April 9th, 2007

Many Gays Struggle at Black Colleges

(I might as well tell you, my first quibble with this article is that it strips B/black GBLTQQISGL trannies, sisters, and brothers of their cultural heritage in order to create a tension between "gay" and "B/black" which I don't appreciate as it does over-simplify the issue... but the article, however, in a sense, it is in keeping with how people would talk about the issue. However, I am putting it here because I think it could be used as a critical piece to look at the intersection of sexuality and culture... also, I would love to hear from those who attended HBCU's. My mother attended South Carolina State College (now University) and she said she knew gay men (specifically) when she went to college.... Also, I was openly gay at a white university and... it was NOT a walk in the park at all. So, I feel this article automatically sets up positions that are... specious... to be kind.)

Many Gays Struggle at Black Colleges
By DIONNE WALKER (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
April 08, 2007 12:40 PM EDT

HAMPTON, Va. - So lured was April Maxwell by the promise of the black college experience, with its distinct traditions and tight-knit campus life, that she enrolled at Hampton University in 2001 without even visiting the waterfront campus.

A lesbian who is open about her sexual orientation, she arrived eager to join the extended Hampton family.

Instead, "I felt like I was the only gay person on campus - it seemed like nobody was really out," said the now 24-year-old Maxwell.

She channeled her isolation into organizing a gay support group, but a panel of students and faculty denied it a charter. The panel recently denied a second attempt at chartering Students Promoting Equal Action and Knowledge, or SPEAK, headed by underclassmen after Maxwell graduated.

It's a tug-of-war that's emerging at other black schools, where students say outdated rules and homophobia block them from forming the gay campus voice common at majority white institutions.

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