Winter 2017 Newsletter

Letter from Out After Carleton Board Chairs, Garrett Hoffman ’08 and Lisa Nordeen ’90

Happy winter! We’re writing to you from cold Minnesota where we are anxiously awaiting Spring. 2016 was full of fun; OAC was represented at reunion, the sesquicentennial, and several pride celebrations throughout the country. We also began a collaboration with the Multicultural Carleton Alumni Network during our spring meeting and are excited to see where this collaboration leads us this year. 

Our goals for 2017 are mighty and we are excited to share them with you as the year unfolds. To start, we are in the process of recruiting new members for the OAC leadership board for terms beginning in July of 2017 and planning regional events. We will meet as a board on campus in April.

Thank you for your continuing membership and we are excited to stay in touch as the year progresses. 

Our best,

Garrett Hoffman ’08 and Lisa Nordeen ’90
OAC Leadership Committee Co-chairsCarleton Gender and Sexuality Center Marks 15th Anniversary

By Matthew Elfstrand ‘17, Gender and Sexuality Center Associate

On October 15th, the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) and Out After Carleton (OAC) co-hosted a celebration marking the 15th anniversary of the GSC as part of Carleton’s sesquicentennial celebration. A panel featuring Joan Higinbotham ’66, Carleton Chaplain Carolyn Fure-Slocum ’82, Matt Fikse-Verkerk ’87, Will Sheffer ’15, and Liv Phillips ’18 shared the work that was done to start OAC and the collaboration between OAC, students, faculty, and staff to present the need for a professional staff campus resource for LGBTQA+ students. 75 alumni, staff, students and parents attended the reception and panel. They reminisced about Carleton before there was a GSC and discussed the current work the GSC does to improve student life at Carleton.

This event drew connections between past struggles around gender and sexuality identities, the breadth of experiences of LGBTQA+ people at Carleton, and the disposition to build on this foundation of experiences and advocacy to continue to make Carleton a more healthy and nurturing environment for people of all gender and sexuality identities. A variety of calls to action and visions were shared for what the GSC and OAC could do in the future to advance social justice causes. This event provided an opportunity for students, alumni, and staff to come together to discuss specific issues and pose questions on what is significant to each of us as we work to foster relationships across generations of LGBTQA+ Carls.

Moving From “Coming Out” To “Telling Our Journeys”

By Matthew Elfstrand ‘17 and Liv Phillips ‘18, GSCAs

In the past, Carleton has celebrated National Coming Out Day, which takes place on October 11 each year, with a week of programming around issues of identity.  In addition spaces were created where students, faculty, and staff could share their experiences around realizing their sexuality/gender and coming out of the closet. Recently, the GSC reexamined this programming due to concerns about pushing a singular narrative or make some feel as though they should be ashamed if they can’t or don’t want to “come out”.  This reflection led the GSC to drop the title “National Coming Out Week” in favor of the name “Telling Our Journeys.”

This year, the staff of the Gender and Sexuality Center has made it one of our goals to be more self-reflective and to ensure that we are doing our absolute best to represent the very diverse community that the GSC serves. Over the summer, GSC staff read and discussed a book titled decolonizing trans/gender 101 by b. Binaohan in order to challenge our own preconceptions and better understand the ways in which our approach to gender and sexuality education can be influenced by the very same harmful and oppressive structures that we are trying to subvert. In the book, there is a discussion of the ways in which coming out of the closet is normalized in LGBTQA+ spaces and how the decision to come out might not be a safe or healthy choice for all members of our community. Even in cases where safety is not a concern, some members of our community simply don’t feel the need or desire to come out, or to view disclosure of their identity as a salient part of their life journey.

We believe that we have a long way to go in reflecting about what it means to publicize our identities and how this process of “coming out” is set as a standard component of the LGBTQA+ narrative. In what ways does this standardization stem from the heteronormative contexts in which we have virtually all grown up? Does the narrative of coming out reinforce the idea that being heterosexual and cisgender is the norm? Why is the onus on LGBTQA+ individuals to correct assumptions that are made with regard to their identity? There is a history of the politics of visibility being used by LGBTQA+ organizers over the course of our movement, but who is being made visible and who is excluded from this politics of visibility? In what ways do racial and class identities influence the desire or danger involved with coming out and being visible as a member of the LGBTQA+ community?

We definitely aren’t claiming to have the answers to all of these questions, nor are we trying to condemn those who do hold their coming out process as a hugely salient part of their journey. Still, in our mission to best represent the entirety of our community, we want to make sure we don’t uphold any one framework for what it means to be a part of this community. We want to make sure the messages that come from the GSC allow the most room for diversity, and to create spaces for those who have been previously excluded because they chose to not “come out.” By changing the name of this week, we hope to invite discussion around a broader range of experiences and stories. Changing the name to “Telling Our Journeys” is only the first step; we acknowledge that this year, the events that happened as part of Telling Our Journeys largely remained the same as previous National Coming Out Weeks. In the future, we plan to make changes to further reflect our shifting approach to gender and sexuality identities. By going beyond just changing the name of the week, we hope to encourage more critical conversations around topics of sexuality and gender.

Meet a Gender and Sexuality Center Associate (GSCA)

Kathryn Melendez ’17

The Gender and Sexuality Center employs several student associates (GSCAs) each year. Kathryn Melendez ’17, a current GSCA, took time to share a little about herself with us.

Q: Tell us about you.

