“It takes a lot to get up here,” said Ginny Suss ’99, but many students were able to stand on Chapin steps and present their views at this year’s queer pride rally. Members of the Williams Bi, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered Union (BGLTU) had the weather on their side as they hosted the annual queer rally which was held last Saturday.
BGLTU co-coordinator Laura Guichard ’99, who spent most of the afternoon on the stage, said, “queer pride is not a complacent idea that you are not homophobic. Queer pride is about speaking queer pride and doing queer pride,” which was the idea behind the rally.
Guichard called on anyone at the rally to come on the stage and speak. “You need to be there for each other, support each other, that’s what this rally is all about,” she said. “Speak your queer pride.”
One of the first speeches of the day was given by Greg Bloch ’99, who started by saying, “The people who need to hear this the most aren’t the people that are listening.”
Bloch talked about how queer people often remain in the closet because they worry about how they will be treated by the rest of the society. “None of this is going to change unless queer people stop being invisible,” he said.
Over the course of the afternoon various students and other members of the community gave speeches. Some were as simple as people getting up on stage and expressing their support for queer pride.
One of the more forceful speeches of the afternoon was given by BGLTU co-coordinator Andrew Singer ’00. “We would not be doing our job if we were not addressing some homophobia that exists on this campus,” he said.
Singer talked about how recent incidents of homophobia on campus “took away our sense of security and made us feel that we are not safe at Williams College.”
Singer presented the idea that Junior Advisors should take up more of the responsibility of defining what kind of behavior is and is not acceptable as a member of the Williams community. “If you do not speak up when someone makes a homophobic comment to another person you are encouraging the homophobia that exists at our college, that exists in our society.”
Singer said that the BGLTU will be working closely with the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) to address some of these issues.