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By WARREN BLUMENFELD

W

hen I entered college a few years ago, I felt a

sense of joy at finding what I considered a more

open-minded atmosphere than that in high school.

In college, for the first time, I joined with other people to

demonstrate our open opposition to the war in Vietnam;

now I felt the joy of joining with my Black and Chicano

sisters and brothers in our common struggle against housing

discrimination around campus by the local slumlords; now I

was able to voice my disgust at the state of ecology by

helping to plan workshops during specified ecology teach–

ins held around campus.

All of these activities gave me a greater sense of worth,

in that now I felt free to act upon many of my previously

held ideals. Something was still missing though. There

remained within me a great unescapable void because I was

a homosexual on a straight American college campus. I

knew the time was drawing near for me to make a decision

of either admitting my homosexuality to myself and others,

or else remaining in my suppressed state as I had done ever

since I could remember. I continually asked myself why '

there were no openly Gay people or Gay organizations on

campus.

Then one day in the campus newspaper, I saw a

headline, in big bold letters,"Gay Liberation Front Denied

Campus Recognition." The article went on to say that the

chancellor of the California State College system had

denied recognition of the campus chapter of the Gay

Liberation Front on the premises that:

1. " ...

the effect of recognition by the college of Gay

Liberation Front could conceivably be to endorse, or to

promote homosexual behavior, to attract humosexuals

to the campus, and to expose minors to homosexual

advocacy and practices; and

2. " ... belief that the proposed Front created too great a

risk for students- a risk which might lead students to

engage in illegal homosexual behavior."

Recovering from my initial disgust and outrage over such

absurd reasoning, I decided to "come out of my closet." I

soon joined an encounter group in the college counseling

center, that gave me the support I needed to start handling

22

Gays

on

pus

my homosexuality in a constructive and creative way. Soon

I gained the needed courage to contact the coordinator of

the local Gay liberation group, and became involved in Gay

activities and Gay sensitivity groups.

The void is finally being filled because now I have found

people who are proud of their Gayness-people who are no

longer putting up with the oppressive conditions which our

society imposes on us.

The inception of the first Gay student campus group

back in

1968

at Columbia University in New York sparked

the growth of the new Gay student movement in this

country. At the present time, there exist over

150

Gay

student groups located on college and university campuses

throughout the United States. Although the Gay student

movement is a nationwide movement, it has different

meanings and is called different names depending on its

location or its political, social, or moral philosophies. Some

examples are the Gay Liberation Front at Rocky Mountain

College, in Billings, Montana, "HOPS" (Homophiles of

Penn. State}, and FREE (GLF at the University of

Minnesota). Some other student groups also go by the name

of the Gay Activists Alliance, the Student Homophile

~ea~ue,

the Radicalesbians, or names which have special

s1gn1ficance to the individual group.

As the names of the groups vary to an extent so do

their purposes and their

structure~.

Some

grou~s

may

concentrate their major emphasis on the political aspect of

the Gay movement while others concern themselves with

bringing the Gay student community together for social

gatherings. In essence, what all the groups are saying is that

they demand the same rights and privileges that non-gay

people enjoy on and off college campuses; they also

demand the right to organize themselves to unite in a

common

~ffort

against their common oppression. Although

the orgamc structure of each group varies from campus to

ca~pu~,

many similarities do exist. For the most part, there

ex1st either elected or volunteer officers or coordinators

who facilitate activities and serve as group spokespeople.

Usually the various organizations are divided up into small

committees or collectives composed of volunteers. Com–

mittees common to many groups provide social and cultural

motive