A: My name is Kathryn (she/her/hers pronouns), and I am a senior American Studies major and Women’s and Gender Studies concentrator. My academic interests in racial, economic, immigration, and gender justice can be traced back to my high school classes and my families’ background as working class Salvadoran migrants. However, these interests have grown the most through my membership in CORAL and QTPOC at Carleton. At Carleton, you would find me spending time with these communities each week whenever I take a break from writing my senior thesis! Though I miss being with these communities off campus, I also love being back home in the San Gabriel Valley, CA for the concerts and hiking trails.

Q: What has been you favorite GSC event from this year?

A: My favorite GSC event this year was Jennicet Gutierrez’s visit to campus in October. Jennicent stepped onto my radar after disrupting President Obama’s celebratory Pride speech in June 2015. She demanded that he halt his deportations if he cared for LGBT people. This act introduced me to the undocuqueer (undocumented-queer) communities and campaigns that are engaging in public art, protests in detention centers, and national conversations about immigration policy. The campus organizations, QTPOC (the Queer, Questioning, and Trans People of Color collective) and ADMIRE (the Association for DREAMers and  Allies for Immigration Reform), organized her visit last fall, so I had the opportunity to join her for dinner and listen to her talk. Both made me realized that Jennicet’s voice of resistance to the president’s claim of American progress had impacted my peers so deeply. Her talk candidly discussed the challenges and joys of organizing across socioeconomic, racial, immigration, queer issues, reminding of this work’s urgency and of the emotional labor it demands from all of us.

Q: In what ways are you excited about connecting with alumni in future?

A: I look forward to connecting with alumni’s social-justice oriented projects, whether they are connected to research or involve grassroots organizing. As a student who will graduate in June, and looks forward to reconnecting to community organizing, our alumni network would be helpful for its abundance of experience and localized knowledge. My hope is that these alumni could engage with conversations about addressing Carleton’s depoliticized rhetoric but highly politicized stances. I believe that alumni could powerfully push Carleton to promise its current DACA students protections, as well as continued financial support for future DACA applicants in our current political climate.

Spring 2016 Newsletter

Letter from Out After Carleton Board Chairs, Rachel Vallens Bendit ’06 and Garrett Hoffman ’08

From The OAC Board

Hi OAC Members!

We wanted to update you all about the work the OAC leadership committee has been engaging with since we last communicated. The OAC leadership committee met on campus lin April for our annual meeting. We recapped the immensely successful OAC reunion last year and began a visioning process for where we see OAC and our work headed. This year, our time on campus coincided with that of the Multicultural Alumni Network, MCAN, and Alumni Council. We were able to share our work with both groups, as well as discuss potentials inherent in collaborations to better the campus climate for current students. Our efforts to collaborate with MCAN and Alumni Council are ongoing and we are currently discussing where our work can intersect. Stay tuned!

Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston shared ongoing campus climate discussions and initiatives. In addition, we engaged with students at a round table event hosted by the Career Center, and spoke with student leaders from the Gender and Sexuality Center and Office of Intercultural Life. From these conversations, our committee discussed how we can better engage with OAC membership, connecting you all to current student experiences and concerns. As such, you’ll find an invitation to the annual OAC Reception at Reunion 2016 below. We hope you can join us on campus!

Finally, we are planning social events around Pride this year. OAC will host events in San Francisco, the Twin Cities, and Seattle. Stay tuned for more information regarding those events. Carleton will, again, be marching in the Twin Cities Pride Parade on June 26th. RSVP information is below. 

We hope everybody is having a wonderful spring! We look forward to seeing you at our events coming up. And if you have any feedback for us, or opportunities you would like to share with the group, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our emails are listed on Carleton’s OAC Leadership Committee webpage.

Our best,

Garrett Hoffman ’08 and Rachel Vallens Bendit ‘06
OAC Board Chairs

Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) Update

Hey everyone! Jimmy and Elly here, your OAC student representatives. We’re writing to you on a beautiful spring day from Clader House, the new temporary home of the Gender and Sexuality Center. As part of Carleton’s facilities master plan, Scoville is being renovated and will now be the new home of Admissions. We’re happy to report that Clader is unpacked, has finally stopped smelling like fresh paint, and is starting to feel broken in. The big move aside, we in the GSC have been doing some awesome stuff recently that we’re excited to share with you. 

Last term, we performed Stripped for the first time ever! Stripped, written by Senior GSCA Kat George for her English comps, is a brilliant monologue series created in response to the Vagina Monologues. Unlike Eve Ensler’s famous production, Stripped is inclusive of all gender identities and specifically aims to tell the stories of marginalized members of the Carleton community. To collect just some of those experiences, Kat and her production team conducted over 100 interviews in the spring of 2015 with Carleton students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From all of those interviews, Kat crafted Stripped, a series of 13 monologues about topics ranging from queerness, mental health, abortion, racism, and more. And in the end, the production was incredibly successful! We have never seen the chapel so packed—audience members completely filled the balcony, the lower level of the chapel, and they even spilled out into the walkways. In the end Stripped has helped continue conversations here on campus climate and we’ll be bringing Kat back to develop the program for next year. 

During midterm break we hosted a bystander intervention training for 35 students as a part of our pilot integration of Green Dot. Green Dot is a nationally recognized bystander intervention program that focuses on building the skills needed for individuals to take action when they see instances of power-based personal violence (stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault). So far, the trainings have been well received by participants and we’ll be opening up them up to the entire Carleton community next school year. We hope the program will be a tool that allows our community members to challenge sexual misconduct both on and off campus. 

