Queer Fear at CMC: On an Incident in Stark Hall
I didn’t expect the hate—especially not in CMC’s Stark Hall.
It seemed as if someone had been specifically targeting the LGBT posters ever since they went up, ripping them and flipping them over so their contents weren’t visible. The other posters looked in good shape. On Friday, February 8, someone wrote an ignorant comment on a Spectrum poster depicting what appeared to be a male with red fingernails: “Your [sic] a man, act like it.”Who would expect LGBT hate here at the Claremont Colleges? Most 5C students might agree that this occurrence is less unexpected at Claremont McKenna College.
While exploring online forums about CMC before admittance, I remember reading a thread about CMC being the least LGBT-friendly campus at the Claremont Colleges. However, I soon brushed it off when I “prospied” and my host mentioned a male friend’s latest guy crush.
Taking classes at the Keck Science Department and interacting with non-CMC students, I could see more active support of the queer community and gender-based issues from the other colleges, including more lectures, social events, and conversations about these topics. Of course, this does not mean CMC does not offer support for other social issues; we are just particularly deficient in LGBT support. The Athenaeum celebrates the “Spectrum of Leadership” by inviting speakers like Dan Savage and Tony Kushner, but is the student body as inviting?
Claremont McKenna has only one not-so-large club, the Alliance for Queer Appreciation and Understanding (AQUA), that supports the campus’s LBGT community. The existence of off-campus 5C resources like the Queer Resource Center does not mean that the CMC campus is as supportive.
Is our community not supportive enough to deter unacceptable behavior like the vandalism of LGBT posters? While it is impossible to convince every person on this planet to stop spreading hate, we can seek to foster an environment in which no one will think this kind of thing is acceptable here at CMC.
The LGBT community in the U.S. has made significant headway, gaining the right to marry by popular vote in Maine, Maryland, and Washington this past election. But with progress comes backlash. There is staunch resistance against the gay community. There is hate. But at least on our campuses we can create an understanding home for our students.
I urge the CMC student body to support our LGBT community and AQUA by attending events and participating in Ally Week in April. Show these people that hate is not what CMC is about.
Viva CMC. Viva a supportive community.
AQUA meets Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in the Auen Hall lounge. There will be a Queer and Ally Social 1-4 p.m. in C-Hall this Saturday, February 22.