News and Events
25th Anniversary Weekend
On September 26-28, 2008, the Caucus celebrated its silver anniversary by holding the first ever pan-Harvard LGBT celebration, featuring panels on a range of political, cultural, historical, and scientific topics, performances and film screenings, museum visits, and an opportunity for attendees to interact with Harvard’s diverse LGBT community. Caucus members reflected on what has changed us, both at Harvard and in the larger world, and we celebrated the accomplishments of Harvard’s LGBT alumni, students, faculty, and staff.
Kevin Jennings Establishes Eugene R. Cummings LGBT Studies Senior Thesis Prize
Caucus member, Kevin Jennings, AB '85, has established the Eugene R. Cummings LGBT Studies Senior Thesis Prize at Harvard College, announcing the gift at the Caucus' 2007 annual June dinner. Cummings, the son of an Irish immigrant schoolteacher from Fall River, Massachusetts, was a gay student at the Harvard Dental School who ended his life on June 11, 1920, just days short of receiving his degree, after being interrogated and informed that he would be expelled by the "secret court" that purged gay men from Harvard in 1920. The prize was established to ensure that his name and experiences will not be forgotten and that future generations will have opportunities for self-expression that were denied to Mr. Cummings.
Read Harvard's announcement
Read Kevin's announcement speech
Watch the annoumncement video
LGBT Rights and the Courts
Keynote address by James Esseks
2006 Annual Commencement Dinner
Caucus member James Esseks is litigation director for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender, and AIDS Project of the non-partisan American Civil Liberties Union. Founded twenty years ago, its mission is to insure even- handed treatment of LGBT people by the government, equal rights and protection for couples and families, and protection from discrimination in jobs, schools, housing and public accommodations. Its HIV mission is to insure that AIDS-related fears do not lead to the discrimination against people with HIV and do not compromise their basic constitutional rights. Today, under James' guidance, the project advances more LGBT cases and than any other national civil rights organization. James graduated from Yale in 1987 and Harvard Law School in 1991, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. On June 8, 2006, James delivered the keynote address at HGLC's Annual Commencement Day Dinner.
2006 HGLC Intellectual Innovator Award Presentation to Richard Schneider, Ph.D. '81, Founding Editor, Gay & Lesbian Review
By Andrew Holleran
Andrew Holleran (ne Eric Garber, AB '65) is a prominent author and essayist best known for his seminal novel Dancer from the Dance published in 1978. His latest work is Grief: A Novel (Hyperion 2006). Mr. Holleran is a frequent contributor to the Gay & Lesbian Review and his 10,000-word memoir entitled "My Harvard"—a transcript of the talk he gave at the HGLC annual dinner in 1993—was featured in the very first issue of the Review. On June 8, 2006, Andrew presented Richard Schneider, Founding Editor of the Gay & Lesbian Review, with the 2006 HGLC Intellectual Innovator Award at the Caucus' Annual Commencement Day Dinner.
Harvard Corporation Adds Gender Identity to Non-Discrimination Code
On April 11, 2006, the heads of Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Human Resources announced in a meeting with the Transgender Task Force that “gender identity” had been added to the list of protected categories in Harvard’s nondiscrimination code. This protection applies to all members of the Harvard community: students, faculty, staff and all other employees. Harvard is the third largest employer in Massachusetts, and the largest full-time employer in the state, and Harvard is the 56th U.S. University to include gender identity as a protected class. (See http://www.transgenderlaw.org/college/index.htm). Since 1997, the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus has been lobbying the Harvard administration to make this crucial change. (See http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512669)
2006 was a major year for trans activism, education, and visibility at Harvard, sparking much discussion both within the student body and between students and administrators. (See http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512591 and http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512321)
The Supreme Court Affirms the Solomon Amendment
On March 6, 2006, in the case of Rumsfeld v. FAIR, the Supreme Court rejected the arguments of FAIR (Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights), SALT (Society of American Law Teachers) and several individual plaintiffs and upheld the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment.
In Rumsfeld v. FAIR, the Supreme Court decided that law schools' and law faculties' First Amendment free speech rights were not violated by the Solomon Amendment because law schools and faculties remain free to voice their opposition to the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus will continue to support students, faculty and staff as they protest against military recruiters on campus. In addition, the Caucus seeks ameliorative measures from the university for the suspension of Harvard’s anti-discrimination policy as it relates to sexual orientation. The Supreme Court's opinion in Rumsfeld v. FAIR is a call to arms to Harvard administrators to vocally demonstrate their opposition to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and to publicly endorse the recently introduced legislation, The Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 1059), sponsored by Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA). This proposed law would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
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An Interview with Keith Boykin
Author-activist Keith Boykin's latest book, Beyond the Down Low, published in 2005 by Carroll & Graf, explores an underground subculture of men who engage in same-sex sexual activity in secret while projecting a heterosexual public image. Attempting to counteract some sensationalized reporting on this phenomenon-such as the notion that the down low is exclusively the province of African-American men-the book became a bestseller that refocused the debate on "the DL."
In his first book, One More River to Cross: Black & Gay in America, Keith argued that blacks and gays have in common a struggle against oppression and negative stereotypes. This and other points of intersection between gay issues and black issues have found their way into many articles in places like The Advocate and The Village Voice, and in Keith's widely syndicated column in GLBT newspapers. Keith is an associate producer of the 2007 feature film Dirty Laundry and is working on his fourth book..
A graduate of Harvard Law School, JD '92, where he was a leader in the campus diversity movement and editor of The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Keith went on to take a position in the Clinton White House as special assistant to the President and director of specialty media. For a time the highest-ranking openly gay person in the White House, Keith helped organize the nation's first meeting between gay and lesbian leaders and a U.S. president. Residing in New York City, he now serves as board president of the National Black Justice Coalition.
A popular public speaker and national media commentator, Keith was the featured speaker at the 2005 annual dinner. We asked Keith to elaborate a little on some of his remarks and also discuss Beyond the Down Low. The following exchange was conducted by Richard Schneider, PhD '81, Editor of the Gay & Lesbian Review.