All campus email sent out this afternoon with subject: This e-mail is NOT gay

Students,

On behalf of College Council, we are writing to you about an issue that is relevant to the entire Williams community. Multiple students have recently approached Council members surrounding the issue of homophobic language on campus. Active forms of homophobia are relatively easy to recognize, but we are talking about something much more subtle, while no less harmful.

Phrases such as “that’s so gay,” ”fag,” “no homo,” or “dyke” even when they are not directed at a gay* person or used with malicious intent, equate homosexuality with something that is negative. The implication is there, whether it is intended or not. When these terms are used, it creates a climate of homophobia on this campus.

While this is a problem in and of itself, it is also destructive to our community. Students who hear you say these things in the common room, the locker room, on Spring Street, or cheering in the stands of a Williams-Amherst basketball game may be offended, whether or not they identify as gay.

Equating homosexuality with something to dislike or to be ashamed of is not only insulting and homophobic, but also prevents students from being open with themselves and their identity in the Williams community.

It may not seem like this is an important issue to many students, but many of your peers have come to us with this concern, such that a message needed to be sent. What has your reaction to this e-mail been? What assumptions have you made just in reading this message?

Malicious homophobia does not belong in the Williams Community and homophobic language—unknowing and unaware—is something equally offensive that we need to be more conscious of.

On behalf of the students who deal with this issue on a daily basis, don’t just censor yourself in front of people you think might get upset, but don’t use these words in front of anyone. Ever.

Thank you for reading.

The Entire College Council and Sarah Bolton, Dean of the College

*In this email we are using the term “gay” as an umbrella term, but it is actually quite limiting. When we say “gay” we are pointing to the entire Queer community at Williams, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified students. This language hurts every single one of them, not just “gay” students.

Emanuel Yekutiel

Co-President

Ifiok Inyang

Co-President

Beryl Manning-Geist

Secretary

Francesca Barrett

Treasurer

Jamal Jefferson

Community and Diversity Rep.

Joey Kiernan

Class of 2011 Rep.

Amanda Weatherhead

Class of 2012 Rep.

Krista Pickett

Class of 2013 Rep.

Peter Skipper

Dodd at Large Rep.

Jack Noelke

Wood at Large Rep.

Zach Evans

Spencer at Large Rep.

James Elish

Currier at Large Rep.

Cameron Nutting

Dodd Board Rep.

Farhan Gilani

Wood Board Rep.

Moyukh Gosh

Spencer Board Rep.

Stefan Ward-Wheten

Currier Board Rep.

Mattia Wruble

Sage Hall Rep.

Dan Lima

Williams Hall Rep.

Eric Liao

Mills Rep.

April Jenkins

Pratt Rep.

Anshita Khandelwal

Armstrong Rep.

Alexis Akridge

Dennett Rep.

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email