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News :: GLBT/Queer
Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
The following was sent to me by a Dana Hall student regarding the recent removal of a Pride Flag from a dorm window before "Grandparents Day".
Please call the school at 781-235-3010 and tell Blair Jenkins, the Head of School, that you oppose the removal of the Pride Flag. If you are not able to reach Jenkins, please leave a message with the secretary. The sooner the better, as Grandparents Day is tomorrow. Together with Dana students- who will be flyering- we can have an impact on these homophobic policies.
[Editor's note: According to several postings below, this is a false alarm. A misunderstanding, not a deliberate act of homophobia, was involved.]

Dana Hall School, an all girls’ prep school in Wellesley, is overall an accepting and safe environment. Unfortunately, when it comes to LGBT issues, the school suffers from heterosexism, and assumes overall that all of its students are heterosexual. Examples of this are the treatment of boys on campus; it is assumed that students will only have relationships with boys, boys are never allowed in students’ rooms, and girls are only allowed to have male visitors when chaperoned by an adult. On the other hand, relationships with other females are entirely overlooked in all aspects of the school. A recent example of the schools struggle with image when concerning LGBT issues was on Grandparents Day; the Head of School Blair Jenkins asked for the removal of a Pride Flag from a boarding student’s window with the justification that she wanted the school to look “tidy” for the Grandparents. The flag was removed the day before Grandparents Day without the student’s knowledge.
(the author of this statement wishes to remain anonymous for fear of punishment from the school)

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Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
Definition of Homophobia = fear of homosexuals. I don't think that the people who removed the flag feared homosexuals. If they were truly homophobic, they would have feared getting their asses kicked for stealing the flag.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
i beg to differ, i think they do fear homosexuals because they don't understand it. they are clearly afraid that the grandparents will not be okay with a gay pride flag.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
homophobia (n) - Prejudice against (fear or dislike of) homosexual people and homosexuality
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
I don't get this for three reasons:

1) Why the hell don't they just put the damn flag back up instead of whining.
2) They point out that the school prevents men from being in the dorms but allows women... why are they complaining, it seems as though the school prohibits heterosexual activity while allowing homosexual. Don't complain about a privelege.
3) The reason the school doesn't allow men in the dorms is because they are liable for pregnancy, and schools are shit scared of litigation. Two women can't get pregnant (at least in a school dorm) during intercourse. Thus their liability is less.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
1. The flag can't be put back up if it was taken. in addition, the students fear punishment from the school. This is a junior and senior high school. In addition, this article is hardly whining if anything, and the students can make a bigger statement by forcing the school to allow them to have the flag and disrupting the visit day than they can by just defying the head of school and getting in trouble for it.
2. This isn't a complaint about privilege, it is a complaint that the school does not recognize homosexual relationships as legitimate.
3. You make a good point, however it's still wrong for the school to assume that everyone is heterosexual.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
Thanks, Eric.
I can see their point of view for wanting the flag to be taken down, as many of the grandparents are potentially conservative and needed-donors to the school. They may not feel that it's a homophobic act themselves, but simply want to cater to the potentially homophobic grantparents.
But this is a homophobic act in itself, which is probably what they have failed to see. Even though it is after 10pm, I am going to call them right now in hopes they will get the message tomorrow morning.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
I am of two minds on this.

1. The school perhaps had the right to take down the flag as it was within their property and the wall of the dorm was not owned by the student, but by the school. Therefore they probably have the legal right to take it down (though not steal it, since it's somebody else's property). I'm not a law student, so I might be completely wrong. The school could have done many worse things than simply remove the flag. They could have suspended her because she didn't remove it in a timely matter and called it insubordination or what have you.

