project in its curriculum. In between he has earned a PhD (all but dissertation) in American Studies. His dissertation topic is looking at the use of the Death penalty and its relationship to American Culture. He interviewed jurors in death penalty cases and is connecting their thinking about justice and the messages they’ve received about the use of punishment as a response to social problems. Danny’s style is all about finding connections between thought and culture. His present teaching position includes a course that is team taught between the English and History departments, working to help the students contextualize culture, history and literature to form a broader understanding of culture and movements.

As you can see from his speech, Danny carries this way of thought into his own life as a GLBT person. Questioning the orthodoxy of liberal thought that he experienced on campus, contrasting with the more intellectual or radical analysis that he developed in graduate school. From his current vantage point he describes his time at Carleton as socially supportive, but politically homogeneous and he wonders if this is because of an absence of course work that question issues of identity and if there is movement toward a more rigorous intellectual analysis in the structure of the curriculum.

Danny’s Speech

Thank you very much. Thank you, Kaaren and OAC for asking me here this evening to speak to graduating seniors.

I taught high school English for a number of years, and it was always interesting to me to teach The Great Gatsby, a book that is all about how we come to terms with our past, the expectations and hopes that we had years ago--and the conflicting desire to recapture our past while striving for the future we once imagined for ourselves. I hated Gatsby as a high schooler and one of the reasons, I think, was that, when you’re in high school, you don’t have much of a past. You sometimes have to work inordinately hard to get high schoolers to at least respect the book. “They just don’t get it,” one of my colleagues once said to me. “I mean it’s a book all about your past. Their past is, like, the fifth grade.” Now that I’m older and have a past, I’ve come to love The Great Gatsby. And I’ve come to gain some perspective on my experience at Carleton and, in particular, on the coming out process I experienced while I was at Carleton. As I look back, I’m struck not by a sense of nostalgia at my own innocence, or pride in the memory of coming into my own as a person, or a Gatsby-like desire to recapture my first love. In fact, when I look at the past, I am struck by how absolutely ridiculous I was.

Let me set the coming out scene a little. When I was a sophomore, Carleton did not yet have a Gender and Sexuality Center, Kaaren had yet to be hired, and there were no coming out support groups. Luckily, I had found a counselor at the Wellness Center who had listened to me talk at our weekly, stealth appointments, throughout that fall, about all of the fears and anxieties I had about being gay. Fear number one, of course, was that by coming out I would cease to be me and instead would be a giant, pink triangle that would render me unrecognizable to those who I knew and loved. The counselor wisely had recommended that I visit some of the social and support groups available in Boston during my break, so that I might see how other people my age had integrated their sexuality into a larger conception of themselves and had done so without turning into big, pink triangles. And so I took the train into the city a couple times each week--off to explore, I’d tell my parents--and met, for the first time, out gay people. As winter break wore on, I decided that the time had come to tell my friends and family. And so I did. But I was so concerned about losing control of the process, of not being able to communicate everything I wanted to in the unpredictable world of a conversation, that I typed up letters to everyone--3 pages, single spaced, neatly stapled in the upper right hand corner. My M.O. for my friends was to bring them to a quiet space and ask them to read aloud the letter while I silently paced back and forth nearby. It was only after they had read all 1500 words of my coming out epic--words that included Lifetime-movie-of-the-week quotations like, “I was gay when we climbed Mount Washington together. I was gay when we partied at the prom. I was gay when we crammed for those awful precalc finals together. You. Just. Didn’t. know. It. I’m. the. Same. Person. I. always. Was.” For someone who spent all his time worrying about whether he was effeminate, I was quite the drama queen.

I saved my parents for last. And indeed, the best moment came when I tried to carefully orchestrate my coming out with my parents. The night before break was to end and I was to return to Minnesota, my parents and I had planned to eat at a nice French restaurant in Newton. I had told them that I had big news. I had my trusty three page, single spaced letter and had bought each of them a copy of the book Now That You Know, which I put into separate manila envelopes. As we stood in the kitchen getting ready to go to the restaurant, my Dad eyed the manilla envelopes. He looked, too, at my recent crew cut. He looked at me and asked, “Danny, are you going to tell us you’re dropping out of Carleton and joining the army?”

I love this story, this moment from the past, because I look back on it and think about how controllable the world can seem when you are younger and how experiences like this one teach us that we are ultimately beholden to forces that are beyond our control, like a parent who sees shorn hair, a bulging manila envelope, and thinks, “army.” My desire to tightly choreograph and engineer what my coming out would mean to those I loved completely backfired. Here I was, trying to manage my parents’ response to the news with 1500 word letters, books, and manila envelopes and careful timing, trying to express to my friends and family that this was no big deal, and I had succeeded at communicating that it was, in fact, a very big deal.

