This was the first letter in the Daily announcing that the "Gay Liberation Front" existed on campus. GLF opened its closet (image and text).
To the editor:
We, members of Iowa State University's gay community, feel that we can no longer tolerate the overt and covert discrimination against homosexuals on this campus; nor can we live any longer with the stereotypes of us perpetrated by the straight media, the straight establishment, and the straight witch doctors who call themselves ministers, priests, and psychiatrists.
We think it is abominable when an institution devoted to the search for truth perpetuates the ignorance of stereotyping and the idiom of the locker room. We can no longer remain silent when the ideals of this university have been perverted by sensationalism.
By allowing the presentation of the play The Boys in the Band, Iowa State University has, in effect, said that its students are prepared to tackle the question of homosexuality. Yet the university is content, or so it seems by the years of silence on the subject, to allow its students only to glimpse homosexuality from the bias of the fairly typical "homosexual" melodrama. When the university breaks its silence on the subject, it allows itself to be co-opted by sensationalism. The university obviously believes that there is no need for truth, for a balanced picture. After all, everyone knows what a faggot is.
Some of us have been associated with this university for quite a long time, and most of us can not recall ever having heard the word homosexual used in the classroom situation. There were, of course, titillating innuendos in literature class and discussions of clinical "deviance" in some other courses. Most of us were not really surprised, then, by this first campus-wide indoctrination to the "homosexual problem."
There was, of course, that lecture last year sponsored by the Committee on Human Sexuality, but then a heterosexual was also invited to the lecture to balance the picture. We mustn't allow our students to hear only the homosexual viewpoint. Yet it seems the university is perfectly content to allow trash like Boys in the Band to play without comment. Doe the university really believe that the play represents homosexuals? That, after all, is what the picture and the play tried to make the American public believe. The Boys in the Band no more represents homosexuality than does Virginia Woolf represent heterosexuality. But then, at least Virginia Woolf had a happy ending.
The university will, of course, counter that it is not in the business of censorship, and that it has tried to present homosexuality before. We are not asking for censorship. We are asking that the university recognize that a sizable proportion of its students are homosexual (4 to 10 per cent) and that these students are tired of hiding and being stereotyped. We demand to be given the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals, and we will begin to come out now and assume our equal status in this society.
Gay Liberation Front—Ames