Chalkings serve no purpose

To the Editor:

Once again, certain members of the BGLTU have covered the sidewalk of our campus with chalk-written comments, criticisms and condemnations of an unnecessarily vulgar variety. Despite our remarkably different backgrounds, as female and male, queer and straight, coordinator of the Queer Peer Counselors and president of the Garfield Republican Club, we were both dismayed at the sight of several such chalkings.

Under normal circumstances, we know what these chalkings are intended to accomplish: they are intended to allow for free expression, to jar us from narrow positions, and to challenge certain maxims, most notably hate the sin, love the sinner. However, these recent, explicit chalkings have an additional effect, namely, to create hostility toward the queer community, and understandably so: some of these chalkings were extremely offensive, to queers and heterosexuals alike.

It seems to us that the purpose of Queer Pride Days, chalkings included, is to encourage a friendly environment in which to ’come out’ and to foster positive relations between queers and heterosexuals: these vulgar chalkings seem to be more than slightly counter-productive.

As suggested above, heterosexuals are not the only ones offended by such graphic displays; they are an encouragement neither to the ’closeted’ queer yearning express his sexuality nor the heterosexual learning to support his queer friends. We think it imperative that the campus realize that not all queers are in favor of these chalkings and that, even within the BGLTU, the debate over their continued use is a heated one.

While we will not discuss here the potential benefits of less-explicit chalkings, we do think it necessary to criticize these most recent chalkings. We urge future organizers of Queer Pride Days to find alternative, and perhaps more constructive, methods of expressing themselves.

Erica Hyman ’98,

Queer Peer Counselors

Jon Wesley Foreman ’00,

Garfield Republican Club

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