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The awning of the annual appearance a black-and-white photograph of a bare-ed adult amount lying on a bed, the covers pulled up to aloof beneath the pecs. The face is cut off by the frame. The adapted arm splays beyond the striped duvet; the larboard alcove suggestively beneath the covers appear the groin.

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The words “Lavender Portfolio” are printed — in lavender — forth the bound of the page.

Created beneath the advocacy of the Harvard-Radcliffe Gay Acceptance Association (GSA for short), the Lavender Portfolio meanders through apprentice balladry (“Death Affected in Lavender,” “Texas”), sketches (a anatomy male, pictured from behind, is clad alone in bound shorts), and photography (“Butch Posturing #2” juxtaposes a shirtless macho apprentice with photos of muscle-bound men in all their anatomy glory).

How Lavender Portfolio came to be — whose abstraction it was, how it was published, how it was broadcast — is mostly a mystery. Sandy F. Smith, Jr. ’82 and Jonathan L. Handel ’82, two associates of the magazine’s six-person beat staff, can anamnesis alone snatches of the beginning.

“I don’t bethink now how we got about to discussing that we should put out a magazine,” Smith says. “But I apperceive I bidding absorption in that the moment the accountable was broached.” Handel adds that he’s “pretty sure” annual agents did not bead copies of the affair alfresco every undergraduate’s dorm-room door. “I anticipate we larboard them on tables in the dining halls,” he says.

What is assertive is that Lavender Portfolio was a one-off.

“It’s a abashment that we never put out a additional issue,” Smith says. “I anticipate there were added belief we could accept told.”

The Portfolio’s abandoned affair was about absolutely abominable to the boilerplate apprentice enrolled at Harvard in 1982. It would apparently be annoying alike by today’s standards. But for anomalous acceptance accessory Harvard in the aboriginal 1980s through the backward 1990s, annual advertisement offered a way to own their female — a agency to carve out amplitude for their own narratives. There were a scattering of civic gay-interest publications — best conspicuously “The Advocate” and afterwards “Out” — but gay issues and anomalous ability were mostly absent from boilerplate media.

“I actually kept a abridgement book of every gay-related adventure in the New York Times and the Boston Globe,” Handel says. “And it was accessible to do, because there would be one such adventure every few months in either paper. There was no coverage.”



Someone has accounting this in aphotic atramentous block belletrist on one of the aboriginal pages of Harvard’s archived accumulating of “Peninsula,” a bourgeois advertisement launched by Harvard acceptance in 1990. A abate duke has penciled in the name of one of these “gaps”— missing issues — below: vol. 3, no. 2 “Exploring the Truth” Re: Homouality

Visitors can folio through an anti-abortion affair of Peninsula (Nov. 1992, title-less and announcement on its awning a animation fetus with the angle of a wire hanger captivated about its head). Passersby can additionally aces up an archetype adherent to the ambiance (May 1993, “Saving the Earth from the Environmentalists”). But “Exploring the Truth Re: Homouality”?

Nowhere to be found.

I didn’t listen. I pursued the gap, and it brought me to the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana — area Rev. Roger J. Landry ’92, one of the founders of Peninsula, had beatific it in March 1992, and area agents librarians were affectionate abundant to accelerate me scanned copies of the magazine.

In an amid letter, Landry writes to a Mr. James Lanning: “I apologize that it has taken so continued for me to accelerate you the issue. We accept been so ashore with requests for this affair that we ran out of issues in the average of February. Over the accomplished month, I aboriginal had to acquisition money to album the issue, and afresh had to re-edit it and get it to the printers. I’m appreciative to say that the affair I’ve beatific you is the new-and-improved edition.”

The fruits of Landry’s labors are now captured in a adequate PDF and pulled up on the awning of my laptop.

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On the cover, a blush triangle explodes into shards — it looks as admitting a ammo has absolute through, sending rose-colored bits aerial appear the reader. At the basal is printed — as is printed on anniversary and every archetype of Peninsula — “All that is all-important for the celebration of angry is for adequate men to do nothing.”

As if any description were necessary, the magazine’s self-styled “Preamble” renders the ambition of its Oct./Nov. 1991 affair abundantly clear: “Why we anticipate uality is bad, and what we would do about it, is what this affair is all about.”

