Red Letter Day

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Eh, there's no gay Jews anyway

The University of Kansas gay student group, Queers and Allies does some wonderful work in Lawrence and on the KU campus. Much of their programming is directed, obviously, at the student population they serve, but every spring traditionally they hold their annual Pride Week, which usually involves community-wide events such as nationally-known speakers and lectures, entertainment, and a parade. This year's schedule looks superb, highlighted by a visit from well-known sex/political writer Dan Savage.

As great is all these events sound, Pride Week will likely be as friendly to Jews as a Hezbollah homecoming parade given Queers and Allies' inexplicable decision to schedule Pride Week in conflict with the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover (especially the first two nights) is basically the Jewish cultural equivalent of Thanksgiving -- celebrated by even very secular Jews with a special festive meal with family and friends. The holiday is listed on pretty much every cleandar ever printed, including the KU academic and event calendars.

Given that Pride Week is scheduled many, many months in advance, it is inexcusable that a student organization dedicated to fighting against the marginalization of one minority would schedule its keynote event of the year in such a way that they in turn marginalize a different minority. The further irony, of course, is that Passover is the original celebration of freedom over oppression...perhaps this is the reason that Passover resonates heavily with many gay and lesbian Jews; there are numerous gay and lesbian Seders (festive Passover meals) and inclusive Haggadot (Passover liturgies).

I have no ill-will towards KU's queer student group, and I wish them a successful week. I just wish they would have avoided marginalizing Jews -- both gays Jews and straight Jews who support the struggle for equal rights. It would be nice to see Queers and Allies apologize and promise that in the future they will consult a calendar before scheduling Pride Week. I would hope that organization's student leaders and faculty advisors take this to heart. At the end of every Passover meal, it is traditional to say "next year in Jerusalem" as a sign of hope for a better future, so in that vein, may I say regarding Pride Week, "next year in Lawrence!" for all Jews, non-Jews, gay folks, and straight folks alike.

April 2 followup: Apparently many other people complained as well. Queers and Allies (the KU student group) has posted an apology and promised to consult a calendar in the future. This has hopefully been a good learning experience for them.

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  • Have you sent a copy of your blog to the group on campus? I think that they should know what they did and how insensitive their scheduling has been.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:07 PM  

  • I would never support a group that invites a pathetic person such as Dan Savage to speak:


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:47 AM  

  • Our group purposefully scheduled Awareness week for the week after most of Passover. We are pleased to co-sponsor this year!!!

    Check it out at

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 7:45 PM  

  • Actually, you're the only one that brought it to their attention. They felt like that was reason enough to issue a statement. Give them some credit. Like you've never made a mistake...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:39 PM  

  • I know of at least two other people who had complained, so it wasn't just me. Either way, they've realized their mistake, apologized, learned something, and moved on. Here's to a good Pride Week!

    By Blogger Mike, At 8:59 AM  


    In an interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, Savage stated that then-Green Party Senate candidate, "Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there's nothing left but the rope." In the same interview, he stated, "Mr. Romanelli should go fuck himself."[15]

    By Anonymous TomC, At 9:19 AM  

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