by Cammy Hood
The Lesbian Support Group is no longer. In its place stands the Lesbian Alliance Group, whose new name illustrates a gradual change over the last four years to a more outgoing, politically active organization.
From its conception four years ago the group has grown in numbers -- it now includes approximately 25 members -- and developed confidence. Although it still views itself primarily as a support group, it has been increasingly concerned with the campus's continued lack of acceptance.
"What we really want is to be secure in our sexual identity so that gays and straights would tease each other; to laugh with one another," said one member.
"We want to have fun and laugh a lot. We want to make our lives happier. But also, we want to educate people on campus so we aren't seen as weird. This hasn't changed," said another.
Out of their concern for creating a more tolerant community, the group has presented films and scheduled workshops on women's sexuality. This semester they will be pursuing these activities and adding new ones such as dances, concerts and readings of lesbian literature.
It is this same committment [sic] to becoming known on campus which led members of the group to retain the word lesbian in their new title.
"We played around with a lot of silly names, like 'Those Women'. We feel it is important to keep in the word 'Lesbian'. It's important for the community to see it on posters and fliers," one member said.
In response to the suggestion that the "alliance" connotes a banding together to prepare for battle, one group member said:
"Yes, there is definitely an enemy force that works against lesbians. We face it every day of our life." In the middle of the interview, the name of someone connected with the group was whispered so that the reporter could not hear it. "You see this?" one member exclaimed, "This goes on all the time; we live with this. During meetings we have to close doors, because there are people..."
The path to a form affirmation of their existence has already been a long and difficult one. Some members of the group recalled how on October 2, 1975, a lonely woman sent out a plea through Choragos to anyone who would join her in revealing her lesbianism. In her letter, she invited other women to meet her in Eliot House on Thursday nights. She spoke of the loneliness and hurt involved in admitting gayness to herself and others, and signed herself "Astronomer".
In succeeding issues the "Astronomer" received a large and supportive response. One man responded, thanking her for her bravery in writing the letter. Other letters came from lesbians, relieved that they could finally come together from discussion and mutual support. One group of women wrote in to express their dismay at a campus which "supposedly attempts to create and encourage diversity and stimulate personal expression ... but has succeeded in effectively stifling at least one woman's freedom to express herself."
The group which met regularly on Thursday night because, therefore, a "Support Group." It was a place where gay women and all women who were confused about their sexual orientation could find friendship and legitimacy.
The recent name-change simply underlines that the group will be "including support, but more than that," according to one member.