L G B T   C a m p u s   O r g a n i z i n g
your group is to support its members in
exists, then there will not be a sense of
their process of coming out.  You may
cohesiveness.  Does your group primarily
find that you are a group of faculty who
function as a social group helping to alle 
viate the isolation of lgbt people on cam 
pus?  Is it primarily an activist group
One of the most common prob 
lems that lgbt groups, in particu 
working to help your members feel
lar, run into is that the tension
empowered about their ability to create
between those who want to be
change?  Or are you there to support folks
activists, and those who want to
who are just coming out?  Struggles over
be social.
these different needs can cause tension
within the group.  One way to become
clear is to write up a mission statement
all have research interests in lgbt studies;
that clarifies the needs that the group is
who feel isolated in your departments and
trying to address.
who crave intellectual stimulation from
other queer theorists.  You may find that
One of the most common problems that
you are a group of over worked graduate
lgbt groups, in particular, run into is the
students who need time to relax and meet
tension between those who want to be
other lgbt people.  The make up of your
activists, and those who want to be social.
group will determine what needs exist
It is important to realize that your group
and why the group is important.  Lots of
can fill more than one need.  Whatever
groups exist that don t meet any real or
you decide, make sure that it is clear.
felt needs of any of the members.  These
This will help you to avoid ambiguity and
groups are difficult to maintain, and they
unnecessary difficulty within the group.
rarely thrive.  We are all busy people so
we set priorities for what we will do.
Often we will put our limited time and
energy into a group or activity that meets
Sometimes a group starts out as a
our actual needs.  
coming out support group, or a
social group, but at some point
Sometimes a group will consist of people
moves more towards activism.
who all have widely divergent needs.
This is a difficult situation.  One response
is to try to meet everyone s needs.  This
It is important to underscore how the
sometimes results in a group that is so
issue of coming out influences the
diffuse or unfocused that no one s needs
process of clarifying the reason for the
really get met.  Sometimes groups pick
group s existence.  Those who are further
two or three major needs to focus on.
along the coming out continuum may
Another response is to break into sub 
wish to be activists or they may want to
groups or to create different groups that
provide services to others who are just
each meet different needs.  Whatever
coming out.  On small campuses there
response your group chooses to deal with
may be the luxury to form one group for
this situation, it is extremely important
coming out support, one group to provide
for your group to understand and be able
a social context for people to meet and
to articulate why the group exists.  If you
get to know other lgbt people, and one
can not clearly state the reason the group
group to advocate for change with the
8
M
B u i l d i n g   a   H e a l t h y   O r g a n i z a t i o n






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