There were several new events featured during this year’s Out Week, sponsored by Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance (BQSA). Out Week began last Saturday, October 19 and ends today.
The two biggest additions to Out Week were a collaboration with the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) and a film screening. In conjunction with the BOC, BQSA sponsored an “Out in the Wilderness” hike at Morse Mountain on October 19. The BQSA also screened “The Kids Are All Right” starring Julianne Moore and Amanda Bening.
According to Jasmine Bailey ’14, one of the student heads of the BQSA, the events were successful at getting new students involved with Out Week.
“We had some students participate that I don’t know really well and that don’t usually participate,” said Bailey.
According to Bailey, this is a challenge that BQSA faces every year during Out Week.
“We struggle with trying to get more people on campus to come to our events—more people within the queer community and more people outside the queer community,” said Bailey.
One event that typically attracts a lot of involvement is Yellow Shirt Day, which is Bailey’s favorite event of Out Week. On Yellow Shirt Day, queer students, allies and faculty wear yellow to represent their support for queer students on campus. Every year, BQSA designs a shirt for students to wear for Yellow Shirt Day. Generally, they produce extra to sell, but often end up losing money on the shirts.
Bailey explained that BQSA coordinates the most with the athletic department to order the shirts.
This year, some students had complaints about the availability of shirts for all students as well as a lack of publicity surrounding Yellow Shirt Day.
“I know that a lot of people, including myself, actually wanted shirts, but they tend to run out,” said Maya Little ’15.
According to Bailey, the only information released to the community at large is through the Orbit Digest. Besides that, Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan ’98 reached out to athletes, while Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity Kate Stern informed faculty and staff.
“It felt a little bit exclusive to athletes,” said Kevin Ma ’17.
This was the fourth annual Yellow Shirt Day.
There were also complaints about sidewalk chalk written to advertise Out Week to students.
“We give out chalk [to the members of BQSA] and just walk around the campus,” said Bailey.
“You can basically write whatever you want as long as it isn’t particularly offensive or wrong and we usually give students the freedom to write whatever they want.”
This year, there was one particularly provocative chalk message near Massachusetts Hall.
“There’s [a message] that says ‘Choose Your Gender’ and there’s a little box that says ‘Female,’ a box that says ‘Male’ and a box that has a check mark in it that says ‘Fuck you,’” said Charlie Rollins ’14. “I walk by that probably four times a day and every time I do there’s an anonymous person telling me to go fuck myself. For me, I think that’s unacceptable on campus.”
Rollins expressed his complete support of Out Week and all messages delivered by BQSA during Out Week; however, he was uncomfortable with the delivery.