As we begin to wrap up for the Spring Term, we just celebrated the graduating seniors at the annual Pride Banquet and we’ll begin focusing on welcoming our seven new GSC Associates to the staff and planning for the fall! 

Happy Spring,
Elly ‘16 and Jimmy ‘17
OAC Student Representatives

Happening at Carleton Now

We wanted to share a petition that has been circulated at Carleton in recent weeks, created by current students, asking that the college create a full time Title IX coordinator position. As a committee, we are in discussion about ways we can support students and the college through this ask. We wish to share this with OAC membership in case you would like to indicate your support.

OAC at Reunion

Join fellow Out After Carleton alumni and friends at the OAC Reception during Reunion 2016. Enjoy hors d’ouevres, wine, beer, and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, and learn about the OAC initiatives from 2015-2016 and what’s in store for next year! Come share your stories and see a special viewing of a Monologue from the student production “Stripped”.

There is no cost to attend the reception, but RSVPs are greatly appreciated. If you are already registered for Reunion 2016, please still fill out the online form to help us prepare the right amount of food.

Twin Cities Pride Parade

Carleton College will again join the Minnesota Private College Council and its affiliated schools to march in this year’s Twin Cities Pride Parade, Sunday, June 26th at 10:30am.  If you are available and interested in marching with us, please register by June 13th. An email about meeting location will be sent prior to the event.

An Interview with new GSC Director Laura Haave

By Garrett Hoffman ’08 

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your path to Carleton.

I attended a small liberal arts college as an undergraduate (St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, which is even smaller than Carleton – only 400 students!). That environment was really important to my development, so I’m excited to have an opportunity to come back to it as a staff person. I have a master’s degree in public health and have worked on college campuses as a sexuality educator and sexual violence survivor advocate for about fifteen years; I was very excited about joining the Gender and Sexuality Center because it combines all my work and passions into one job. I first visited Carleton about eight years ago when Kaaren Williamsen brought me to campus to lead a training about Our Whole Lives, a sexuality education curriculum that I co-authored, and I have secretly been hoping to return ever since. I am so impressed with everything that Kaaren and the Gender and Sexuality Center Associates have built.  

2. Can you briefly talk about your vision for the GSC in the coming years? 

We are fortunate now to have two full-time staff people in the GSC – myself and Tegra Straight, our first Assistant Director. Tegra was previously an Area Director at Carleton who had a part-time collateral position with the GSC for a few years, so I’m lucky to have her experience and knowledge as we begin to discuss the future of the GSC. I’ve only been here for seven months, so I think it’s a bit early to say that I understand Carleton’s culture and what students need from the GSC. However, next year, Tegra and I are planning to launch a bystander intervention program to prevent sexual violence at Carleton with the help of students and many other departments on campus. We would also like to implement an LGBTQ ally training program for faculty and staff so that they can better support students, and we’re compiling a list of best practices for serving transgender students on campus and identifying areas where Carleton needs to improve. We plan to keep well-loved programs like Doing It Right and the Rainbow Retreat, of course!  

3. What is your favorite thing about Carleton so far?

My favorite thing so far is how quickly new ideas are adopted compared to other campuses I’ve worked at. This isn’t universally true, of course, but I’ve been surprised at how many times a student has suggested a change to a program or I’ve asked, “Have we thought about doing it this way?” and people enthusiastically say, “Let’s try it!” Change is often a frightening prospect, so it’s nice to see that it’s embraced at Carleton. Students, faculty and staff seem willing to try new things and are unafraid to make mistakes and learn from them.  

4. You can have lunch with three people of your choosing, alive or dead. Who would you choose? 

I would love to talk to my maternal great-grandmother, Laura Beatrice Haave, my paternal grandmother, Signe, and my own mother when they were all the age that I am now. My great-grandmother Laura emigrated to the US from Norway and my grandmother Signe emigrated from Sweden, and my mom and I have spent a fair amount of time over the past couple of years tracing our genealogy, going through old family photos, and visiting our family’s hometown in Norway. This has generated a lot of questions about our family history, and I’d love to sit down with these three women from my family and share stories.  

5. What is your favorite dinner spot in Northfield? 

I am a vegetarian, and my partner has ulcerative colitis, which means no sugars, starches or grains. There aren’t a lot of restaurants in town where we can both eat, so I’d have to say that our favorite dinner spot is our house on the East Side, and I’m very grateful for Just Food Co-op and the farmer’s markets in town that give us access to the foods we need.   

6. Anything else you think alumni should know about you and your vision for your time at Carleton?

The GSC wouldn’t exist without alumni support and advocacy, so I’m very grateful for that. We have two full-time staff and 12 part-time student staff in the GSC, which is amazing for a college of Carleton’s size. You can’t do work without the right people. Our program budget is limited, though (like all budgets – we don’t have an infinite amount of resources!), and there are continually increasing unfunded mandates on all colleges and universities to devote substantial resources to sexual violence prevention and response. Tegra and I will be thinking carefully over the summer about how we can use what we have in the most effective ways possible to truly create change on campus, and I hope that alumni will stay involved in that conversation and give us their insights and perspectives.