For Landry, that archetype of Peninsula concretized a appearance that was “not actuality considered” aural the undergraduate association at Harvard. He calls this angle “street-corner conservatism” — which he defines as “the blazon of abnegation you’d apprehend at a barbershop.”

Sean P. McLaughlin ’91, who founded Peninsula alongside Landry, initially wrote for a bourgeois advertisement alleged “The Harvard Salient” and accustomed in 1981. McLaughlin says not all perspectives were adequate in that community: “A kid came in and approved to abide an commodity about a moral bourgeois issue, as against to an bread-and-er issue, and it was rejected. And at that point this had happened a brace of times.” These “moral bourgeois issues” included abortion, the admission to address ascendancy — and uality. José M. Padilla ’97 saw Peninsula’s alertness to accept arguable stances as a way to let clinker apparent on campus. “The point of it was: let’s say commodity that’s absolutely abandoned in adjustment to actualize space.”

Landry, now a priest of the Diocese of Abatement River, Mass., said the “Homouality” affair was aggressive by the activities of anomalous acceptance on campus.

“That was an affair that basically was built-in from my adventures as a apprentice at the Apprentice Outdoor Program trip. I met a scattering of classmates and, you know, nice guys, they were all Americans — and afresh bristles or six months later, they had articular as gay.”

Landry’s description of the catalyst abaft the affair is one of aggregate interest. These classmates, he says, were “getting added and added circuitous in a affairs that we didn’t anticipate was absolutely for their happiness.”


Peninsula door-dropped its “Homouality” affair to every undergraduate on campus.

Rachel E. Cohen ’94 vividly remembers the day the annual came out in print. “I bethink alive up one morning as a green in Lowell Abode and award that there was a archetype of Peninsula on our doormat, and an exploding blush triangle on the awning of it,” she says.

“We were outraged, we were appalled, we were shocked,” Joel L. Derfner ’95 says. “Well, we weren’t shocked. Because there were bodies like that all about aback then.”

Though Rachel B. Tiven ’96 was not on campus during the absolution of the “Homouality” affair — she enrolled as a first-year the afterward abatement — she was able-bodied acquainted of the publication. She says Harvard beatific it to her as a allotment of her admissions abstracts as an admission associate of the chic of 1996.

“It was mailed to us in a packet of examples of apprentice publications,” Tiven says with a laugh. It’s a brilliant backward afternoon, and we’re sitting on the accomplish of Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. “I don’t bethink actuality agitated exactly. I bethink actuality like, what the fuck is this?”

Marlyn E. McGrath ’70-’73, who has formed as administrator of admissions aback the 1980s, wrote in an email that Harvard generally beatific a sampling of publications and printed abstracts to accepted acceptance about that time.

“It was a appealing accidental alternative as I anamnesis — we capital to acquaint -to-be acceptance to the admirable arrangement of publications at Harvard, and we capital them to get a adroitness of the assortment of activities and opinions. I don’t anamnesis accurately what we beatific — it assorted from year to year and there may alike accept been some aberration aural a accustomed mailing, depending on how abounding copies of anniversary we could get,” McGrath wrote. “I don’t bethink annihilation about Peninsula specifically.”

But Theodore A. Gideonse ’96 does. He says the annual with the blush triangle on its awning angry up in his mail, too. “As accession who knew they were activity to appear out the minute they got to school, seeing that was appealing unnerving,” he says.

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The agents of Peninsula spent 19 months researching the issue, Landry says. The aboriginal allotment is blue-blooded “Exposing the Myths”; the second, “Exploring the Truth”; and the third, “Evaluating Solutions.” The archetype includes a breeze blueprint Landry aggregate blue-blooded “Possible Pathways to a Homoual Orientation.” In accession to biology, he lists “difficulty accepting role models,” “experimentation and enjoyment,” “trauma,” and “desperate election.”

One of the aftermost accessories in the affair — “The Adventuresomeness to Change: A Survey of Advice Groups for Homouals” — provides acquaintance advice for six such groups. A agenda beneath this arrangement of foundations and rectories reads: “Unfortunately, however, Harvard University has no campus organizations or casework committed to allowance uals who ambition to change their lifestyle. In fact, neither University Health Casework nor any of Harvard’s half-dozen or so pro-uality organizations alike activity advice about the alternatives accessible to ual students. Perhaps it’s time that the university did.”

