Queer Elsewhere PoliticalBy Eva Moy
Like Elsewhere, Queer Elsewhere also offers a rush-free escape, Play-Doh, and a support system for freshmen.
But the similarities stop there.
At Queer Elsewhere, students can get angry about the system with other gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. At Queer Elsewhere, people don't assume the students who come in are straight. At Queer Elsewhere, the staffers tell students that they do not have to just accept homophobia.
"Elsewhere thinks of itself as kind of a therapeutic recovery zone, which I think is very necessary. [But] Queer Elsewhere is for people who feel excluded and ostracized from all of Rush," said Jospeh A. Powers Jr. '92, one of the workers at Queer Elsewhere.
"While Queer Elsewhere is empowering in a personal and political way, Elsewhere tends to personalize psychological stress without making a critical political statement about the procedure of rush, and without providing a place where people can yell and exchange their anger with other people who are angry."
"Some people have asked, `If there's a Queer Elsewhere, why isn't there a Persons-of-color Elsewhere?' " Powers said. He thinks of the incident involving Phi Beta Epsilon "as symptomatic of the racism all over rush and the greek system suggests that maybe there should be an `Elsewhere' for persons of colors."
In addition, "there are many persons of color who are out as queer at MIT, and consequently, Queer Elsewhere wants to lodge its critique of rush as homophobic with a larger context of the racism, sexism, and misogyny at MIT and during rush," Powers said.
Deals with personal concerns
"There is no other group where you have to hide so much. There's no other group where 99 percent of the time your parents aren't" from the same group, explained Chris Merrill '96,one of the staffers at Queer Elsewhere. Queer people need to know that there are other people like them on campus that they can talk with.
"A closet really is a very lonely home, and it's important to go out and find support," said Pat Huang '97, who was at Queer Elsewhere last night.
"The day we have an Elsewhere that can deal with queers and straights together will also be the day where queer people can walk hand in hand down the street without being harassed," Huang added.
More freshmen have come to Queer Elsewhere this year than last year, Merrill added.