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Poster attack was act of hatred

I have some good news and some bad news, with regard to human rights for MIT students. The good news is that Wednesday, after 17 years of effort, the Massachusetts Senate approved the lesbian and gay civil rights bill. The bad news is that MIT students seem to be lacking in basic human compassion. Yesterday morning, right after National Coming Out Day, there were anonymous posters placed in the Infinite Corridor which said, "Okay gays. The party's over. Get back in the closet." Such a blatant act of hatred, cruelty, and fear would be appalling anywhere, but it is even more disillusioning at this institute of higher learning.

I wonder what could possibly have elicited the hatred and terror that would motivate an anonymous, cruel attack on a group of fellow students. The purpose of National Coming Out Day was to make it clear that there are gay and lesbian and bisexual students on campus, and that all people have the right to safely exist here. Several students had personal coming out experiences printed in the Infinite Corridor display panel. Other students also had their pictures on the panel. These students courageously put themselves on the line in order to further a cause they believe in. All the Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Friends at MIT posters had a phone number on them, and the individual stories were accompanied by full names and years. If someone was offended by any of GAMIT's material, they could easily have contacted us to discuss their feelings.

Not only were the anonymous posters an act of cowardice and ignorance, they also go directly against MIT policy which forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The response posters showed ignorance and fear. Why is it that these people feel so threatened by the existence of gay people? Are you really so uncomfortable in your sexuality that you find diversity threatening? If these people truly believe in what they printed, why was there no name, phone number, or any identification on the posters? Why would anyone feel the need to urge others to hide their identity? I am willing to hear criticism of GAMIT, or of my own views, when it is presented directly and intelligently.

If anyone has questions about coming out or wants to discuss any of the related issues, they can call me.

In the meantime, I have been out of the closet for over two years, and I am not going back in. I will continue to proudly work for acceptance of people's diversity.

Rebecca Kaplan '92->