For anomalous acceptance and allies on campus, the “Homouality” affair served as a ambulatory cry.

“When I say it was galvanizing, I beggarly that the lesbigay community” — a appellation Derfner says some in Harvard’s anomalous association adopted at the time — “had been actual close, and we afraid out, because we were the alone bodies like us we knew.”

“And now we had an enemy.”


Two canicule afterwards the “Homouality” affair dropped, the BGLSA (the ‘B’ was added in the backward 80’s) organized an emergency night-time meeting. About 100 acceptance abounding the gathering, at which they planned two dining anteroom sit-ins. They additionally organized and captivated a assemblage at apex the aing day, Sheila A. Avelin ’93 remembers.

But that wasn’t about enough.

“Any undergraduate who had any affiliation to any closeted assistant was deputized to ability out to that professor,” Avelin says. A inferior at the time, Avelin had served as co-president of the BGLSA the year before.

“People were in bottle closets. The bulletin of that to undergraduates was, ‘This is how you get along.’ You can accede it a to your friends, but it’s not commodity you can allege to in your able world.”

Avelin accomplished out to Barbara E. Johnson, a assistant of law and psychiatry in society. “I looked her up in the white pages, and so I alleged her at home and asked her if she would allege at this rally. And she agreed to.”

With Johnson in their camp, the assemblage organizers were able to argue addition adroitness associate to appear out that day: Abbey Peter J. Gomes, the Plummer Assistant of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University.

“It was afterwards Barbara had said that she would that we got Peter Gomes to speak,” Avelin says. Johnson concluded up speaking afterwards Gomes, “but Barbara additionally came out that day and opened up amplitude for us to acquaint Peter that he would not be the alone adroitness associate advancing out.”

The assemblage began at noon. Energy was high. Aback the time came for Gomes to speak, the abbey — whom Derfner remembers as the affectionate of accessible apostle who could “work a army like nobody’s business” — absurd antic afterwards joke.

“And afresh he came out,” Derfner says.

Gomes’s acknowledgment was simple: “I am a Christian who happens to be gay.”

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The army of about 250 went wild. In its aing issue, Peninsula appear a complete archetype of Gomes’ speech. Aloof afterwards anxiously adept bottomward Gomes’s nine-word revelation, the agent wrote into the text: “[Wild acclaim and auspicious for 27 seconds]”.

The minister’s accessible — and abrupt — acceptance of his female apparent a anniversary for abounding of the College’s anomalous students.

“The actuality who was the aing to God on campus had staked this moral affirmation that outness was the about actual stance, and it angry things axial out,” Avelin says.

Still, Gomes’s “moral claim” did not go undisputed. Two campus groups — Concerned Christians at Harvard and Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) — actively campaigned for his abandonment in the deathwatch of the rally.

Less than a decade afterwards Lavender Portfolio, anomalous acceptance at Harvard already afresh began gluttonous a abode in book area their choir could be heard.


We address this aboriginal affair of HQ to the Abbey Peter J. Gomes, for his courage.

These words adroitness the close advanced awning of “HQ,” a advertisement amorphous in 1992 as a acknowledgment to the “Homouality” affair and the contest that followed. The awning itself is atramentous and white, address a ambition with a sinuous, adventurous atramentous band that alcove out from the axial rings. A row of block-shaped belly band the top, anniversary captivation what looks like a fragment of sculpture. Nose and aperture are arresting in one; an ear in another. The alone affair apparent in this close and ambiguous arrangement of symogy is the “H” cacographic in atramentous in the top larboard corner.

William T. “Tate” Dougherty ’94, who helped architecture the cover, says he drew on the assignment of 20th-century gay artisan Jasper Johns. The angel of the ambition represented “how all of us felt,” he says.

Dougherty and Cohen and a third founder, Timothy M. “Cage” Anteroom ’94, capital HQ’s name to reflect its across-the-board angled — and to differentiate it from the arbitrary moral bifold preached by Peninsula. “We all admired HQ. It seemed to advance Harvard Queer, but not appeal it,” Cohen says.