2. I'm offended as a bisexual human being that somebody would have the gall to suppress somebody's expression like that.

Comments? I am very happy to discuss.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
regardless of the school's legal rights, it is still wrong of them to have the student take down the flag. though it may be in their best interest to take the flag down to please grandparents, it means that the school is standing up for money rather than freedom and against discrimination. if the school can't stand up for it's students, what can it stand up for? legally able to or not, the school shouldn't be doing this.
if the israeli flag (which is hung elsewhere on campus, along with other national flags) was offensive to grandparents, would people still advocate that it was taken down in order to please them? i doubt it.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
21 Apr 2005
The pride flag that was removed was mine so I feel that it is appropriate for me to say a few words. I would like to let everyone know it was put back up, in a more tidy fashion. Also for the person who said stop whining, I understand how an outsider may see this as a whiny post but i feel unless you are a Dana Hall student you cannot truly understand. This has less to do with legal rights and more to do with the hypocrisy of the school. Dana Hall is continuously preaching that students should speak their mind and express themselves. This act was clearly a hypocritical action that I feel needs to be addressed. I plan to speak with Mrs. Jenkins is a mature and helpful fashion about this event as well as others. I would elaborate on things I have said but as a boarding student my internet shuts off at 11:00...a different annoyance all together.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
22 Apr 2005
It's not that a school that allows males into each other's rooms and females into each other's rooms doesn't accept homosexual relationships as valid. I went to a Western Mass prep school, much like Dana Hall, and was involved in a homosexual relationship with another student there. The administration from hall monitors up pretty much ignored our relationship, as far as visitations are concerned, for a few reasons (these are as explained by the head of our GSA, a lesbian teacher at the school):
1) We couldn't get each other pregnant, so what did the school care?
2) We had to put up with so much shit all the time that officials were willing to turn their backs to us visiting, just because we deserved a break in some way.
3) What else are they going to do? Forbid homosexuals from visiting each other? I know you'd complain ten times as hard if that happened. God, honestly, some people are never happy.
This has nothing to do with "assuming everyon'es het." It's just the best course of action.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
22 Apr 2005
Oh, the hypocrisy is definitely there. Why limit freedom like that? Rather than just taking the flag, the school should have requested that it be made to look more "tidy". Wouldn't that have pleased them without really upsetting anyone?

LGBT or heterosexual, all relationships SHOULD be seen as equally valid and treated as such. Saying this as a Unitarian bisexual, acceptance is the greatest gift anyone can ever give you, no matter who or what you are.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
22 Apr 2005
This is stupid. No one on here is saying that homophobia is cool, simply that the way these kids are dealing with it seems silly.
22 Apr 2005
As the owner of the pride flag that was removed I have important information. This was not at all a homophobic act. The flag was solely taken down because there can be no items outside student windows. It was confirmed that Mrs. Jenkins, headmistress of Dana Hall, was not even aware that it was a gay pride flag. She viewed it at a distance and only recognized some item outside my window. As the head of Dana Hall’s GSA I can assure you that Dana Hall as an institution is continuously working towards equality. The reason for the mass hysteria was caused by uninformed assumptions that were made. I apologize for the uproar.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
In reply to "my flag" thank you for posting tha clarification. This is an example of how knee jerk activists will take any issue and blow it out of proportion. I have said it before and I will say it again - pete and matt can censor me but I will keep saying it - some people have far to much time on their hands coupled with anger and mischief. Knee jerk reactions and in your face activism do nothing to help the gay, lesbian and transgender cause. Most gay/lesbians/transgender are private people and are fairly moderate and conservative. They do not want every slight or percieved injustice to be turned into a war cry or rallying cry.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
Sid- what you don't understand is that the blurb was originally written by someone involved in this at the school, and the girl who's flag it was knew. it was posted by someone else because, as the article says, the students feared punishment from the school. as one can tell from the second "my flag" post, the students have since met with the school and probably realized there was a misunderstanding, or maybe the school is pissed off and forced her to say that or they'd punish her.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
yeah sid, what the fuck give you the right to speak on behalf of all GLBT people? you don't speak for me. even if this was blown out of proportion, it forces the school to be more careful. and what the fuck, the head of school didn't know it was a pride flag?? where has she been?
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
Why can't you people just admit when you're wrong?
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
Nice language Mike.
Re: Action against homophobia at Dana Hall
23 Apr 2005
As the roomate of the flag owner (and someone heavily involved with the issue) I have some things to say.
Amanda had it right- there were misunderstnadings all around. And Eric had the best of intentions when he posted this- he wanted to right an injustice. It may have been a "knee jerk reaction", but who hasn't had those? And, again, his heart was in the right place.
As for the head of schools "not recognizing the flage for what it was", they way the flag "hung" ( i use quotation marks because it was hung from a roof with not duct tape, but masking tape) it often partially fell down and twisted upon its self, thus making it difficult to identify from a far range.
And that last bit isn't a bunch of bull that the head of school wanted me to say. It's true. The flag got messed up all the time.

Thanks for your time, guys.