Gay life at Bowdoin

<p>Is there a substantial gay life at Bowdoin College? Is there a GLBT organization for students at Bowdoin?</p>

<p>Not really an answer, but I thought you might be interested in this video - YouTube</a> - ‪I AM BOWDOIN‬‏</p>

<p>that was a really good video. i don't think it paints bowdoin particularly well, but it also is honest and, in a strange way, hopeful. i think many of the issues of bias discussed in the video are direct results of bowdoin's size and its prestige and students' unwillingness to be silent about it. i was gay at bowdoin and found it, for the most part, to be an open and remarkable place. but i came from a deeply religious, intolerant part of the country. i also thought the way race was treated at bowdoin was and, it appears, still is a work in progress. but the fact that students at bowdoin can envision a better way of interacting, are not drowned out by a sea of other complacent students, and have the courage to call upon their environment to live up to their vision is truly inspiring and is, perhaps, the best indication that they are, deeply and truly, bowdoin students. </p>

<p>i graduated a few years ago and being out in the world has made me realize how naive and hopeful i was at bowdoin. i was the type of student while i was there who would have made this video or been in it. i don't want to cast too rosy a hue on all of this, but to see how i discuss issues of race or sexuality or gender now, as an adult, in a world that struggles so much more profoundly and in ways far more gruesome than we did once at bowdoin, makes me thankful for the maddening, upsetting, sometimes futile conversations i had as a student there. even to see the way i discuss them with friends who went to very similar schools has given me reason to think the way bowdoin addresses its issues is unique.</p>

<p>i will say that it is a college with a healthy critical sensibility. i am disappointed, as i was when i was a student, that incidents sometimes happen on campus to make students there feel unwelcome and alien as i sometimes felt. but i also wouldn't have gone elsewhere, especially knowing what i know now. the way bowdoin reacts to those incidents is unique. the conversation that happens on campus about how a community can serve its diverse members is unique. the conversation needs to grow, but it happens, apparently, still, just as it happened when i was there. this isn't in response to the OP, but the video was, for me, an occasion for reflection.</p>

<p>Bowdoin has a Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and a fairly new (late 2009) group on campus: Anything But Straight in Athletics. Resource</a> Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (Bowdoin)</p>

<p>And, here's a recent write-up with a link to a terrific article about Bowdoin:Openly</a> Gay Lacrosse Captain, First Publicly Out NCAA Varsity Men’s Coach are ‘Opening Closet Doors’ (Outsports) Bowdoin Daily Sun</p>

<p>That video was chilling. Damn am I glad my daughter refused to consider Bowdoin. Good thing she didn't listen to me.</p>

<p>Plainsman, the issues addressed in the video are not at all unique to Bowdoin. What is unique, is the courage and spirit these students demonstrated by making the video and organizing the rally. None of them expressed regret about having chosen Bowdoin. In fact, their commitment to Bowdoin seems to me to be part of their message.</p>

<p>I thought it was interesting that the only students who appeared in the video were the minority students. It says alot, IMO, that it didn't include the perspectives of others on campus, and may be indicative of the isolation they feel. Even when they did the "I am Bowdoin" chant at the end, only one or two kids who weren't dressed in black moved forward to join the circle of kids chanting.</p>

<p>I don't think this is typical only of Bowdoin, either. But, I do think it's more indicative of the East Coast schools. I am from the East Coast, and both my husband and I attended these LACs, but I really wanted my kids to go out to the midwest, where I sensed much more of a "come as you are" feeling about the student bodies there. I felt that my son, in particular, would have a good education and make friends if he went to one of the New England LACs, but that he would also have to find his "niche." I just felt that at the midwestern schools, he wouldn't have to feel that way. I"m thrilled that he came to this conclusion totally on his own, and is now at Grinnell. Not that there aren't some issues there as well, but the tone and dialogue on campus is always about how to improve diversity and inclusion. The self-governance system supports the sense of community, not in a rah rah team spirit way, but in reminding everyone that as a group of people living and working together, they are responsible to and for each other. Any time an issue arises, there is full-on campus dialogue, with meetings, posters, stories in the paper, etc. The students are really analytical about themselves and the world. The new president is also black and openly gay (married with two kids). </p>

<p>I read an article in the New York Times about misogynist activity at Yale, and a comment from a female student, who said she just closed her windows and ignored it. This is precisely the type of thing that would never occur at Grinnell. The students would speak out. They wouldn't just shut the noise out....</p>

<p>I guess I turned this into an advertisement for Grinnell... it's a matter of fit, though. Grinnell wouldn't be for everyone either, but I have to say, I'm with Plainsman here......His daughter is at Oberlin, and I'll bet he'd ditto my remarks above....</p>

<p>Interestingly, Williams has been using an "I am Williams" marketing thing for quite a while, where it profiles various people in the community, through first-person narratives under this banner. Actually, I think that Williams is much further along than some of these other New England LACs in its support and inclusion of diversity. I noticed that after I graduated (a long time ago now...), all the publications I began receiving in the mail featured faces of color. There is now a beautiful Jewish center right in the middle of campus (as opposed to a small basement in a church when I was there), and so on. It was really a white, preppy place when I went (predominantly) and it has made a very conscious and deliberate effort to move away from that profile. Williams was also really smart when it went co-ed in that it eliminated frats, unlike Dartmouth, which didn't. I remember not applying to Dartmouth specifically because of how a student told me women were treated there. This is ancient history, but I think it has had a lasting influence on campus dynamics.</p>

<p>me again... Speaking from experience, I think it's also very powerful and effective when the ones who AREN'T affected by the bias speak out against it. It shows that people get it and they care. I am not saying that I don't applaud the people who made this video, because I do, but I'll bet they wish they were hearing from others besides themselves.... I am thrilled that they have taken this step, and just hope that the cause is taken up by others who are NOT in the minority as well....</p>

<p>I will definitely ditto SDonCC's comments. I didn't attend an LAC, but I did graduate from a private university in the Northeast and I'm a native of the region. As a person of color, I hated the region. I especially hated it after going to graduate school in the Midwest and discovering a different level of civility and even acceptance of diversity. There was just lot less snobbery, I guess, than I experienced growing up on the East Coast. Different regional cultures. Still, my kids have gone to high school in the Northeast and naturally first considered colleges in this region. My sister's old high school boyfriend had gone to Bowdoin, so I recommended it to my D2. After seeing that video, I'm glad she didn't listen to my recommendation. </p>

<p>But once she visited the LACs in the Midwest (where she was born and lived till high school age), schools like Carleton, Oberlin, and Grinnell, the East Coast LACs didn't have a chance. She picked Oberlin mainly because it was closest to home but was still solidly midwest. But all three top midwest LACs were vastly preferable to the NESCAC schools.</p>

<p>The most chilling thing for me about that Bowdoin YouTube video wasn't the black students, although that was extremely unsettling, it was the college president. He seemed almost cavalier about the existence of prejudice and class-based ostracism on campus. He turned me off completely. He had no sense of urgency or passionate concern. He might as well have said "hey, it happens. Be patient. Times change. Eventually."</p>

<p>Please don't take this as an attack on the quality of a Bowdoin education. A Bowdoin education is among the best in the world. I'm talking specifically about campus culture, about tolerance, diversity, actively seeking and embracing differences because you believe in it, rather than to just check a box. The best Midwest LACs feel like the former, while the best in the Northeast, with the possible exception of Wesleyan, feel more like the latter. That's my opinion.</p>