What I took away from that experience, and from many of the experiences I’ve had as a gay person after leaving Carleton, was that identity is never as pure, consistent, or easily managed an experience as we might like. We’re fond of speaking of the “Carleton bubble,” a widely-shared sense of the College as a place detached from the pressures of the world, a refuge for the transformation of the adolescent into the fully formed adult. For me, that fueled the expectation that I could become who I was, settle upon a sense of what it meant, to me, to be a gay person, and to go off and lead a life that involved the fulfillment of that role. But I’ve found being gay, and your relationship to being gay, isn’t something that you announce and then leave behind. It’s something that grows over time, it twists and turns and bends in different directions. It becomes more salient in certain times of your life and almost invisible in other times. I never felt more exotically queer as when I moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for my first teaching job out of Carleton and spent two years living alone in a city with no queer contacts, teaching at a school with no gay-straight alliance or out students or faculty. And I’ve never felt like more of a consumer demographic or niche marketing group or a cliché as I have been these past five years as a member of an American Studies Department that is populated with so many queer people that my advisor once quipped to me, “I just assume everyone is gay until I’m told otherwise.”

My understanding of what it means to be queer, of who I am as a queer person, has been shaped, too, by the people I’ve been surrounded by. I left Carleton with a profound desire for normalcy, a desire that was reflected in my obsession with telling everyone, as I came out, that I was still the same person. Marriage was so important to me as a young adult. I can remember sitting in my classroom at St. Paul Academy and crying after school as I saw images of the first gay marriages in Massachusetts posted on the Internet, and the immense sense that my dignity was being affirmed. I watched the hand-wringing of straight friends who wanted to get married but felt guilty for doing so. I celebrated Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s declaration that they would not marry until all could do so.

But my life after Carleton has also been blessed by people who have gotten me to question that desire for normalcy. In graduate school, I’ve met people who see marriage as a profoundly conservative institution, for whom the privilege of being queer lies in the fact that they will never be caught up in the immense pressures that heterosexual people have to conform to and perform certain social norms. Weddings, one of my grad school friends once told me, are like giant drag shows for straight people. But their doubts about the way that marriage has become the central focus of the gay rights movement is not simply a contrarian move, an adolescent resistance to conformity. They see marriage as an institution that has collateral damage not just for gay people, who are denied access to it, but for a world that makes a conjugal, romantic relationship a key element in achieving personal economic security.

I enjoy having a foot in each of these worlds, being influenced by both of them. I’ve had the opportunity to attend gay weddings of friends in Massachusetts and even to officiate at a straight wedding in Minnesota. And I’ve had the opportunity to march down Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis with a group called the Revolting Queers, an organization that does street theater in order to raise awareness about the pitfalls of a marriage-based gay rights agenda. What I’ve learned since I’ve left Carleton is that the intellectual principles my Carleton professors strove to instill in me, like the notion that truth is contested and provisional, apply to myself as well as the world of knowledge. I’ve learned to embrace and expect contradiction and ambiguity in who I am. To be OK with thinking, on one day, that legal rights and widespread social acceptance are the source of dignity and, on another, that dignity comes from a sense of self respect derived apart from social institutions and laws. For me, my indecision is what has led me to the question that I grapple with today as a queer person: “How do I carve out a space in the world that is in-between, that seeks the comforts of normalcy but preserves the pleasures of abnormalcy?” That, as I see it, is our task. You’re graduating at a fascinating and ambiguous historical moment, one in which we’re gaining the right to marry just as the marriage rate is, statistically speaking, at its lowest levels in U.S. history.

Much lies ahead for us as a community and you as individuals. And I hope that as you venture out into the world, you’ll continue to turn to Carleton to think through the ambiguities and contradictions that define and will continue to define queer life in the United States. Out After Carleton, Carleton’s LGBT alumni group, is a great way to do that. OAC members will be passing out welcome cards to you tonight. I participated in the planning of the last OAC reunion, in 2006, and hope that I will see you all at the next reunion, in 2010.

Congratulations on your accomplishments, seniors. And welcome to OAC.

