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September 09, 1982 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-09-09

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 9, 1982-Page 5-C

Despite the social progress that
*seems to have been made over the last
:20 years in the battle against
discrimination, it is still not easy to be a
minority in this country, especially an
invisible one.
And although Ann Arbor, which in
1972 became the first city in the nation
to pass an anti-discrimination policy
that included sexual preference, is sup-
posedly a liberal town, life here for
gays can still by trying.
a "I FELT LIKE the whole hall wanted
me out," said LSA senior Donovan
Mack, who came out of the closet in 1978
as a freshman in South Quad.
"The threats were both verbal and
physical. It was really quite scary," he
said. "They (people) were belligerent
and harassing. There was very little
understanding about homosexuality."
Mack moved to another hall after
telling his two roommates. "The whole
thing was handled very quietly," he
*said. "From then on, I was much more
discreet and much less willing to
divulge myself to other people in the
JUDY, A member of Lesbian/Gay
Male Community Services of Ann Ar-
bor, said she experienced similar
aharassment. "I've gotten spit on. I've
gotten water balloons thrown at me for
standing in front of the Rubaiyat," she
"I'm just somewhat cynical because
I've had some bad experiences," said
Judy, who claims she was forced to
leave her job at a local restaurant
because of harassment about her
For some gays, however, coming out

come out despite lingering biases

is much easier. George Lavdas, a
University law student in his second
year, said he gradually told only people
he knew fairly well.
"I CAME OUT in such a way that was
indirect and they (those he told) had to
think," he said. "It was never a con-
scious decision-now I'm going to come

professors and fellow students don't
take it too well," Mack said.
"I can see a person giving him or her-
self the benefit of the doubt and keeping
closeted," especially when their career
may be on the line, he added.
LAVDAS agreed, saying "There's a
personal conflict. Here I am being Mr.

"I've gotten spit upon. I've gotten water
balloons thrown at me for standing in front
of the Rubaiyat. For me, (Ann Arbor)
hasn't been all that progressive of a town.''
-Judy, member of the
Lesbian/Gay Male
Community Services

parental dominance, I felt really free to
do something like that (come out)," he
"You want to feel like you belong to a
gay community," Mack said, because
some gays feel alienated from the
regular community.
ALTHOUGH many groups for gays
have formed, and more and more gays
are coming out of the closet, some
believe acceptance is still a problem.
"For me it hasn't been all that
progressive of a town," Judy said,
referring to the harassment she has
received. "It's not better for gays here
than in any other town."
Many leaders :n the gay community
do feel that Ann Arbor has advanced in
the area of accepting gays. "Things
have become progressively more
liberalinthe past several years," ac-
cording to John Sugars, a member of
Michigan Gay Undergraduates, which
was formed last winter. "More people
are feeling comfortable about being
ORIGINALLY, the group was mainly
a social organization, an alternative to
the bar scene, Sugars said, but in the
past few months, it has become more
"I think it's close to impossible to
have a gay organization without
having any political activities at all ...
The political aspect was inevitable,"
Sugars said.
"There's a lot of people who wanted
to become political but didn't know how
to or didn't want to do it alone;" Sugars
added. "Ann Arbor's ripe for something
like this (the group) right now. I don't
think a group like this could have been
formed a few years ago."

ALTHOUGH many gays seek coun-
seling at the University, the number is
not any greater than straight students
coming for help, according to the
University's counseling office.
"There are different social
pressures, not necessarily increased
ones," said senior counselor Nicki At-
wood. "In some ways (the problems
are) less," she said, "because there is
the supportive community there to link
up with."
Informing family and friends and
dealing with their reactions are the

society doesn't approve in general of
homosexual orientation . . . You can't
really be yourself," he added. "Most
people can be quite open about their
sexual choices but it's harder when :a
gay person can't just bring a date
Mack said he came out to his mother
at the same time he came out at the
University. "As a lot of parents do," he
said, "she had a lot of difficulty under-
standing. There was a lot of en-
couragement for me to get counseling
so I could get cured, concern over the

"Oftentimes, straight people have no
knowledge of a gay person. For a hetero-
sexual person who hasn't met an openly gay
person, they have no way of dispelling


out. It was a gradual process." He ad-
ded that he never made a choice to be
gay--"I just was."
Most of those Lavdas told reacted
favorably, he said. "They accepted me
well. It was just a matter of being in-
formed," he said. "I would say their
reactions, in general, were positive."
He added, however, that when he was
a freshman at the University, "the
thought of telling anyone I was gay was
horrifying," mainly because he was
afraid of harassment.
MANY GAYS are also afraid of,
academic or career setbacks that
might result from revealing their
"I feel I'm getting to be very vocal....
and I feel that, collectively, both my

Vocal, but I'm not going to put it on may
He added, coming out "has a stifling
effect. It's viewed as a trade-off. If you
knew your career would not be affec-
ted, who cares."
Lavdas said he came ot to help him-
self and others. "My personal life was
not being lived to the fullest," he ex-
plained. "It's not fun living in the
closet. I'm a very emotional person. I
need to express my emotions."
IN ADDITION, he said, "I began to
feel an obligation to inform straight
people about gay people. I thought if I
didn't, who would?"
Mack had similar reasons. "I wanted
to be honest," he said. "After leaving
the narrow halls of high school and the

-Beth Doyle, program coordinator
for the Office of Human Sexuality

: ,

more common problems gays face, ac-
cording to Lyn Scott, another Univer-
sity senior counselor.
"MOST OF the (students) I see are
struggling with internal conflicts and
uncertainties which are sometimes
made worse by social pressures," Scott
"Our society makes it tough. Our

people who were influencing me in Ann
Arbor, and reluctance to talk about it
any further.
"THERE'S still very little acceptan-
ce of it, very little understanding, but I
haven't followed through. I haven't
given her enough information to form
her feelings."
See GAYS, Page 6

