Dear Fellow HGLC Members,
Over the past few years, the HGLC has debated updating our name to more accurately reflect the diversity of our membership. Like many LGBT organizations that started in the 1980s, our name only reflects our gay and lesbian membership. Unlike many other LGBT organizations, it has not been changed to reflect the diverse spectrum of people, including our bisexual and trans members, who have been active in our chapters, served on our board, and given a great deal to the Harvard community.
For that reason, I am proud to announce that at the end of this academic year, the HGLC will become the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus, or HGSC.
Our board is proud of our new name for a number of reasons.
- First, and most importantly, HGSC more accurately describes who we are and the kind of community we strive to be. Our board is committed to including and representing the full spectrum of LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe. If we are to attract and retain new members as students graduate and leave Harvard, it is important that we reflect the kinds of communities they have been a part of, the way they identify, and the issues they care about.
- Second, HGSC aligns our community with our friends on campus, including the Committee on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, the academic home of undergraduate LGBT studies. The terminology is not only expansive, but is familiar to those on campus and in academic settings more generally.
- Third, HGSC retains the connotation of the caucus - a diverse, mobilized group coming together - which is central to our history. The familiarity of our moniker, "the Caucus," and the similarity between the HGLC and the HGSC preserves an identity that is reasonably recognizable to our members, the Harvard Alumni Association, and the Harvard Administration.
As many of you know, we have struggled to find a name that represents our diverse community and its values. When we have talked about simply adding to the HGLC acronym, there has not been any clear consensus about whether we should also specify transsexual, intersex, queer, and questioning members, and how we could keep the name from becoming increasingly unwieldy. Many of our members are strongly opposed to the term "queer," and feel that it does not represent who they are or the community they are a part of. We are excited about the HGSC because of its unique capacity to maximize inclusivity, maintain our visibility, and align our community with other communities at Harvard.
If you have feedback on the name change, email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to talk with you about why we are so proud to carry on our work as the HGSC.
Ryan Thoreson President, HGLC