Chapter 8:
Organizing Against Hate
By Kevin Berrill
  a frightful and isolated place, to be
sure, but also one of relative safety.  
Across the United States, lgbt people on
college and university campuses are
Increasing numbers of students, faculty
becoming more visible and vocal.  In
and staff, however, are refusing to bow to
recent years there has been a dramatic
the pressure to remain invisible and are
increase in both the number and level of
organizing for equality, justice and safety
activity of lgbt student, staff, faculty, and
for lgbt people.  This section is written
alumni/ae groups.  As a result, ever
for activists and groups seeking to orga 
greater numbers of schools have adopted
nize against bigoted harassment and for a
policies prohibiting anti LGBT discrimi 
campus environment that is not only tol 
nation, initiated academic and non acade 
erant but that revels in diversity.  
mic programs to address lgbt issues and
concerns, and taken other positive steps. 
That s the good news.
An academic environment is theoretical 
ly one in which diversity, pluralism, and
The bad news is that as lgbt people (along
the free exchange of ideas are cherished
with other minority groups) have become
and protected.
more visible and assertive, we have
increasingly become the targets of
In recent years, however, an alarming rise
harassment and violence.  Since the
in reports of harassment and violence
1980s, reports of bias related episodes
against people of color, women, Jews,
have risen dramatically, both on campus
and lgbt people suggests that, just as in
and off.  The message behind these
the larger society, bigotry may be gaining
attacks is perhaps best summed up by
ground on many college campuses.  Slurs
graffiti recently chalked on a sidewalk at
and offensive jokes, ugly graffiti, hate
one university which read:  "Stay in the
mail, sexual harassment, and physical
closet, queer!"  In the face of expressions
assaults are becoming an all too familiar,
such as this, it s easy to understand why
and sometimes accepted, part of universi 
some lgbt people find refuge in the closet
ty life.  
This chapter is based on research and writing conducted in 1990 by then NGLTF volun 
teers Richard Wood and Todd Clark, Gene Staquet, then an NGLTF Campus Project
intern, and Howard Ehrlich, Ph.D., of the National Institute Against Prejudice and Vio 
lence.  Updated information has been provided by Curt Shepard, NGLTF Campus Project.
O r g a n i z i n g   A g a i n s t   H a t e
M     1 7 5


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