Upcoming OAC Events

  • Boston Film Festival Event
  • Seattle OAC Gathering
  • 15-Years of the Gender and Sexuality Center Panel Reunion Program hosted by OAC
  • OAC Reunion 2017 Reception
  • Twin Cities Pride Parade Participation

An LGBTQ History Reading List

By Kristian Taketomo ’11 

This spring, I will be taking my qualifying exams in American History. What better time to put together a reading list of my favorite LGBTQ books? If you’re looking for something to read, here are a few recommendations:  

1. Chauncey, George. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books, 1994. 

George Chauncey’s Gay New York is one of the best books out there. Period. Lauded by many as having one of the best introductions in any academic book, this foundational LGBTQ history should have you hooked within the first few pages. Though this book, which traces the invention of the “closet,” came out over 20 years ago, it remains a classic. Chauncey has been promising a follow-up to Gay New York for years now. Get your hands on a copy before part two comes out!

* This books is a serious doorstop, so this might be one for your e-reader.   

2. Kunzel, Regina. Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of American Sexuality. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008.  

Interested in the carceral state? Interested in the policing and pathologizing of “deviant” sexuality? Have I got the book for you. Regina Kunzel’s Criminal Intimacy explores the relationship between the modern prison system and American sexuality. Like Chauncey, Kunzel explores the construction and meanings of queer identity. This is very accessible book, but also must-read for anyone who loves or hates Foucault.  

3. Howard, John. Men Like That: A Southern Queer History. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999. 

John Howard’s Men Like That is a case-study of same-sex desire in twentieth century Mississippi. While many of the LGBTQ histories that preceded Howard’s looked to cities as sites of sexual activity and identity-making, Howard situates his history of queer networking in the rural South. This is a great book for anyone interested in queer theory, spatial theory, or Southern culture.   

4. Canaday, Margot. The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009. 

The Straight State is a high political history of sexuality. In this book, Margot Canaday asks how the American federal government regulated sexuality through immigration, military, and welfare policy. She asks how LGBTQ people became “second-class citizens” in the eyes of the state. Queer lawyers love this book!   

5. Murray, Heather. Not in This Family: Gays and the Meaning of Kinship in Postwar North America. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.  

Heather Murray’s Not in This Family probes the interrelationship between the institution of the family and LGBTQ life in the United States and Canada since World War II. Murray seeks to challenge the dominant narrative that all LGBTQ people have had strained family relationships. Moreover, she expands the definition of “kinship” in intriguing ways. Pick up a few copies for your “chosen family.” 

Can’t get enough? Here are two more titles for the speed readers out there:

Christina Hanhardt, Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. 

Salamon, Gayle. Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. 

May 1, 2015

By Christi Conkling ’09

I am a team manager at Bottom Line, a national college access nonprofit. We serve thousands of low-income, first-generation college students each year in our high school and college programs. My team works with our high school seniors, helping guide them through the college application and financial aid processes so that they can make a responsible choice in where to attend college by that looming May 1 deadline. It’s certainly not an easy process for the most resourced teens, and the queer teens in our program have many hurdles in front of them.

Unlike Carleton, many colleges have fledgling LGBTQ Centers and support on campus. One college in my area of MA can’t publicize the meeting location of their student group for fear of harassment, and they have no dedicated staff to support students. As I work with seniors each year, I am both excited about and worried for my queer students’ experiences at their future colleges.

Jack, one of my students, came out to me this year about 15 minutes before submitting his college applications. He wanted to write something in the “additional information” section of the Common App explaining why his grades dropped a little at the end of 10th grade. After a family altercation, his cousin outed him, and his extended family who he relied on for support shunned him for months. Because he trusted me, I’ve now been better able to advise him on his college list, and we’ve taken time to research the climate for queer students at the schools to which he’s applied. He was recently invited to apply for a summer academic bridge program at a prestigious business school where the admissions office places a noticeable emphasis on creating a welcoming environment. It may be a perfect fit for him.

Eddie, another of our current students, moved to Boston from Vietnam a few years ago. He is a budding tattoo artist hoping to study art in college, and he is a young trans man who is a leader in the JROTC program in his school. This year we are helping him to navigate the complications that arise when the sex on your birth certificate does not match your gender. We’ll help him make phone calls to admissions and financial aid offices to match his applications, and we will help him communicate his gender to the college he ultimately chooses to attend so that he has fewer obstacles when he enrolls. Unlike Jack, the local college he would love to attend has fewer resources to support students, but I am confident that Eddie will thrive despite the challenged he will face.

As I work with the high school seniors in our program each day, I become more and more thankful and impressed by the work that Carleton and this OAC community have done. And though we’ve never had a senior apply to or get into Carleton (our Chicago office has its first class this year), I am excited for more colleges to continue to build their support of LGBTQ students.

OAC Student Representative Blog Post (Will Sheffer ’15) –From Carleton With Love

Hi, It’s Will writing about 10th week at the GSC. I’m a senior Art History major and a European Studies and Women and Gender Studies concentrator and I work in the Gender and Sexuality Center. I’m from New Hampshire and I’m happy to serve as the senior student representative on the Out After Carleton Leadership Committee. It’s been a blast so far and I can’t wait for our family reunion April 30th through May 3rd!

Back to the GSC, as the term comes to a close so has our programming. We tend to avoid programming in these last couple of weeks because Carls get stressed and are less likely to turn out. However, a couple programs usually slip through the cracks and end up scheduled for this half week and reading days. For instance, our conclusion to the GSC’s celebration of Trans* Month of Awareness is a celebration of Trans* Day of Remembrance on November 20th. On this Thursday, Skinner Memorial Chapel will be set up for our yearly vigil. The GSC encourages members of the Carleton community to visit, light a candle, and reflect on trans* lives lost over the years. Please visit the International Trans* Day of Remembrance website for more information. Personally, it is one of my favorite events that the GSC puts on as I find it to be a simple yet incredibly powerful gesture. It is an excellent culmination to our month of programming.

