Many of the stories in Out & About Campus
are as upsetting or enraging as one would imagine, given the scenario of a queer or questioning youth thrust into a historically straight institution and surrounded by other equally insecure young people. Tales of intolerant classmates and obstructive professors abound, with the usual threats of violence, gay bashings, and episodes of self-loathing. But the gradual movement toward acceptance of "diversity" on college campuses since the mid-1980s has clearly altered the social landscape. In "Sisterhood," for instance, Stephanie J. Stillman recounts her gradual coming-out to her sorority sisters, most of whom had figured it out for themselves and none of whom condemned her as she had expected. In "Competitive College," Ruth Wielgosz explains the informal designation of "Big Dyke on Campus" at Bryn Mawr and describes the requirements for the position (as listed in the college newspaper), which begin with "(1) Has lots of attitude, very self-confident," then move on to "(5) Unattainable, or nearly so, (6) Many people have crushes on her, and many more feel too unworthy, and (7) Visually impressive, especially with regard to hair." Several contributors describe their political activism on campus and their service work for other gay students. Overall, these stories provide an encouraging look at an unprecedented cultural expansion. --Regina Marler
From Library Journal
Howard and Stevens, a masters of education candidate and the director of residential life, respectively, at the University of Vermont, have collected 28 first-person accounts from lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students from colleges and universities across the country. A good mix of ethnicity and college settings marks these essays, which are all tied together by the theme of coming out to oneself and to the community. Some essays are heartbreaking and others triumphant; all are engagingly written. There are stories of supportive friends and family but also of ostracism and gay bashing. Several students struggle with religion, another successfully comes out in a sorority, and another describes the challenges of being a transsexual in transition. Though their struggles vary, all of the students seem to have gained self-confidence during their college years. Recommended for all public and academic libraries but especially for colleges and universities where students facing similar challenges might find some comfort and inspiration.-Debra Moore, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
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