Carleton is represented at LGBT college fairs around the country

By C.J. Griffiths ‘06

This winter, Carleton is being represented at a number of LGBT-oriented college fairs around the country. One was held in New York City, and another at the University of Southern California in February. If you know of similar events in your area and would like to help out, contact Naja Shabazz ’05 at: nshabazz@carleton.edu. See the link below for more information:

http://www.campusclimateindex.org/events/

Current students involved in an anti-violence project

By Patty Dana ‘11

TELL US YOUR STORY! RIGHT NOW!

As part of QUEERTOPIA: The Anti-Violence Project, About Face Youth Theatre is transforming into a national story-collecting center. That’s right: we are collecting stories from everyone across this country—around the world. The young, the old. The urban, the rural. The fierce and the soft.

Stories of VIOLENCE.

Stories of LOVE.

Tell us about a time you witnessed (or were a part of) an act of violence or love towards an LGBTQA-identified person(s). Email it to queertopia@aboutfacetheatre.com. If you feel comfortable, let us know your name, where you’re from, and what generation you’re a part of. If you wish to remain anonymous, don’t include any of that!

With the stories that we collect (and we hope to gather hundreds… thousands!) we will incorporate some of the over-arching themes and more specifics directly into QUEERTOPIA, summer 2010. Certain stories will also be sent to queer-identified and queer-ally-identified musicians around the country…and they’ll create songs based on your stories! Those songs will be incorporated into QUEERTOPIA as well!

Then, with the stories we’ve gathered, we’re going to compile a packet and stage an event of hand-delivering them to legislators. It’s about time we took things into our own hands. Your story can make a difference.

TELL US YOUR STORY. WE’RE LISTENING.

Call for Volunteers!

Would you like to be involved with a unique group of Carleton alumni, passionate about issues relating to LGBT students, alums, and friends? Out After Carleton is always looking for folks who would be interested in serving on the Leadership Committee. To learn more about what it entails, send an e-mail with your contact information to: outaftercarleton@gmail.com

OAC Alumni Adventure Weekend Recap

By Katy Weseman ‘02

On Friday, November 7, 2008, a group of OAC alums gathered for an evening event in Chicago. Based around Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, the weekend involved a lecture by Matt Bailey, Media Resources Coordinator at Carleton, titled "The Great Sissies of 1930s Cinema." Several of the OAC members in attendance enjoyed Reeling films throughout the weekend, as well as meeting up for dinner with a cinematic theme. The events were both educational and enjoyable!

OAC Alums Create Online Magazine for Families with LGBT Parents

By Rich Banyard ‘79

The volume of published resources for LGBT people continues to grow, especially in this age of New Media. There are materials for LGBT adults, LGBT children and parents of LGBT children. But what about children of LGBT parents? For them, an online magazine called Rainbow Rumpus (www.rainbowrumpus.org) has been created. Two Carleton alums and OAC members are involved in Rainbow Rumpus: Karen Ruth ‘86 is a volunteer copy editor, and Joan Higinbotham ‘66 is co-chair of the board of directors.

I recently interviewed Beth Wallace '85, editor-in-chief. Since leaving Carleton, she has worked in early childhood education and in publishing. For about 10 years after graduation, her career involved child care centers in her native Vermont. Beth moved back to Minnesota in 1996 to become acquisitions and development editor at Redleaf Press, a St. Paul-based publisher for early childhood professionals. She left them in 2005, to become a free lance editor, writing coach, and life coach.

Beth has worked on Rainbow Rumpus since its inception, in 2006. That allowed her to collaborate with another Carleton alum, Beth Wright '93, the managing editor. Beth Wright's other claims to fame include her work with Trio Bookworks and, last but by no means least, her role as co-chair of OAC.

Two other Carleton alums and OAC members are involved in Rainbow Rumpus: Karent Ruth '86 is a volunteer copy editor, and Joan Higinbotham '66 is co-chair of the board of directors.

Beth Wallace told a story about part of the impetus for the magazine. Publisher/Executive Director Laura Matanah and her partner have a son and a daughter. They live in a diverse neighborhood, and their children are used to seeing other queer families. But when they once saw a magazine depiction of another family with two mothers, their strong positive reaction made Laura realize how rare such media portrayals are, and the impact they can produce. Laura left her career as a grade school teacher to found Rainbow Rumpus, working full time on the project.

The magazine has been published monthly since June 2006. The traffic has built up on the website, to the point where the magazine had 3,349 visits during the month of April 2009. As tends to be the case with online publishing, they have a worldwide readership, in somewhat of a crazy-quilt pattern. Their top five states for U.S. visits during that month were California, Minnesota, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Internationally, their top five were the U.S., Canada, China, the Netherlands and Romania.