The end of the term also brings one of my favorite GSC traditions, our end of term dinner. It is a great time to reflect on the programming that we have done and discuss changes that we’d like to see in the future. This time around the staff is heading to our director’s, Laura Haave, house. The staff is very excited to taste her risotto and meet her cat (Agent Natasha Meowmanoff).  But more importantly, we have a very exciting term to reflect on. We’ve had some really incredible programming opportunities ranging from hosting nationally acclaimed bisexual activist Robyn Ochs to leading a small discussion on Carleton’s involvement with the White House’s latest initiative to end sexual violence, It’s On Us, and many more. Some very successful programs include our termly Healthy Communities and Relationships Dinner (this term we discussed romantic and sexual narratives) and an event organized by Women’s Awareness House, Porn and Pad Thai, where participants watched a variety of porn clips and discussed representation and its implications in pornography.

On top of thinking about how these events shaped our term we will also be looking forward to next term, where big stuff lies ahead. Second weekend the GSC is leading its annual Rainbow Retreat at Camp Pepin, a two-day retreat based on LGBTQA community building. Additionally, in February, we’ll be joining the One Billion Rising Revolution in our production of the Vagina Monologues. Perhaps, most importantly, the staff will talk about our approach to these topics and how we hope to grow in the coming term. It will be nice to spend time with the staff and have a chance to discuss what went well and how we can see things going better in the future. Additionally, we hope to continue our goals of looking outward and considering how the Gender and Sexuality Center can engage with broader topics outside of Carleton.

That’s all for now, if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at!

OAC Student Blog Post (Elly Fireside-Ostergaard ’16) –From Carleton With Love

Hello, Elly here! I’m writing about 9th week in the Gender and Sexuality Center. I’m a junior biology major, women and gender studies concentrator, and Gender and Sexuality Center Associate. I hail from San Francisco, CA and am the 2016 representative on the Out After Carleton Leadership Committee. It has been so fun planning the reunion and hopefully we’ll see you there! It’s taking place from April 30th to May 3rd.

9th week marked the beginning of our celebration of Trans* Month of Awareness. Throughout the month, we are hosting events and workshops centered around gender identity and trans* issues. We kicked off the month with a Gender Brunch! Sitting around the living room of the Queers & Allies house, a group of Carls discussed gender identity and expression over freshly baked cinnamon rolls. We ended the general discussion with a brainstorming session about events people wanted to see. Later in the week, we hosted GSCA office hours in Sayles. During lunch time on Tuesday and Wednesday, myself and other GSCAs sat at a table in Sayles handing out gender pronoun cards, GSC publications, and informational materials for Trans* Month of Awareness. We also provided students with an anonymous question box where they could write any and all questions they had related to gender. We got some excellent questions about gender pronoun usage and more that we will answer on a segment of our weekly radio show, GSC after hours. I think my personal favorite of all the events we’ve hosted for Trans* month of awareness was Gender 101. Usually, gender 101 is a workshop that RAs can bring to their floors. It covers all of the basics about the differences between sex and gender and provides fundamental terminology to talk about gender while still leaving room for participants to reflect on their own gender identity and expression. This week, however, we brought Gender 101 out of the dorms and into the general student community. Open to faculty, staff, and students, Gender 101 in Sayles was very fun and informative. I loved sitting in a room with people of all different levels of gender literacy and hearing thoughts from people like Laura Haave, director of the GSC, as well as Freshmen in their first term at Carleton. We also had pizza, which makes everything better!We’ve had a great term overall in the GSC, and, despite it being 9th week, we still have events coming up! Look out for another exciting GSC update next week! If you have any questions about the GSC, life at Carleton, or more, shoot me an email at Elly

