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GLC Hosts Candyland-Themed Annual Gala

Stowell, McDargh Speak On Issues Of GLBTQ Rights

Heights Staff

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

galla 4/2/12

Joseph Pasquinelli / Heights Staff

Saturday evening, the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) hosted its fourth annual Gala at the Back Bay Event Center.

The theme of this year’s gala was initially “Katy Perry Candyland” but was later changed to only “Candyland” so students would not think the pop star would be present. Approximately 250 students were in attendance. Fewer students attended Saturday night than last year when tickets for the gala sold out. However, the room did not seem empty because the space was much more intimate than Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts where the event was held in years past.

Carolyn McCrosson, GLC president and A&S ’12, said they changed venues mostly because of budgeting issues.

“We decided to change the venue to save money and be more fiscally responsible,” McCrosson said. “The Cyclorama had been a great location in years past but we wanted a location that included more than just the venue in its booking price. We are allocated very little and it makes it very difficult to put on a great event. We definitely have visions of a bigger and better gala in the future. We have learned to work around most of these budgeting limitations. We get creative in terms of decorations, and we try to negotiate prices down with catering and the venue.”

As a branch of the UGBC, the GLC “is committed to bettering the quality of life for all students at Boston College especially those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.” Their webpage goes on to say that they act as a resource for all organizations that wish to help members of the GLBTQ community gain “equality, acceptance, and understanding” at BC and in the world.

The evening began with students sampling hors d’oeuvres before forming a semi-circle on the dance floor to listen to an address from the evening’s keynote speaker Grace Sterling Stowell, executive director of Boston’s Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY). Stowell, who is transgendered, spoke on the mission and history of BAGLY, including their quest for social justice and equality. She concluded her speech by calling on those in attendance to “work together to make it better.”

John McDargh, associate professor of theology, then took the microphone and captivated the audience with his views on the intersection of religion and sexuality. McDargh, who was raised Catholic but has since become an Episcopalian, said that he was not pleased with the message and work of his church. “The Christian Church was a place that was not serving the people,” McDargh said. He switched parishes and said he felt much more comfortable in his new church. “I knew I was at home not because of what was going on in the sanctuary,” he said, “but because of what was going on in the basement.” He said young people were engaging in intellectual conversations about many topics including religion and sexuality. According to McDargh, these young people were “working to make [the Church] a place where all are accepted.”

McDargh then introduced Michael Widmer, BC ’97, who spoke on his experience as a gay student at BC. Widmer was a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Community of BC (LGBC). He said that they attempted to get official recognition, but the University would not support their organization. Widmer then congratulated the GLC on their work and said, “We’d never have a party as big as this.” This remark was met with a good deal of applause from the audience. He then shared the story of an anonymous hate e-mail that was sent to black, latino, and gay students when he was a student and the overwhelming show of solidarity that the campus made when the e-mail came to light. Although the campus has come a long way toward acceptance since Widmer’s graduation, he acknowledged that “the quest for social justice is not over.”

At the conclusion of Widmer’s speech, McCrosson and Joshua Tingley, GLC vice president and A&S ’13, debuted BC’s take on the “It Gets Better” series of videos that have been produced by various celebrities and organizations to give hope to LGBT youth who may be struggling with bullying or not being accepted by friends and family.

One student in the video recounted the difficulty she had in speaking with people before she came out as a lesbian. “When you can’t be fully authentic in your relationships you find yourself censoring yourself all the time,” she said.

Those in the video encouraged students to be themselves and to come out when the time is right. Many said that BC is supportive and that coming out will not only improve an individual’s life but the lives of all members of the GLBTQ community. One student said that a student being open about his or her identity should not make a difference to those who are closest to that student. “For your truest friends,” he said, “coming out will never change anything for them.”

When the video concluded, the DJs began playing music and students danced the rest of the night away. Many students in attendance that evening were there to support their friends and said they had a great time.

Meaghann Taylor, LSOE ’12, attended because she enjoys the event and wanted to support her friends who are members of the GLBTQ community. “I have a lot of people I care about here,” Taylor said.

William Sutton, CSON ’12, attended the event to show his support for love and to create a change at BC. “Part of this is trying to change the opinion of those who might be higher up,” he said. “We follow all protocol. This event is really about love.”

Mark Miceli, associate director of the Student Programs Office, was also in attendance. He believed that the event fit well with the mission of SPO. “The gala is a community building event and GLBTQ students are members of our community,” Miceli said.

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