Much like Lavender Portfolio, HQ featured poetry, art, and essays; it was actual abundant a arcane magazine. It did not attack with absolutely political discourse.

It was important to Cohen that every affair be door-dropped. “I capital it on every doorstep in the aforementioned way Peninsula had been on every doorstep,” she says. She organized and beatific battalions of volunteers to bear cases of anniversary affair to every House. She aing in the action, too, active up and bottomward array of sets of stairs.

Cohen, Dougherty, and Anteroom afterwards recruited Tiven and Gideonse to advice aftermath the publication.

“I can’t bethink how I concluded up activity to a affair of HQ, area I met Cage and Tate and Rachel,” Gideonse says. He does, however, bethink aback he saw HQ for the aboriginal time.

He spotted the additional issue, whose awning featured an angel of Bill Clinton and Al Gore photoshopped to resemble bodybuilders beeline out of a gay fantasia. “I bethink that assuming up in the bassinet in advanced of my aperture in Hurlbut and actuality like, ‘Oh my God, this is the best amazing affair in the world.’”

The accumulation administration of HQ — and of Peninsula — was accessible because of what Anteroom calls “the home accretion and home publishing revolution.” It was accessible to access and use software like Pagemaker to run off a brace hundred issues at a amount of alone a few hundred dollars. This led to a admeasurement of undergraduate publications at Harvard. In 1982, at the time Lavender Portfolio was published, there were 15 apprentice organizations listed in the Unofficial Guide to Activity at Harvard beneath “Communications.” By 1993, that cardinal had developed to 39.

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In all, there were bristles issues of HQ. The final issue, which explored the circle of chase and uality, was appear in April 1994. The annual died anon after, defective “a aggregate of absorption and money,” Gideonse says. Cohen, Dougherty, and Anteroom accelerating that year, and Gideonse and Tiven got angry up in added campus responsibilities — he became an editor of Fifteen Minutes, and she upped her akin of captivation at Hillel, area she founded the anomalous affection accumulation BAGELS.

After two years, HQ ancient Harvard’s dining halls and — like Lavender Portfolio afore it — began a half-life of actuality in the University’s archives.


As publications fabricated by anomalous acceptance and advised for a ample audience, Lavender Portfolio and HQ were several years advanced of their time. By the end of the 1990s, though, anomalous choir had entered the mainstream. Television shows like Will & Adroitness paved the way for positive, affectionate representation of gay characters in accepted culture.

In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres abundantly came out on the awning of Time Magazine. Less than a year later, Andrew P. Tobias ’68 came out on the awning of Harvard Magazine.

In 1973, Tobias — beneath the pseudonym John Reid — had accounting a book blue-blooded “The Best Little Boy in the World.” Billed on Amazon as “the archetypal annual of growing up gay in America,” the book capacity the pressures gay men face in the mid-20th aeon closet as filtered through Tobias’ own experiences. Over two decades years afterwards in 1998, Tobias republished “The Best Little Boy in the World” beneath his absolute name. He additionally appear its sequel, “The Best Little Boy in the Apple Grows Up.” And in 1998, he chose to appear out to the absolute Harvard community.

Craig Lambert, who was Associate Editor of Harvard Annual at the time, recalls aing Tobias to accost the piece. According to Lambert, there was no authentic “trigger moment.”

“It was aloof an important affair and had a affiliation to Harvard,” Lambert says. “It was commodity that was in the air, had been in the air for years, and I thought, ‘We oughta amusement it.’”

Lambert and the beat agents knew there was abeyant for controversy. The magazine, declared online as a “separately congenital nonprofit associate of Harvard University,” goes out — for chargeless — to all staff, faculty, and alumni of the University. Harvard affiliates accept to actively opt out to stop accepting the magazine.

The admeasurement of the affirmed thousands-strong admirers didn’t avert Lambert. “We knew this was an adapted story, a adequate story, a adventure that bare to be told.”

To Tobias, the editors at Harvard Annual were the “brave ones.”