Profile of OAC member and past Pride Banquet Speaker: Danny LaChance

By Naomi Siegal ‘80
One of the things that the OAC Leadership committee does is hold a yearly meeting on campus each spring. Since April is Pride Month at Carleton, we get to participate in some great GLBT activities. One of the highlights of Pride Month is the annual Pride Banquet. This is a celebration highlighting GLBT life on campus and recognizing the graduating seniors who have been active in the campus GLBT community. It also features a keynote speech from a recent graduate who can come back and tell students what it is like to continue GLBT life off campus. In an effort to share some of the energy of Carleton Pride with you, we will highlight one of these recent grads and their speech in each newsletter. The pride banquet speaker in April 2009 was Danny LaChance. Danny graduated from Carleton with an English major in 2001. Danny describes the campus he first came to as not hostile, but not particularly comfortable for GLBT students. He feels that in his freshman year there were very few out men on campus. There were more lesbians, but he remembers a very ill-attended coming-out rally and feels there was not a critical mass of students willing to be out. There was a queer political group, but no active support groups for students coming out. Danny was active in theater, wrote for the Carletonian and tutored prisoners at the Faribault medium security prison in reading skills. Danny was in the midst of his coming out process when the first Family reunion took place. He mentions that the 4 years he was on campus were a sea-change for the Carleton community. By the time he graduated there were 15 to 20 men out on campus and there were many more activities and choices for GLBT students. For example, there were both social and political groups focused on GLBT life and issues. As Danny mentions in his speech, he spent his first years after graduation teaching in a school with absolutely no queer presence. He now teaches in a school in NY that includes Tony Kushner and the Laramie Project in its curriculum. In between he has earned a PhD (all but dissertation) in American Studies. His dissertation topic is looking at the use of the Death penalty and its relationship to American Culture. He interviewed jurors in death penalty cases and is connecting their thinking about justice and the messages they’ve received about the use of punishment as a response to social problems. Danny’s style is all about finding connections between thought and culture. His present teaching position includes a course that is team taught between the English and History departments, working to help the students contextualize culture, history and literature to form a broader understanding of culture and movements. As you can see from his speech, Danny carries this way of thought into his own life as a GLBT person. Questioning the orthodoxy of liberal thought that he experienced on campus, contrasting with the more intellectual or radical analysis that he developed in graduate school. From his current vantage point he describes his time at Carleton as socially supportive, but politically homogeneous and he wonders if this is because of an absence of course work that question issues of identity and if there is movement toward a more rigorous intellectual analysis in the structure of the curriculum. Danny’s Speech Thank you very much. Thank you, Kaaren and OAC for asking me here this evening to speak to graduating seniors. I taught high school English for a number of years, and it was always interesting to me to teach The Great Gatsby, a book that is all about how we come to terms with our past, the expectations and hopes that we had years ago–and the conflicting desire to recapture our past while striving for the future we once imagined for ourselves. I hated Gatsby as a high schooler and one of the reasons, I think, was that, when you’re in high school, you don’t have much of a past. You sometimes have to work inordinately hard to get high schoolers to at least respect the book. “They just don’t get it,” one of my colleagues once said to me. “I mean it’s a book all about your past. Their past is, like, the fifth grade.” Now that I’m older and have a past, I’ve come to love The Great Gatsby. And I’ve come to gain some perspective on my experience at Carleton and, in particular, on the coming out process I experienced while I was at Carleton. As I look back, I’m struck not by a sense of nostalgia at my own innocence, or pride in the memory of coming into my own as a person, or a Gatsby-like desire to recapture my first love. In fact, when I look at the past, I am struck by how absolutely ridiculous I was. Let me set the coming out scene a little. When I was a sophomore, Carleton did not yet have a Gender and Sexuality Center, Kaaren had yet to be hired, and there were no coming out support groups. Luckily, I had found a counselor at the Wellness Center who had listened to me talk at our weekly, stealth appointments, throughout that fall, about all of the fears and anxieties I had about being gay. Fear number one, of course, was that by coming out I would cease to be me and instead would be a giant, pink triangle that would render me unrecognizable to those who I knew and loved. The counselor wisely had recommended that I visit some of the social and support groups available in Boston during my break, so that I might see how other people my age had integrated their sexuality into a larger conception of themselves and had done so without turning into big, pink triangles. And so I took the train into the city a couple times each week–off to explore, I’d tell my parents–and met, for the first time, out gay people. As winter break wore on, I decided that the time had come to tell my friends and family. And so I did. But I was so concerned about losing control of the process, of not being able to communicate everything I wanted to in the unpredictable world of a conversation, that I typed up letters to everyone–3 pages, single spaced, neatly stapled in the upper right hand corner. My M.O. for my friends was to bring them to a quiet space and ask them to read aloud the letter while I silently paced back and forth nearby. It was only after they had read all 1500 words of my coming out epic–words that included Lifetime-movie-of-the-week quotations like, “I was gay when we climbed Mount Washington together. I was gay when we partied at the prom. I was gay when we crammed for those awful precalc finals together. You. Just. Didn’t. know. It. I’m. the. Same. Person. I. always. Was.” For someone who spent all his time worrying about whether he was effeminate, I was quite the drama queen. I saved my parents for last. And indeed, the best moment came when I tried to carefully orchestrate my coming out with my parents. The night before break was to end and I was to return to Minnesota, my parents and I had planned to eat at a nice French restaurant in Newton. I had told them that I had big news. I had my trusty three page, single spaced letter and had bought each of them a copy of the book Now That You Know, which I put into separate manila envelopes. As we stood in the kitchen getting ready to go to the restaurant, my Dad eyed the manila envelopes. He looked, too, at my recent crew cut. He looked at me and asked, “Danny, are you going to tell us you’re dropping out of Carleton and joining the army?” I love this story, this moment from the past, because I look back on it and think about how controllable the world can seem when you are younger and how experiences like this one teach us that we are ultimately beholden to forces that are beyond our control, like a parent who sees shorn hair, a bulging manila envelope, and thinks, “army.” My desire to tightly choreograph and engineer what my coming out would mean to those I loved completely backfired. Here I was, trying to manage my parents’ response to the news with 1500 word letters, books, and manila envelopes and careful timing, trying to express to my friends and family that this was no big deal, and I had succeeded at communicating that it was, in fact, a very big deal. What I took away from that experience, and from many of the experiences I’ve had as a gay person after leaving Carleton, was that identity is never as pure, consistent, or easily managed an experience as we might like. We’re fond of speaking of the “Carleton bubble,” a widely-shared sense of the College as a place detached from the pressures of the world, a refuge for the transformation of the adolescent into the fully formed adult. For me, that fueled the expectation that I could become who I was, settle upon a sense of what it meant, to me, to be a gay person, and to go off and lead a life that involved the fulfillment of that role. But I’ve found being gay, and your relationship to being gay, isn’t something that you announce and then leave behind. It’s something that grows over time, it twists and turns and bends in different directions. It becomes more salient in certain times of your life and almost invisible in other times. I never felt more exotically queer as when I moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for my first teaching job out of Carleton and spent two years living alone in a city with no queer contacts, teaching at a school with no gay-straight alliance or out students or faculty. And I’ve never felt like more of a consumer demographic or niche marketing group or a cliché as I have been these past five years as a member of an American Studies Department that is populated with so many queer people that my advisor once quipped to me, “I just assume everyone is gay until I’m told otherwise.” My understanding of what it means to be queer, of who I am as a queer person, has been shaped, too, by the people I’ve been surrounded by. I left Carleton with a profound desire for normalcy, a desire that was reflected in my obsession with telling everyone, as I came out, that I was still the same person. Marriage was so important to me as a young adult. I can remember sitting in my classroom at St. Paul Academy and crying after school as I saw images of the first gay marriages in Massachusetts posted on the Internet, and the immense sense that my dignity was being affirmed. I watched the hand-wringing of straight friends who wanted to get married but felt guilty for doing so. I celebrated Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s declaration that they would not marry until all could do so. But my life after Carleton has also been blessed by people who have gotten me to question that desire for normalcy. In graduate school, I’ve met people who see marriage as a profoundly conservative institution, for whom the privilege of being queer lies in the fact that they will never be caught up in the immense pressures that heterosexual people have to conform to and perform certain social norms. Weddings, one of my grad school friends once told me, are like giant drag shows for straight people. But their doubts about the way that marriage has become the central focus of the gay rights movement is not simply a contrarian move, an adolescent resistance to conformity. They see marriage as an institution that has collateral damage not just for gay people, who are denied access to it, but for a world that makes a conjugal, romantic relationship a key element in achieving personal economic security. I enjoy having a foot in each of these worlds, being influenced by both of them. I’ve had the opportunity to attend gay weddings of friends in Massachusetts and even to officiate at a straight wedding in Minnesota. And I’ve had the opportunity to march down Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis with a group called the Revolting Queers, an organization that does street theater in order to raise awareness about the pitfalls of a marriage-based gay rights agenda. What I’ve learned since I’ve left Carleton is that the intellectual principles my Carleton professors strove to instill in me, like the notion that truth is contested and provisional, apply to myself as well as the world of knowledge. I’ve learned to embrace and expect contradiction and ambiguity in who I am. To be OK with thinking, on one day, that legal rights and widespread social acceptance are the source of dignity and, on another, that dignity comes from a sense of self respect derived apart from social institutions and laws. For me, my indecision is what has led me to the question that I grapple with today as a queer person: “How do I carve out a space in the world that is in-between, that seeks the comforts of normality but preserves the pleasures of abnormality?” That, as I see it, is our task. You’re graduating at a fascinating and ambiguous historical moment, one in which we’re gaining the right to marry just as the marriage rate is, statistically speaking, at its lowest levels in U.S. history. Much lies ahead for us as a community and you as individuals. And I hope that as you venture out into the world, you’ll continue to turn to Carleton to think through the ambiguities and contradictions that define and will continue to define queer life in the United States. Out After Carleton, Carleton’s LGBT alumni group, is a great way to do that. OAC members will be passing out welcome cards to you tonight. I participated in the planning of the last OAC reunion, in 2006, and hope that I will see you all at the next reunion, in 2010. Congratulations on your accomplishments, seniors. And welcome to OAC.

