Historical Documents – 1971 ‘Gay Lib Approved as a Club’

By Bill Burdick
Oct. 1, 1971, Oberlin Review

[JPG of original article – 313K]

The club charter for the Oberlin College Gay Liberation was approved last week by the Student Life Committee. The charter, which has been pending approval since last year due to the collapse of the Student Senate, meticulously fulfilled all requirements, the most important ones being membership open to all and a duly elected treasurer to allot funds.

The faculty advisors for this group will be Thomas Bechtel, associate dean of students, and Brenda Way, instructor of dance.

The basic aim of Gay Liberation will be to seek freedom of sexual expression, and, as envisioned by junior Pat Clawson, a co-founder of the group along with junior Gary Kepper, “to help people realize the full potential of sexual expression.”

There are several other major goals set for the club, including convincing people that “gay is not sick” and that homosexuals are not freaks. As stated in the charter, the organization will strive “to eliminate the harassment of gay people as evidenced both by open hostility and covert sexist attitudes.”

Gay Lib will also seek to overcome the defensiveness of the College gay community. By sponsoring social events, they will try to help gay people “have an open and full social life.” Dances open to all are planned at which all forms of emotional expression (for example, men dancing with other men,) will be accepted. They will also serve as places where “gay people can get together,” said Mr. Clawson.

As a chartered organization, Gay Lib is entitled to funds from the General Fund. They will request “under $500” from the financial committee according to Mr. Clawson, who is also a leading member of that committee. More funds will come from admission charges to social events and from “bake sales.”

Counseling services

Money will be used partly for the miscellaneous expenditures of a counseling service which they plan to initiate a week from this Wednesday. Counseling will be offered personally or by telephone since some homosexuals prefer to remain anonymous.

The establishment of “Consciousness-Raising Groups” is also included in the approved charter, “in which gay people learn to help themselves with emotional problems.”

Another outlet for funds will be the purchase of current periodicals and literature for a library in a “Gay Lib Information Center” and the cost of conferences on human sexuality and related topics they will be attending. Seminars with outside speakers are planned and will also require funds.

The charter was approved without too much trouble, although there was some legal question whether the SLC would be condoning sodomy through their actions. They concluded they would not be, since the organization was basically educational in nature.