We Repair your Breaks

Local groups available to gays

The gay community in Ann Arbor is certainly large
and diversified. To meet the different needs of this
community, more than 20 University and non-
University organizations, ranging from Gay
Volleyball to Gay Alcoholics Anonymous, have for-
med for gays to go for counseling, support, or just to
One of the more well-known groups is Lesbian/Gay
Male Community Services of Ann Arbor, which was
formally organized in March, 1981. -
THE GROUP, which is open to both gays and non-
gays who support gay rights, is divided into three
.committees: a political committee, which works on
activities such as Gay Pride Week, a social commit-
tee, and an elucation committee which publishes the
group's monthly newsletter.
A number of the local groups, however, serve only
as resource and referral services.
"As an organization of people that do things, the
Gay Liberation Front (GLF) does very little," GLF
*1member Ric Chollar said. "It's a networking and
connecting type of group."
Then there are other groups, according to Chollar,
like the Pink Triangle Collective, which conducts
:support groups and "coming out" groups.

"IT'S SUPPORT groups for gay men who may just
be learning what it is to be gay," Chollar said of the
For gay students who want to meet with others at
the University, there are groups that cater to specific
students, such as Lesbian/Gay Law Students and the
Alliance of Lesbian and Gay Male Social Work
There are also religioussgroups for gays of all*
denominations in the Ann Arbor area.
"WE'RE HERE if someone has felt alienated from
the church or has something against the church
because of the old church teaching on
homosexuality," said Gene Galley, president of the
Ann Arbor Chapter of Dignity, a predominantly
Catholic group.
"It's not meant to be the ultimate end for gay
spirituality," Galley said.
This year, Dignity, which meets at St. Mary's"
Chapel on E. William, plans to work more closely
with the other members of the congregation and to
take a more active role in community service, accor-
ding to Galley.
"RIGHT NOW, we're somewhat separated but
we're trying to blend those into one another," he said.
"We're finally getting our feet-on the ground and

In 1979, Northside Presbyterian Church on Broad-
way became a "more light" church, a term used to
describe a church which is open to gay members, ac-
cording to Cleve Qvans of Presbyterians for
Lesbian/Gay Concerns.
"The church is open to full membership of all
people of any sexual orientation without having to
deny or hide it," Evans said.
THERE HAVE been few problems between the gay
and straight members of the congregation although
Evans added, "There have been a couple of people
who haven't quite understood the stand the church
has taken."
In addition to services for gays, a support group is
now available for the parents and friends of gays. The
group, which was formed in March, meets once a
month at the First Methodist Church on S. State
According to members, this type of group was
sorely needed in the Ann Arbor area. "I was sur-
prised that a community with as much diversity as
Ann Arbor didn't have a parent support group," one
member said.
The group's meetings, which are attended by both
mothers and fathers, revolve around small group and
panel discussions, and guest speakers, including
psychiatrists and social workers.

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After one month at the University,
students begin to realize that they must
-evote much of their time to their
studies. What they must also realize is
that all work and no play not only
makes Jack a dull boy, but a flabby one,
Never fear. There is an unending
supply of recreation outlets at the
University and in Ann Arbor all year
long, most of which are free. No matter
what's your pleasure, you'll find it here.
So you have no excuse for not getting,
enough exercise.
THE UNIVERSITY Department of
Recreational Sports offers students the
chance to participate in a wide variety
of sports. The Intramural Sports
Program offers competitive sports and
other recreational activities for teams
and individuals.
The department also sponsors the
Sports Club program, consisting of
more than 35 sports clubs ranging from
sailing to lacrosse that compete against
schools both in the Midwest and around
the country.
Four University buildings house the
University's recreational facilities: the
Central Campus Recreation Building,
on Washtenaw and Geddes; the In-
tramural Building, on Hoover near
State Street; the North Campus
Recreation Building, on Murfin and
Hubbard; and the Sports Coliseum, at
S. Fifth Avenue and Hill.
THE FACILITIES available at these
buildings include swimming pools,
courts for basketball, volleyball, tennis,
handball and squash, weight rooms,
running tracks, and saunas, to name a
few. Reservations must be made for
many of these, but there is no charge
for their use.
For fair weather play, the Ann Arbor
area offers a number of parks and
fields. One of the most convenient is
Palmer Field, which sits below the Hill
Anr... i n nn a.- .-. :a t_ _nran - +w ^I __

__ l.

courts, a field games area, and 10 soc-
cer fields.
Nichol's Arboretum, more affec-
tionately known as the Arb, is one of the
most popular places in which students
can commune with nature, throw
around a frisbee, or mellow out. The 35
acres of sprawling hills, trees, and
various other forms of foliage is also a
favorite spot for winter sports, such as
tobogganing and traying (tobogganing
on dorm cafeteria trays).
The main entrances to the Arb are off
of Geddes Rd. and in back of Mary
Markley Hall. One general warning
about entering: it is easier to get in than
out,, so if you plan on going exploring,
plan on getting lost.

FOR PRE-MEDS (and others so in-
clined) there are three public golf
courses in the area, One of these,
located on Stadium Boulevard across
from Crisler Arena, is run by the
University. Leslie Golf Course, at 2120
Traver Rd., and Huron Hills, at the in-
tersection of Huron Parkway and E.
Huron River Drive, are both run by the
When winter arrives, many neigh-
borhood parks, including Fuller and
Buhr Park, 2751 Packard Rd., freeze
their grassy areas for skating rinks. In-
door skating is offered at the Univer-
sity's Yost Arena, on State Street, and
at Ann Arbor's Veteran's Park, 2150
Jackson Rd.

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