On the need for queer-only spaces

In the News’ recent column (“Such inclusivity, much wow,” Feb. 10), the author critiqued a poster created by the LGBTQ Peer Liaisons, claiming its message was exclusionary toward heterosexuals.

Our society is flooded with straight voices offering their thoughts on queer relationships like mine. Many of them mean well, but none of them have the visceral, internal experience of living as anything other than a cisgender heterosexual. As a result, they often get things wrong.

There is a time for explaining — often repeatedly — why they are mistaken and how they fail to understand what it feels like to live as, say, a trans bisexual in contemporary American society. But these conversations are exhausting and usually become irritating very quickly.

This is why we need spaces that are queer-only. We need spaces in which we can be ourselves and talk about the issues that intimately affect our lives with people who share similar lived experiences. Such spaces offer critically important respites from a society that still tries to invalidate our existence at almost every turn.

That’s why I get so angry when these spaces are criticized for excluding heterosexual individuals. We already live in a society dominated by straight voices; is it so much to ask for one hour in which we can turn to each other and tell our own stories in our own words?

Nick Baskin

Feb. 10

The author is a senior in Ezra Stiles College.


On the Yale International Relations Association

I would like to respond to issues raised in a recent article in the News (“YIRA email sparks controversy,” Feb. 12) regarding the Yale International Relations Association (YIRA), an organization I have been involved with as an adviser for 18 years while I have been teaching at Yale, due to our mutual interest in the United Nations and support for Model UN. YIRA has been an outstanding organization at Yale for decades, organizing two Model UN conferences every year, and hosting many events on important issues in international relations. I want to emphasize YIRA’s outstanding contributions over the years and the hard work undertaken by its members, which has continued to educate young people on the work of the United Nations and the complex world we live in. In reflecting on recent news about the organization, the important thing is to maintain the bigger picture with respect for YIRA’s members and all they have dedicated to their work.

I also run a non-profit organization that I started when I was the Executive Director of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) when it was headquartered at Yale, called the Friends of ACUNS. As its treasurer, I must make annual reports to the Internal Revenue Service according to its 501(c)3 status. Therefore, I also understand that YIRA must keep its non-profit records in good order and protect the appropriate use of its status. I encourage everyone to find a mutually respectful solution to the issue, and retain an understanding of the good work and good reputation of YIRA and its members.

Jean Krasno

Feb. 10

The author is a lecturer and associate research scientist at Yale.