Their main focus is as a literary magazine. Professional writers produce the fiction content. Professional illustrators work on the site, including the drawing of the cartoon dragons, Flo and Mo.

Non-fiction articles tend to be written by volunteers. All in all there are about 50 volunteers working on the project.

The magazine has three main sections, for kids, young adults and parents/teachers/friends. Even those of us who are not parents can find interesting content in that third section. And, who knows? Maybe we'll sneak into the kids' section, as well; after all, who can resist a charming dragon?

The staff's good work has been recognized. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits gave the magazine its Dot Org Award, in 2007. Also, Laura Matanah was one of 10 teachers of the year, recognized by Curve magazine, for her work on Rainbow Rumpus.

Most of their funding comes from individual contributions and foundation grants. Those sources are supplemented to a limited degree by advertising. On the parents/teachers/friends page, Mo the dragon will lead you to the link for contributions.

What Does OAC Look Like? A Membership Update

By Bob Geyer ‘67

From early 2008 to Spring 2009, OAC membership increased approximately 9% to 532 souls. Most of the increase was accounted for by recent graduates (classes of ’07 and ’08) but also included 14 members from earlier classes, ranging from ’74 to ’06. The Leadership Committee agreed to a careful but sustained effort to expand membership on recommendation by current OAC members, through selective notices in the Carleton Voice, and by targeting in the run-up to the next Family Reunion. Joining is easy online at the OAC website.

Call for Volunteers!

Would you like to be involved with a unique group of Carleton alumni, passionate about issues relating to LGBT students, alums, and friends? Out After Carleton is always looking for folks who would be interested in serving on the Leadership Committee. To learn more about what it entails, send an e-mail with your contact information to: outaftercarleton@gmail.com

Leadership Committee Meeting

C.J. Griffiths ‘06

The Out After Carleton Leadership Committee met the weekend of April 19 on campus to reflect on past projects and initiate new ones for the upcoming year (some are detailed in other articles on this page). The meeting coincided with the annual Carleton Pride Banquet, which all members attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The Leadership Committee discussed a variety of topics, including recruitment and retention of members, the current campus climate, new campus initiatives, and a host of others. The Committee also had the opportunity to connect with other groups staff members, including the Multicultural Alumni Network, Richard Berman (Director of the Career Center), and Kaaren Williamsen-Garvey (Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center).

Save the Date! First OAC Alumni Adventure Weekend in November 2008!

Scott Dale ‘88

The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, the second-oldest of its kind, will occur November 7-9 of this year, and Out After Carleton would like to see you there! This will be a weekend to not only celebrate the best of queer cinema, but to bring LGBT alums, families, and friends together for great events in a city with endless opportunities. Hotel rooms will be held for interested OAC members, and there will be many events planned - further details will be disseminated later this summer via the next newsletter, by mail, and on the OAC website. Scott Dale ’88 and Katy Weseman ’02 are the Leadership Committee members helping coordinate the weekend.

Continuing Efforts on Out After Carleton Membership Outreach:

Bob Geyer ‘67

The Leadership Committee agreed at its April 2008 meeting that an even 500 members was a modest but appropriate new target for Out After Carleton. If achieved, this would represent a noticeable 8% increase in membership. Beginning in 2005, the 10% Campaign launched by the Committee actively worked to bring the number of active members up to its current level. Bob Geyer ’67 will work with the Alumni Affairs Office to target graduates from the 1960s and earlier, identifying the unique needs of these LGBT and allied alums, followed by later classes. Michael Lane ’08 will tackle the recruitment of members from the current graduating class, then join Naja Shabazz ’05 and C.J. Griffiths ’06 in identifying interested alums from 2005 and later who have not yet joined.

Update on LGBT Studies at Carleton:

Rich Banyard ‘79

During my student days at Carleton, I was never asked in a classroom to make up a drag name as part of an introduction to a course. That was one of the things that happened when Carleton offered an LGBT studies class during Fall Term 2007. The course was called “American ‘Queer’: An Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies”. The course was taught by Aureliano B. DeSoto, who is the LGBT Post-doctoral fellow in Women’s and Gender Studies for the 2007-08 academic year.

This was an interdisciplinary course, tracing the history of LGBT movements in the U.S. since the time of World War II. According to the Carleton catalog: “The course considers the consolidation of lesbian and gay identities before 1969, the Stonewall Rebellion, the divergence of lesbian and gay male subcultures in the 1970s, the AIDS crisis and sexualized lesbian feminisms of the 1980s, new queer activism and commercialization of lesbian and gay identity in the 1990s, and the importance and visibility of transgender identities in the new century.”

