A couple of years ago, shortly after I officially came out and everyone that I knew was aware of my sexuality, I attended a handful of Pride Alliance (then referred to as Rainbow Alliance; thank heavens for that change, at least) meetings and unfortunately gave up after some time, as I was sourly disappointed. Out of the four of five meetings that I attended, only one discussed topics of importance, such as coming out and LGBT-related bullying. Other than that, all we talked about was sex, sex, sex. One time that I went, the students played a game which involved placing flavored condoms on bananas and then tasting them with their eyes closed and having to guess what the flavor was. Another time, anilingus was discussed, and a powerpoint presentation played which depicted various sex positions. Another time, various sex toys, such as dildos and handcuffs, were presented via a powerpoint presentation. I know that I was not the only one that this offended, as another male student whose name I will not provide said that he was offended. These kinds of meetings give power to those who disregard homosexuality as nothing more than promiscuous horseplay, and there are many that are against homosexuality for that very reason; they are so indoctrinated by representations of LGBT people (especially gay men) as promiscuous partiers that are not capable of settling down in a serious relationship but instead of have sex with various partners on a regular basis. What is Pride Alliance doing to remedy that by focusing so heavily on sex?
I have not gone much since, so I don’t know if changes have been made under the new president, but I have heard that it really hasn’t. I did go to the most recent meeting, which involved Rachel Walerstein providing a presentation, primarily on what it means to be an ally, and that was a lot more productive than the Pride Alliance activities to which I am accustomed. However, it is quite obvious to me that someone is trying to keep Pride Alliance as silent as possible, because I always remember having a large room with a computer and projector; the new room has absolutely nothing, only chairs and a white board with some markers, not all of which work. There are no desks or tables, and there is no computer or projector, and this made Rachel’s job as a presenter difficult. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that Pride Alliance has virtually no presence on campus except on Coming Out Day when it provides t-shirts and, of course, when it hosts the Drag Ball. It needs a better room for meetings where productive activities can be conducted, and it needs a stronger presence on campus. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way; am I correct in saying that?
Additionally, it upsets me that Pride Alliance is a group listed under “Special Interests,” alongside groups such as chess, while Asian Culture Club and groups such as that are listed under Culture. In my opinion, Pride Alliance should be listed under Culture, as well, as it is a diversity just the same as a nationality/ethnicity is. A professor that is in agreement with me joked that it is not like one might say “Oh, I like being gay/lesbian” when asked what he or she is interested in. Homosexuality has a history, and gay men and lesbian women have been beaten down just like African Americans, Jewish people, etc. have been. Many forget, for example, that gay men were targeted during the Holocaust, as well, and they were beaten, tortured, and killed, forced to sleep in their underwear as they were watched all night. Does this sound like something as trivial as chess to you? When I went to Rachel’s presentation last week, I would estimate that there were probably less than twenty people present, which doesn’t compare to what was probably closer to fifty or sixty when I went a couple of years ago, so I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
3 thoughts on “Pride Alliance in Need of Reformation”
I am very interested in the LGBT community at Oswego. As a transfer student, and having had an excellent experience at my previous school with such an organization, I feel sad of such report you posted. Im not disagreeing with your observations, but hoping some of the leaders will see it and make rational choices to improve an organization that should be a valuable asset to our community. Creating an environment to welcome students not put them in awkward and potentially sexually harassing situations, both of which I find disgustingly and blatantly inappropriate.
Thankfully now that the organization is under new leadership many changes have occured, the meetings are now thoughtful and productive and PRIDE is very active on campus, last semester they had a whole month dedicated to OUTober and every day had at least one event. Although this is fantastic to see there is still a large amount of work to be done if we want to make SUNY Oswego an LGBTQ friendly environment.
Pride Alliance is totally doing a much better job now; I agree. The blog entry to which you replied is old, and I have since posted a blog entry that discusses how the organization has changed for the better.