“I was already out. It was accessible and fun for me to do, but I couldn’t lose my job over it or lose a lot of subscriptions,” Tobias says. The article, blue-blooded “Gay Like Me,” is a brainwork on what it took to attack with uaity in the 1960s at Harvard. Tobias tells his own story, as able-bodied as those of a cardinal of gay classmates, who navigated a Harvard area some acceptance pursued electric shock analysis out of the mistaken angle it ability cure their uality.

In the piece, Tobias didn’t authority back. “Some of us annihilate ourselves, but others (really most, I think) accomplish it through aloof fine,” he wrote.

The pushback was significant, and alumni put pen to cardboard to articulation a advanced ambit of responses. “It is, I think, the greatest and better cardinal of, I think, at atomic appear belletrist that we anytime had into any adventure in the magazine’s history, that I apperceive of,” Lambert says.

In its aing issue, the beat agents of Harvard Annual printed 21 of the belletrist received. “To put it mildly, I am appalled, shocked, disgusted, and afflicted that your annual would attack to characterize uality as a accustomed and adequate lifestyle… Don’t you accept any application for Harvard’s celebrated reputation? I appetite you to stop press such trash,” reads one letter, beatific in by a Samuel T. Rhodes.

Lambert says the aboriginal beachcomber of belletrist were mostly hostile. But afterwards readers apprehend those letters, the annual drew addition beachcomber of missives — these “overwhelmingly” positive. Harvard Annual printed 20 belletrist in its aing issue, and bristles added in the affair afterwards that.

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“I’m still seeing red,” Ellen F. Zaslaw ’63 wrote in the May-June issue. “Tobias’s commodity didn’t shock me. What abashed me — and afflicted in me animosity of canard that this could be accident in a Harvard ambiance — was the adverse mail that accustomed in response.” The letter concluded: “These are bodies whose Harvard apprenticeship has bootless them.”

Tobias articular a generational gap. The added accusatory alumni tended to skew older, Tobias says. And “basically anybody beneath 40 was adage ‘hurray, adequate for Harvard Annual for accomplishing this, and hats off to you,’ and all that.”


From civic publications like The Advocate and Out all the way to Harvard Magazine, the printed chat holds an affecting amplitude in the history of anomalous agitation in the eighties and nineties.

There’s aloof commodity about autograph it down.

Michael Amico is an alum of Dartmouth College and served as editor-in-chief of an intercollegiate anomalous apprentice publication, alleged “queer.”, that began at Harvard in the aboriginal 2000s.

“Most of my life, I guess, has been aggravating to acquisition a accent to allocution about animal admiration in a added complex, nuanced, authentic way, not aloof with my adolescent acceptance — with everyone, my family, with bodies I accommodated on the street, with bodies I angle up with,” Amico says. “With everyone.”

A historian currently at assignment on a book about gay adulation belief in the American Civil War, Amico thinks a lot about the announcement of admiration via the accounting word. “Sexual admiration is premised on not adage and not telling, not because it’s absorbing or not because we’re repressed, but because the accomplished point of female is that the centermost of it is unknown.”

“But nonetheless, that aloof agency there can be added adept means to allocution about .”

Lavender Portfolio and HQ anatomy some of these “artful ways”: concrete manifestations of what are, to many, arresting intangibilities.

When Ted Gideonse and Rachel Tiven accustomed at Harvard in the abatement of 1992, no one in their chic had appear out. Both Gideonse and Tiven bankrupt arena by advancing out that fall. “By the end of apprentice year, besides us, we alone knew of nine or ten out acceptance who were freshmen. That is absolutely isolating,” Gideonse says, his articulation quiet.

Today’s Harvard is a actual altered place. In my upperclassmen house, there’s a bubble banderole blind in the dining hall; signs cogent adherence — including one account “Pfoho Tutors Support Our LGBTQ Students” — adhere affianced to the doors of Abode staff.

Asked about the access of HQ on Harvard’s campus, Dougherty chuckles. “It’s added like academic influence.”

“None of us will anytime say it afflicted the world, but all of us would say that we apperceive it was important, alike if we still couldn’t quantify it.”

Correction: Oct. 11, 2018

A antecedent adaptation of this commodity afield attributed a quote. It has been updated.

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—Magazine biographer Aboveboard M. Cahill can be accomplished at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @frankmcahill.

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