Hundreds of HBS students have attended three events hosted by Section Q, a new student organization for straight allies who support people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
This year a new section was introduced to the HBS community: Section Q. Twice this year, Section Q hosted mixers open to all HBS students and attended by hundreds. It also co-sponsored an open forum, “Everything you wondered about gay people but were afraid to ask,” on Tuesday, April 22 with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Association (LGBTSA) attended by over 50 students. So what is Section Q, exactly?
As the honorary 11th section on campus, Section Q is a growing cohort of straight students who are proud to support people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It is a group of students who believe in inclusiveness and equality, and who want to advocate for the end of homophobia in business and our community. There is no sign-up required to be a member of Section Q; you simply have to have an open mind and a willingness to support equal rights for people regardless of sexual orientation.
While Section Q support has grown substantially on campus, members were concerned to hear about a homophobic event that occurred just down the river at MIT. The Tech, MIT’s newspaper, reported on April 11, 2008 that a Sloan student threatened members of the LGBT club on campus. “It is upsetting to hear that such an event could happen in a community so similar to our own,” said Alec Detwiler (OJ). (Go to //www.tech.mit.edu/V128/N18/sloan.html to link to the article.)
The importance of the HBS community values is underscored when we learn about events like these. “Sadly, this is not an isolated event at MIT but, rather, symptomatic of the lingering discrimination and prejudice that still exists in our society,” said Frances Messano (OG). “With a core belief in the value of each and every individual in our community, however, we hope that something like this will never happen to-or by-members of the HBS community.”
Open dialogue is especially important in communities as diverse as HBS to ensure misunderstandings do not escalate. Section Q will continue to play an important role by creating opportunities for positive interaction and idea exchange. Look out for more great Section Q events next year!