DeSoto views the interdisciplinary nature of the course quite broadly. While he says that “the course foci are primarily located in social history, various types of literature or critical writing (manifesto, discourse analysis, personal memoir), with a small amount of visual culture”, he goes on to say that he tends “to think of interdisciplinarity in the way it is increasingly practiced in the contemporary university, which tends towards an inchoate melding of disciplinary traditions, practices, and methodologies, usually centered around the concept of culture (however one wants to define that) and discourse (ways of thinking, talking, and acting).”

There were 22 students in the class, who were diverse as to their genders and orientations. DeSoto describes the course as being “run seminar style”, with emphasis on discussion that may be prefaced by, at most, what he describes as a “mini-lecture”. Those presentations were usually accompanied by writing on the board with concepts connected with arrows and lines, implementing his belief in visual learning. And, in fact, his academic training began in the Art field.

DeSoto has a B.A. in Art (printmaking media) from Yale University (1990). He received his M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2000) from University of California, Santa Cruz. He began his graduate work in the History of Consciousness Department at UCSC. His thesis focused on Chicana/o (Mexican American) intellectual formation, in particular the role of lesbian and gay Chicana/o cultural producers in the development of ideas about Chicana/o identity.

He was Director for the Program in Studies of Race and Ethnicity at Bard College (New York) from 2001 to 2005. Since 2005, he has been on the faculty of Metropolitan State University (Minnesota), as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic and Religious Studies, from which he is on leave to undertake the Carleton fellowship.

DeSoto maintained a weblog during the term, which can be accessed at: http://americanqueer.blogspot.com/. Students were encouraged to keep their own blogs, which can be accessed via links in DeSoto’s instructor blog. DeSoto advises that the instructor blog will remain archived, but the student blogs may or may not be accessible as time goes on.

Mark Lofstrom, ’76, a planned giving officer in the Carleton Development Office, and a former OAC co-chair, audited the course. He describes it as a “fulfilling and interesting experience”.

Lofstrom says there were several assigned readings that were part of longer works or anthologies, but “the one entire book assigned to the class was Martin Duberman’s Stonewall, and we spent a week talking about this iconic but relatively little-understood event in LGBT history. I found Duberman’s account an engaging read—a lot like literature, but tended to agree with some others, including the instructor, that a more detailed analysis of the riots and their context in the broader movement is contained in David Carter’s later book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, which wasn’t assigned but which I also read.”

Lofstrom also fills us in on details of the drag-name exercise that I refer to above. “Just combine the name of your first pet with your mother’s maiden name. Sometimes, the results are quite amusing.”

Another OAC connection is that the course is financed in part by a grant from the Endowed Fund for Academic Programs in LGBT Studies (APLS Fund), which was established in 2004 by OAC participants Tom Polgreen ’76 and Mel Rushton.

DeSoto notes that “baccalaureate colleges tend towards a strong individualism, and therefore have historically been suspicious of ‘identity’ studies, such as LGBT Studies”. But, as he sees it, “we live, ultimately, beyond the college gate and within the larger world, where identities matter, sometimes quite a lot”. He considers the task of integrating identity studies into the undergraduate curriculum to be a challenge and a thrill. He gratefully acknowledges the support of alumni, and other members of the Carleton community, in creating the LGBT fellowship that brought him to Carleton.DeSoto says that, in addition to teaching the course, the fellowship has entailed “meeting with the department as a member of Women's and Gender Studies, attending relevant campus events (such as Esther Newton's presentation in the fall, or other programming on campus, such as the recent luncheon on Politics in the Classroom), as well as holding office hours and being a campus faculty resource for LGBT students.” Newton, who teaches Women’s Studies and American Culture at the University of Michigan, visited Carleton in October 2007

Third LGBT Family Reunion Held October 2006

The third LGBT Family Reunion was held on campus October 6-8, 2006. Featured convo speaker was Brown University Professor of Biology Anne Fausto-Sterling, who spoke about scientific aspects and political issues of gender and sexual orientation. She lunched with students and reunion attendees afterwards in Great Hall, during which she offered additional insights and answered questions. The reunion also featured a crowded panel discussion on racial and sexual identity issues. It was co-sponsored with MCAN (Multi-Cultural Alumni Network) and featured students and MCAN/OAC alumni. Other weekend highlights included well-attended presentations on LGBT issues in parenting, religion, politics, film, and the media, and a packed talk by alumnus Glenn Tasky ’80 about male same-sex relationships in Afghanistan. Pride Awards were presented at the Friday dinner to Carleton’s former Director of Alumni Affairs Joan Higinbotham ’66 P97 and current Technical Director of Geology Tim Vick (see separate story). The dinner on Saturday was followed by a very enjoyable cabaret/talent show with student and alumni performances. The final brunch on Sunday was capped by a lively discussion about current concerns and future directions for OAC. Overall, more than 100 OAC alumni and their partners plus students and faculty attended the reunion. Especially welcome and notable was the involvement of current students throughout the weekend.