Carleton is represented at LGBT college fairs around the country

By C.J. Griffiths ‘06
This winter, Carleton is being represented at a number of LGBT-oriented college fairs around the country. One was held in New York City, and another at the University of Southern California in February. If you know of similar events in your area and would like to help out, contact Naja Shabazz ’05 at: See the link below for more information:

Current students involved in an anti-violence project

By Patty Dana ‘11
TELL US YOUR STORY! RIGHT NOW! As part of QUEERTOPIA: The Anti-Violence Project, About Face Youth Theatre is transforming into a national story-collecting center. That’s right: we are collecting stories from everyone across this country—around the world. The young, the old. The urban, the rural. The fierce and the soft. Stories of VIOLENCE. Stories of LOVE. Tell us about a time you witnessed (or were a part of) an act of violence or love towards an LGBTQA-identified person(s). Email it to If you feel comfortable, let us know your name, where you’re from, and what generation you’re a part of. If you wish to remain anonymous, don’t include any of that! With the stories that we collect (and we hope to gather hundreds… thousands!) we will incorporate some of the over-arching themes and more specifics directly into QUEERTOPIA, summer 2010. Certain stories will also be sent to queer-identified and queer-ally-identified musicians around the country…and they’ll create songs based on your stories! Those songs will be incorporated into QUEERTOPIA as well! Then, with the stories we’ve gathered, we’re going to compile a packet and stage an event of hand-delivering them to legislators. It’s about time we took things into our own hands. Your story can make a difference. TELL US YOUR STORY. WE’RE LISTENING.

Call for Volunteers!

Would you like to be involved with a unique group of Carleton alumni, passionate about issues relating to LGBT students, alums, and friends? Out After Carleton is always looking for folks who would be interested in serving on the Leadership Committee. 

OAC Alumni Adventure Weekend Recap

By Katy Weseman ‘02
On Friday, November 7, 2008, a group of OAC alums gathered for an evening event in Chicago. Based around Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, the weekend involved a lecture by Matt Bailey, Media Resources Coordinator at Carleton, titled “The Great Sissies of 1930s Cinema.” Several of the OAC members in attendance enjoyed Reeling films throughout the weekend, as well as meeting up for dinner with a cinematic theme. The events were both educational and enjoyable!

