Pride Alliance Reformed

Let me start by stating how happy that I am to be back at SUNY Oswego. I graduated last year in May with a B.S. in Adolescence Education, and for multiple reasons, I eventually decided to return to SUNY Oswego as a graduate student and just began a month ago. I truly missed SUNY Oswego and am, again, so happy to be back. I certainly haven’t missed this crazy weather, but I have definitely missed the campus and have missed being a student, in general. I got certified to teach late in the summer and subbed in the fall until I came back to Oswego, and I am so thrilled to be back in the classroom as a student. I am definitely a student at heart, and learning is such an exciting prospect for me. I am taking Women and Screen Studies with Amy Shore (which I love), Black Women Writers with Patricia Clark (which I also love), and Theories of Teaching Composition with Robert Moore. I love my classes and am really immersed in what I am studying.

I want to, however, primarily focus this blog entry upon SUNY Oswego’s Pride Alliance. Some of you may recall the blog entry that I wrote quite some time ago; “Pride Alliance in Need of Reformation” is the title, and, in fact, if you run a search for Pride Alliance on SUNY Oswego’s website, that blog entry is currently the first page that will appear. I addressed my concerns regarding the organization because at the time, I felt that Pride Alliance was not focusing on what is truly important; it focused too much attention on sex and not nearly enough attention on more practical, more important issues. I was very harsh, but I do not apologize for anything that I stated because I definitely think that everything that I stated was very reasonable, especially since I was far from being alone in my opinions; even a professor here at SUNY Oswego agreed with me. However, I have been attending Pride Alliance this semester and have to say that I am so incredibly happy to see that the organization is much more practical and productive and is doing a lot more of what it should be doing both on campus and within the Oswego community. I am having such a great time as a member of Pride Alliance, and it is an organization of which I am vehemently proud to be a part. I am not going to say that it was my blog entry that particularly initiated these reforms, but who knows? Perhaps, it had some sort of impact.

Pride Alliance is now under new leadership, and with all due respect to the former team that led the organization, I think that that probably has a great deal to do with why the organization is a lot more productive now. Marian Holmes is the president, and I have to say that she is absolutely fabulous. Full of passion and energy, she is clearly dedicated to ensuring that Pride Alliance is not just mere entertainment but also makes a positive difference both on campus and within the community; the entire team seems great, and they are planning many awesome events for the semester. Yesterday, for example, we had the Oswego High School Acceptance Coalition join us, and it was a lot of fun. As Marian has pointed out, with Oswego High School being so geographically close to the college campus, it would be kind of ridiculous if we were to neglect the opportunity to build a bridge between our organizations, something that has never been attempted or, as far as I know, even discussed before. Next week, someone is coming to talk about living with being HIV-positive, and a comedian is possibly coming later in the semester, as well. In addition (and I am momentously excited about this), a NOH8 photoshoot is planned, which will take place during some point of the semester. Pride Alliance is definitely reformed, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re interested in attending meetings (and I sincerely hope that you are because the more, the merrier), they are held on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in room 133 (across from the auditorium) of the Campus Center. You can also check the Pride Alliance out at their website,

Pride Alliance in Need of Reformation

A couple of years ago, shortly after I officially came out and everyone that I knew was aware of my sexuality, I attended a handful of Pride Alliance (then referred to as Rainbow Alliance; thank heavens for that change, at least) meetings and unfortunately gave up after some time, as I was sourly disappointed. Out of the four of five meetings that I attended, only one discussed topics of importance, such as coming out and LGBT-related bullying. Other than that, all we talked about was sex, sex, sex. One time that I went, the students played a game which involved placing flavored condoms on bananas and then tasting them with their eyes closed and having to guess what the flavor was. Another time, anilingus was discussed, and a powerpoint presentation played which depicted various sex positions. Another time, various sex toys, such as dildos and handcuffs, were presented via a powerpoint presentation. I know that I was not the only one that this offended, as another male student whose name I will not provide said that he was offended. These kinds of meetings give power to those who disregard homosexuality as nothing more than promiscuous horseplay, and there are many that are against homosexuality for that very reason; they are so indoctrinated by representations of LGBT people (especially gay men) as promiscuous partiers that are not capable of settling down in a serious relationship but instead of have sex with various partners on a regular basis. What is Pride Alliance doing to remedy that by focusing so heavily on sex?

I have not gone much since, so I don’t know if changes have been made under the new president, but I have heard that it really hasn’t. I did go to the most recent meeting, which involved Rachel Walerstein providing a presentation, primarily on what it means to be an ally, and that was a lot more productive than the Pride Alliance activities to which I am accustomed. However, it is quite obvious to me that someone is trying to keep Pride Alliance as silent as possible, because I always remember having a large room with a computer and projector; the new room has absolutely nothing, only chairs and a white board with some markers, not all of which work. There are no desks or tables, and there is no computer or projector, and this made Rachel’s job as a presenter difficult. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we have to admit that Pride Alliance has virtually no presence on campus except on Coming Out Day when it provides t-shirts and, of course, when it hosts the Drag Ball. It needs a better room for meetings where productive activities can be conducted, and it needs a stronger presence on campus. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way; am I correct in saying that?

Additionally, it upsets me that Pride Alliance is a group listed under “Special Interests,” alongside groups such as chess, while Asian Culture Club and groups such as that are listed under Culture. In my opinion, Pride Alliance should be listed under Culture, as well, as it is a diversity just the same as a nationality/ethnicity is. A professor that is in agreement with me joked that it is not like one might say “Oh, I like being gay/lesbian” when asked what he or she is interested in. Homosexuality has a history, and gay men and lesbian women have been beaten down just like African Americans, Jewish people, etc. have been. Many forget, for example, that gay men were targeted during the Holocaust, as well, and they were beaten, tortured, and killed, forced to sleep in their underwear as they were watched all night. Does this sound like something as trivial as chess to you? When I went to Rachel’s presentation last week, I would estimate that there were probably less than twenty people present, which doesn’t compare to what was probably closer to fifty or sixty when I went a couple of years ago, so I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.