Pride Awards Presented to Higinbotham and Vick

In recognition of their longstanding support of LGBT students and alumni and for their quiet championing of awareness about and solutions to LGBT issues at Carleton, Pride Awards were presented to Joan Higinbotham ’66 P97 and Timothy Vick on October 6, 2006. Both have also been important supporters of OAC. Joan served for 8 years as Carleton’s Director of Alumni Affairs. In that position, she oversaw the planning and execution of the first LGBT Family Reunion in 1998 and, with a committee of OAC alumni, helped plan and, through her office, executed the second LGBT Family Reunion held on campus in 2002. Tim, Technical Director of Geology, coordinates a newsletter sent to LGBT-identified former Geology Department majors. In addition to being an active ally in OAC and the proud parent with his wife Jean of a queer daughter, he leads the Northfield ‘chapter’ of PFLAG, some of whose members have offered accommodations to attendees at the last two Family Reunions. Pride Awards have been given in past years to Carleton President Emeritus Stephen R. Lewis, Jr. and to Ruth and David Waterbury.

Family Reunion Planning Committee

Special thanks to the reunion planning co-chairs and all the committee members, who helped plan a fun-packed event! Hardworking Roger Levesque ’77 and Catherine Estelle “Stella” Nelson ’04 served as co-chairs of the Family Reunion Planning Committee, which met once in person during February 2006 and then last spring, summer, and early fall facilitated and coordinated many aspects of planning for the Third LGBT Family Reunion. Other members of the planning committee were: Scott Hirose ’88, Danny LaChance ’01, Kathy Moran ’79, Mikki Unson ’02, and Jo Young ’96. Also working with the committee were Director of Alumni Affairs Becky Zrimsek ’89, LGBT Student Advisor and Director of the GSC Kaaren Williamson-Garvey, and OAC Co-Chairs Beth Wright ’93 and Mark Lofstrom ’76. Mel Rushton, husband to Tom Polgreen ’76, drafted a letter sent to non-Carleton partners of alumni urging these same-sex OAC couples to consider attending the Family Reunion, and many did.

2007 OAC Leadership Committee

The OAC Leadership Committee looks at ways that OAC can be effective in programs for and outreach to its participants and how OAC can best serve and interact with the College and other alumni organizations. Since it’s beginning a little over three years ago, the group, among other things, has directed attention toward the 10% Campaign to increase participation in OAC, looked at issues related to the Third LGBT Family Reunion, and examined financial aid concerns occasioned by instances of parental estrangement. Members are selected by the existing leadership to provide a gender-balanced representation of alumni across decades and by expertise. Each member serves a three-year term, which is renewable one time before the OAC participant must at least take a break from service on the committee. In addition to participation in twice-yearly meetings, each member is expected to play a leadership role for OAC in something consonant with OAC’s goals and current needs. Also, ideally, a student and a first-year alumnus/a will both serve as members of the committee on an academic-year basis, providing critical representation of current LGBT students’ and recent graduates’ concerns and experiences. C.J. Griffiths served on the committee as student representative during 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 and during 2006-2007 is serving as the first-year alumni representative. Julie Nicol serves as the student representative on the committee for 2006-2007.

The committee meets on campus in April during the weekend of the Pride Banquet and convenes by telephone conference call each fall. The 2007 OAC Leadership Committee is comprised of Rich Banyard ’79, Cory Calmes ’95, Laura Clise ’01, Scott Dale ’88, C.J. Griffiths ’06, Mark Lofstrom ’76 (OAC Co-Chair), Larnzell Martin ’72, Julie Nicol ’07, Naja Shabazz ’05, Naomi Siegal ’80, Beth Wright ’93 (OAC Co-Chair), and Jo Young ’96. Concluding their service on the Leadership Committee at the end of 2006, with special thanks for their involvement with the group and their active support of OAC, were Jovita Baber ’90, Mike Estrera ’01, Scott Hirose ’88, Betsy McEneaney ’83, and Diane Quaid ’69.