OAC Alums Create Online Magazine for Families with LGBT Parents

By Rich Banyard ‘79
The volume of published resources for LGBT people continues to grow, especially in this age of New Media. There are materials for LGBT adults, LGBT children and parents of LGBT children. But what about children of LGBT parents? For them, an online magazine called Rainbow Rumpus ( has been created. Two Carleton alums and OAC members are involved in Rainbow Rumpus: Karen Ruth ‘86 is a volunteer copy editor, and Joan Higinbotham ‘66 is co-chair of the board of directors. I recently interviewed Beth Wallace ’85, editor-in-chief. Since leaving Carleton, she has worked in early childhood education and in publishing. For about 10 years after graduation, her career involved child care centers in her native Vermont. Beth moved back to Minnesota in 1996 to become acquisitions and development editor at Redleaf Press, a St. Paul-based publisher for early childhood professionals. She left them in 2005, to become a free lance editor, writing coach, and life coach. Beth has worked on Rainbow Rumpus since its inception, in 2006. That allowed her to collaborate with another Carleton alum, Beth Wright ’93, the managing editor. Beth Wright’s other claims to fame include her work with Trio Bookworks and, last but by no means least, her role as co-chair of OAC. Two other Carleton alums and OAC members are involved in Rainbow Rumpus: Karent Ruth ’86 is a volunteer copy editor, and Joan Higinbotham ’66 is co-chair of the board of directors. Beth Wallace told a story about part of the impetus for the magazine. Publisher/Executive Director Laura Matanah and her partner have a son and a daughter. They live in a diverse neighborhood, and their children are used to seeing other queer families. But when they once saw a magazine depiction of another family with two mothers, their strong positive reaction made Laura realize how rare such media portrayals are, and the impact they can produce. Laura left her career as a grade school teacher to found Rainbow Rumpus, working full time on the project. The magazine has been published monthly since June 2006. The traffic has built up on the website, to the point where the magazine had 3,349 visits during the month of April 2009. As tends to be the case with online publishing, they have a worldwide readership, in somewhat of a crazy-quilt pattern. Their top five states for U.S. visits during that month were California, Minnesota, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Internationally, their top five were the U.S., Canada, China, the Netherlands and Romania. Their main focus is as a literary magazine. Professional writers produce the fiction content. Professional illustrators work on the site, including the drawing of the cartoon dragons, Flo and Mo. Non-fiction articles tend to be written by volunteers. All in all there are about 50 volunteers working on the project. The magazine has three main sections, for kids, young adults and parents/teachers/friends. Even those of us who are not parents can find interesting content in that third section. And, who knows? Maybe we’ll sneak into the kids’ section, as well; after all, who can resist a charming dragon? The staff’s good work has been recognized. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits gave the magazine its Dot Org Award, in 2007. Also, Laura Matanah was one of 10 teachers of the year, recognized by Curve magazine, for her work on Rainbow Rumpus. Most of their funding comes from individual contributions and foundation grants. Those sources are supplemented to a limited degree by advertising. On the parents/teachers/friends page, Mo the dragon will lead you to the link for contributions.

What Does OAC Look Like? A Membership Update

By Bob Geyer ‘67
From early 2008 to Spring 2009, OAC membership increased approximately 9% to 532 souls. Most of the increase was accounted for by recent graduates (classes of ’07 and ’08) but also included 14 members from earlier classes, ranging from ’74 to ’06. The Leadership Committee agreed to a careful but sustained effort to expand membership on recommendation by current OAC members, through selective notices in the Carleton Voice, and by targeting in the run-up to the next Family Reunion. Joining is easy online at the OAC website.

Leadership Committee Meeting

C.J. Griffiths ‘06
The Out After Carleton Leadership Committee met the weekend of April 19 on campus to reflect on past projects and initiate new ones for the upcoming year (some are detailed in other articles on this page). The meeting coincided with the annual Carleton Pride Banquet, which all members attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The Leadership Committee discussed a variety of topics, including recruitment and retention of members, the current campus climate, new campus initiatives, and a host of others. The Committee also had the opportunity to connect with other groups staff members, including the Multicultural Alumni Network, Richard Berman (Director of the Career Center), and Kaaren Williamsen-Garvey (Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center).

Save the Date! First OAC Alumni Adventure Weekend in November 2008!

Scott Dale ‘88
The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, the second-oldest of its kind, will occur November 7-9 of this year, and Out After Carleton would like to see you there! This will be a weekend to not only celebrate the best of queer cinema, but to bring LGBT alums, families, and friends together for great events in a city with endless opportunities. Hotel rooms will be held for interested OAC members, and there will be many events planned – further details will be disseminated later this summer via the next newsletter, by mail, and on the OAC website. Scott Dale ’88 and Katy Weseman ’02 are the Leadership Committee members helping coordinate the weekend.

Continuing Efforts on Out After Carleton Membership Outreach:

Bob Geyer ‘67
The Leadership Committee agreed at its April 2008 meeting that an even 500 members was a modest but appropriate new target for Out After Carleton. If achieved, this would represent a noticeable 8% increase in membership. Beginning in 2005, the 10% Campaign launched by the Committee actively worked to bring the number of active members up to its current level. Bob Geyer ’67 will work with the Alumni Affairs Office to target graduates