This is the Frequently Asked Questions page for Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride. The purpose of this page is to provide answers to questions that have been raised frequently by the members of Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride. Rather than go through these questions repeatedly, we have created a FAQ page for members of Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride.
Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride was originally called the Mount Holyoke College Lesbian Alumnae Network (MHCLAN), which was started in 1986 by Donna Albino '83 in part because of a chance meeting at Boston's Gay Pride that year. There were 140 members at the end of its first year and it has grown steadily since then.
Its initial purpose was to allow women loving alumnae to network with one another and to provide support for one another. The MHCLAN offered a newsletter that served as a forum for its members. Additionally, the MHCLAN served as a means for keeping alumnae informed of campus events and encouraging intergenerational conversations and friendships.
The MHCLAN was independent from the official MHC Alumnae Association, and its mailing list was not shared with them. The MHCLAN advertised in the Quarterly and occassionally got address updates from the Alumnae Office if the post office was not helpful. The Alumnae Office was never told why the requests for addresses are being made.
In 2003, after extended discussion on-line between members of the MHCLAN, several decisions were made: 1) to pursue affiliation with the Alumnae Association, 2) to change the name of the organization to Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride (MHLP) to reflect members' growing concern to be inclusive of all sexual minorities, and 3) to cease paper mailings of the newsletter in favor of use the Internet for communication.
1) What is Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride is group for lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed, and queer alumnae/alumni, students, faculty and staff of Mount Holyoke College and their partners.
2) Who can join Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride is open to students and alumnae of Mount Holyoke who are of any sexual orientation and who want to network with others. Additionally, MHLP welcomes women on the staff and faculty who share this desire. Alumnae value communication with women on campus as a way of keeping informed of current events. Our bylaws recognize three levels of membership:
- Active Member: Any alumna/us is eligible for Active Membership on the payment of annual dues. Only Active Members may vote in our annual meeting.
- Associate Member: Any former or present member of the faculty or staff, any current or former student of Mount Holyoke College, or any partner of an Active Member may become an Associate Member on the payment of annual dues.
- Honorary Member: The Board of Directors of the Club may nominate special persons for Honorary Membership in the Club and such nominees shall become Honorary Members, enjoying all rights and privileges associated with said membership, upon there election by a three-quarters (3/4) vote of the members at the Annual Meeting.
3) How do I become a member of Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
4) Can I have my anonymity protected?
Yes. Currently only a small number of our members choose to do this (only about 20 out of about 800), but it is an option for those who have concerns about being out for whatever reason. Please indicate your desire to be anonymous when sending in your request for membership. Anonymous members are not included in the members-only-access directory.
5) How much are membership dues and to whom do I pay them?
Our bylaws state that our dues are a sliding scale from $1 to $20 for Active and Associate Members, with an option for waiving dues altogether. If you would like to be a member, but cannot afford to pay even at the low end of the sliding scale, you must write a letter stating your desire for membership and your inability to pay, and send it to the treasurer. Only those people who pay dues or write a letter desiring membership to the treasurer will be considered members; all the other people on our mailing list will be considered inactive members. You can send a check or money order made out to "Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride" to our Treasurer.
6) Why was the name of the MHCLAN changed to Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
The focus of the MHCLAN was on women loving women. Bisexual and transgendered individuals were always welcome as members, but there had been a desire to keep the focus on the women-loving aspects of our lives. MHCLAN could not offer a forum for discussing male lovers, and did not feel that it could say it was a network that served the full scope of the needs of bisexual women. When the opportunity to affiliate with the Alumnae Association arose, to do so precluded using a name which included "Mount Holyoke College." Rather than simply dropping the word "College" from the name without discussion, a variety of potential new names were suggested, many of which reflected the growing interest of members to make the organization more inclusive of all sexual minorities, including bisexual women, transgendered, and intersexed people. The name "Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride" was inspired by the name of the College's founder, Mary Lyon.
7) Do women who get married to men have to give up their membership in Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
Absolutely not! Women who enjoy networking with women loving women were always welcome in the MHCLAN as long as they wished, regardless of marital status. Despite this policy, the MHCLAN saw many women leave the network, some quietly, and some with an announcement to the newsletter first. It was never because they were kicked out. It was usually because the focus of their lives had changed and they no longer felt that MHCLAN membership was relevant to them.We hope that the renaming and broadening of the scope of the group as MHLP will provide relevant resources and networking for these women. If there is any interest in creating a discussion list for bisexual.
8) How do I get an online membership?
Once you are a member (see #3), if you submit an email address, you will be subscribed to the email newsletter that goes out to members. You will also get a username and password to access the members-only area of the website, where the membership directory, discussion forum, and past newsletters are available.
Please note: When the website moved from mhlyonspride.org to mhlp.org, we switched from using mailing lists for discussions to posting them to the members-only forum.
9) Is there any special Netiquette for posting emails to the lists?
Yes, it is polite to sign emails with your name and your class or affiliation.
10) Are FtM transsexuals welcome in Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
This issue originally came up before the membership in 2001, when a longtime member transitioned and formally asked if he could still be a member because he felt an affinity to the College and to the queer community. Forty members wrote in response, and all of them supported keeping this member in the network. When the group changed to Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride, the membership specifically indicated that the scope of the group was to include transgendered and intersexed people. There is current interest in forming a subgroup for anyone interested in gender issues -- butch/femme, transsexual/transgender, and intersex among them. One of the discussion lists, LP-Gender-Chat, is the first forum specifically dedicated to these issues for our members, where discussion will include the possibility of forming an official subgroup within Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride.
11) You said LBTI and queer alumni/ae, students, faculty and staff are welcome. What is queer, if not LBTI?
There are many other sexual minorities and marginalized "deviants" beyond LBTI. We wanted to include them in our definition, but not necessarily give a laundry list of all of them and inadvertently leave out a category of people we would otherwise welcome into this group. The word "queer" is meant to encompass all these sexual orientations that are not mainstream, and that take place between consenting adults. Polyamory, swinging, and kinky are good examples of queer orientations that we welcome in Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride.
12) Where can I get information about the Jolene Fund that is associated with Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride?
Here is a link to an informational page for the Jolene Fund.
Written by Nicki Nicolo '76, Donna Albino '83, and Margo Burns '79.
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