OAC Co-Sponsors Book Groups

OAC successfully co-sponsored book groups with MCAN (MultiCultural Alumni Network) in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis during September 2006. OAC participants in Denver got together for a book discussion as well. The groups met to talk about Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino. The book was one of the optional common readings for the third LGBT Family Reunion held in October 2006 (see separate story), and the after-hours meetings were an experiment to see how OAC might work with another college volunteer organization on an event of mutual interest. A shorter article titled “Covering” by Kenji Yoshino appeared in a January 2006 issue of The New York Times Sunday magazine and was one of two recommended common readings for the reunion. Yoshino claims that, thanks to civil rights laws, discrimination in American society now rarely occurs against groups; instead, discrimination mainly involves individuals who fail to ‘cover,’ or sufficiently “tone down” a stigmatized identity. The book and the article cite several lawsuits involving unsuccessful plaintiffs who claimed discrimination against them based on their race, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. Yoshino is a professor as well as deputy dean of intellectual life at Yale Law School.

OACers in Seattle Enjoy Multi-College Alumni Event

In February 2006, OAC joined with Oberlin, Bates, Colby, Colorado (College), Macalester, Middlebury, Pomona, Reed, Swarthmore, and Whitman to hold an informal social event for LGBT alumni at Barca, a gay bar in Seattle. Here is an excerpt from the e-mail report about the event sent by Oberlin’s alumni office staffer Paul Wolansky:

"Big kudos go out to Carleton's rep [Matt Fikse '87, OAC founder and former chair] who brought extra nametags, came early and did a great job meeting/greeting. I would say Carleton had the most folks show up . . . ."

If you’d be willing to help put together an event in your city for LGBT alumni from Carleton and other liberal arts colleges, please let us know so we can explore options for staging a similar gathering with your help.

OAC Leadership Committee meeting:

The Out After Carleton Leadership Committee met at the end of April 2006 to continue their work towards expanding and strengthening the network of alumni subscribed to the program, as well as to discuss ways to better serve the current students still on campus. Larnzell Martin '72 and Laura Clise '01 researched and drafted language to present to the College regarding issues of parental estrangement while attending Carleton. There was also significant planning for the upcoming Family Reunion in October, including possible events before and after the reunion itself.
(Written by C.J. Griffiths '06)

Endowed fund for LGBT Studies started:

Officially titled the "Endowed Fund for Academic Programs in LGBT Studies," the APLS fund was established in 2004 by Dr. Thomas Polgreen '76 and his partner Melvin Rushton. Programs are administered through the Women's and Gender Studies Program, and the dollars produced by the fund are used for things such as: bringing pre- or post-doctoral fellows to campus for a term to offer student courses and lead workshops for faculty, allowing current faculty to research issues and develop courses in the highly interdisciplinary field of LGBT Studies, and bringing distinguished lecturers to campus for programs of durations shorter than a full term. The fund is "open," meaning anyone can donate to it at any time. Gifts meant to augment the APLS Fund should be designated at the time they are made and are considered restricted contributions that do not "count" for Annual Fund credit. The endowed fund's establishment was announced at the fall 2004 OAC Leadership Committee meeting (see story below).
(Written by Mark Lofstrom '76 and C.J. Griffiths '06)

Human Sexuality Endowment Fund update:

The Endowment Fund on Issues of Human Sexuality (commonly known as the Human Sexuality Endowment Fund) was established in 1993 through a generous gift from Ruth Harkison Waterbury '57 and David Waterbury, who wished to improve the campus climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. Since its creation, nearly more than 240 people have made nearly 460 donations to the fund.

It is used to support a wide range of programs for Carleton’s LGBT community and its straight allies and helps all Carleton students to explore issues surrounding sexual orientation, affectional preference, and gender identity. This goal is achieved through funding for guest speakers, travel to conferences and events, the purchase of library books, social events, campus-wide awareness campaigns, and support groups. Examples of guest speakers whom the Human Sexuality Endowment Fund has brought to campus are artist Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” Mel White, leader of the Soulforce organization who speaks to the experience of being gay and Christian in America, and Debra Davis, a transgender activist from the Twin Cities.

The fund also supports the arts on campus. For example, in 2002, it was used for a student-directed and performed production of The Laramie Project, a play based on interviews with people from Matthew Shepard’s hometown, and the cost of scripts for Ntozake Shange’s play For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. The Human Sexuality Endowment Fund has also paid for students to travel to events like the annual Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Ally Conference and the 2000 Millennium March in Washington, D.C., and for transportation to the Twin Cities annual Pride Month celebration.

