Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  25 / 70 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 25 / 70 Next Page
Page Background

activity planning, coordinate speakers bureaus, provide

publicity sometimes through regular newsletters, and plan

political actions.

T

he basic structure of each group depends on

the needs of the individuals which comprise

the membership . As the needs of each group

vary, so do the activities of different groups. Within the

last year, many exciting and creative activities and publica–

tions have come forth throughout the nation . It was the

Gay student groups which were instrumental in organizing

regional and national conferences on homosexuality at

Rutgers University in New Jersey, at the University of

Minnesota in Minneapolis, at the University of Texas in

Austin, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and

at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. At these con–

ferences, the local Gay campus groups organized workshops

and panels dealing with the struggles and goals of Gay

people on and off campus. These workshops, panel dis–

cussions and Gay rap groups were organized for the dele–

gates to supply them with new ideas and insights to take

back to their campuses.

Aside from these regional and national Gay conferences,

individual Gay campus groups have expanded their activi–

ties and projects this past year; a large number of groups

have organized Gay consciousness-raising groups for their

members as well as for non-Gay students on campus. These

groups are generally referred to as "consciousness-raising,"

rather than, say, encounter groups or therapy groups, in

order to get over the stigma of the oppressive Freudian/

psychoanalytical therapy situation. The consciousness–

raising groups usually do not have a "leader" or "trained"

psychotherapist and are based solely on the input of each

individual in the group.

While Gay consciousness-raising is one expression com–

mon to large numbers of Gay campus groups, there is also a

trend underway, in which Gays have formed communes and

living centers where Gay men and gay women live together

under one roof for the purpose of developing a lifestyle

which they have chosen on their own.

Another phenomenon which is relatively recent to the

1972

college scene but which is growing gradually is the Gay

campus coffeehouse. One in particular is the Gay coffee–

house at the University of Maryland in College Park called,

of all things, "The Closet Door."

On entering, one is struck by the casual relaxed atmos–

phere which surrounds the place. The lights are soft and the

mellow voices of judy Collins and James Taylor often fill

the air. Maybe fifty or so men and women pour Cokes and

coffee and eat cookies and potato chips, for a while at least

shutting off the oppressive straight world outside. Coffee–

houses also provide good places for Gay people under

twenty-one years of age to get together.

Another place where Gay people get together in a

non-hurried and upfront atmosphere is at "Gay House,"

run by the Gay Liberation Front chapter at the University

of Minnesota. This house is, in essence, a three -story Gay

community center funded by a private foundation and

offers counseling and other services lo the student and en–

tire Gay community of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Other

Gay community centers are either already in existence or

are being planned for other cities across the country.

Gay consciousness is reaching campuses even where no

organized group exists. One example of how a single Gay

person can raise the issue of homosexuality effectively

comes from Mary Washington College, a women's college in

Fredericksburg, Virginia, where a previously undeclared

Gay editor of the campus newspaper "came out" with an

issue of the paper devoted entirely to the topic of homosex–

uality and students' attitudes toward it. It was the editor's

position that Gay people on her campus were discriminated

against whether it be in the dormitories or in the classroom.

She mentioned specifically that the attitudes of the other

women toward homosexuality made it extremely difficult

for an open Gay person to function on her campus. These

attitudes were evident in a poll which she conducted among

222 students representing about ten percent of the Mary

Washington College population. In the poll, it was dis–

covered that more than three-quarters of those questioned

believed that homosexuals are basically psychologically dis–

turbed and more than one-fifth would make a personal

23