Finally, for the past four years, the fund has supported the LGBT retreat, which provides a space for LGBT and allied students to go off-campus, build community, and share their experiences. The Human Sexuality Endowment Fund is administered through the Gender and Sexuality Center, which addresses LGBT issues on campus as well as men’s and women’s issues. The center is located in the basement of Scoville.
(Written by Katie O'Connell '05)

First OAC Leadership Committee meeting:

On a beautiful November weekend in 2004, the newly formed OAC Leadership Committee churned through a 20-hour agenda designed to transfigure the informal, ad hoc group formed by 18 alumni at the '92 reunion, to a potent presence in support of students, faculty, staff and the College. It was the culmination of planning by OAC Co-Chairs Karen Peterson '76 and Mark Lofstrom '76, who also successfully petitioned in fall 2003 to have OAC formally represented on the Alumni Council (beginning spring 2004).

After slogging through creation of governance rules, making laundry lists of practical applications & plans, and weaving pie-in-the-sky future dreams (cruises? scholarships?), the Committee was unanimous in its determination that growing the network was critical to success. "Sheer numbers are the key to influence, effectiveness and clout" said Jovita Baber, who is spearheading the 10% Campaign participation drive.

The group will be launching its formal drive during Spring 2005, offering a smorgasbord of participant options ranging from "Count me in but don't even think about contacting me" to "I wish to devote every waking hour to OAC." They welcome as participants and supporters alumni, current students, faculty, and staff who can pass the alphabet soup litmus test: LBGTQF&A - Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered, Queer, and Friends & Allies who can be family, fellow travelers, partners, those in committed single-sex relationships and other well-wishers.

Note: The 2005 meeting of the OAC Leadership Committee will be April 22-23, 2005, coinciding with the annual Pride Banquet, a highlight of Pride Month on campus.
(Written by Diane Quaid '69)

Student Climate Survey complete:

Leadership Committee members Laura Clise '01, Mike Estrera '01, and C.J. Griffiths '06 developed a student climate survey for current lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and allied students on campus. The goal was to evaluate what needs these students currently have, and how best the OAC alumni network could benefit them. Opinions varied across the board as to the culture across campus, but students were united in their desire to have more interactions with alumni.
(Written by C.J. Griffiths '06)

10% Campaign underway:

R. Jovita Baber '90 is heading up the 10% Campaign, which will work to substantially increase the number of Carleton alumni participating in the OAC network. After the Leadership Committee meeting in April 2005, the campaign will kick off with new outreach programs for contacting potential OAC members. Roger Levesque '77 is co-chairing the initiative.
(Written by C.J. Griffiths '06)

OAC activates liaisons with other alumni stewardship initiatives

During summer and fall of 2004, OAC Co-Chair Mark Lofstrom '76 met with the Multicultural Alumni Network's Executive Committee Chair Luke Lara '99 to discuss liaisons and potential collaborative efforts between OAC and MCAN. Luke and Mark made a presentation at the Alumni Council's fall 2004 meeting on diversity issues and collaboration between OAC and MCAN, and Mark chaired a panel at the MCAN Gathering (held on campus in October 2004) examining the intersection of LGBT and multicultural identity issues on campus and among alumni.

Following the OAC Leadership Committee meeting in November, Mike Estrera '01 has been appointed as the official liaison between OAC and MCAN and will attend MCAN Executive Committee meetings whenever possible.

Gary Kagawa '79, a member of the Alumni Admissions Board, served for the remainder of his term on that board as liaison with OAC reporting on LGBT issues and developments in Carleton's recruitment and admissions programs. OAC is discussing ways to effectively monitor and act as a resource in Admissions processes.

Additional liaisons between OAC and other alumni stewardship networks and initiatives are being studied, including ones with the 'C' Club (the informal network of alumni who were varsity athletes while attending Carleton), the Careers and Networking group, and the Alumni Annual Fund Board.
(written by Mark Lofstrom '76)

Current student activities:

Many students participated in the recent departmental review of the Gender and Sexuality Center, the first since its inception, and are awaiting the external reviewer's report, due in June. New Center Associates were also hired for the upcoming academic year, making up the largest student staff to date.

Despite the conclusion of a successful Pride 2006, students are still conducting programs, including a fishbowl-style discussion on gender, a performance by the Pangea World Theater, and a LGBTA panel with Northfield high school students.

A number of events are also planned for Senior Week and Commencement, as the class of 2006 prepares to graduate.

(Written by C.J. Griffiths '06)