Tuck Pride hosts gay rights leaders as court mulls same-sex marriage.
With the U.S. Supreme Court considering a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage, students at the Tuck School of Business recently hosted two national leaders of the gay rights movement to discuss the push for federal recognition. On May 1, Dan Solomon, national campaign director of the Freedom to Marry coalition, and Lt. Dan Choi, an infantry officer in Iraq who was dishonorably discharged by the military after coming out, spoke about changing public perceptions of gays and lesbians. The Dan Solomon event was organized by Jonathan Gantt T’13, a member of Tuck Pride, who offered some background on Tuck Pride.
What is the history of Tuck Pride?
Tuck Pride is a student-run organization with two objectives. First, Tuck Pride focuses on fostering a community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students where they can share personal stories, build stronger networks, and socialize. Second, Tuck Pride does outreach to the broader community with the goal of engaging it through educational, social, and networking events. Tuck Pride’s membership includes out LGBT students and allies, totaling approximately 100 active members.
What are Tuck Pride’s main initiatives?
Tuck Pride hosts a variety of events. For members, it hosts an “Allypalooza” retreat in which the active LGBT and ally members go to a Dartmouth cabin for an evening to discuss the importance of ally advocacy in ending LGBT discrimination. Additionally, LGBT members go on a retreat in Boston or Montreal once a year in order to build stronger ties with each other. In order to engage with the broader community, Tuck Pride sponsors an annual Diva Party, which is a “party for a purpose.” All proceeds from the party benefit a non-profit that works to prevent suicide among LGBT youth called the Trevor Project. Tuck Pride also hosts educational events like the Marriage Equality News Hour in order to get the broader community involved in the LGBT movement. Finally, Tuck Pride “lights up” Tuck Hall in the rainbow colors of equality and love on National Coming Out Day in October. In conjunction with this special lighting, a large group of students gather to hear the personal coming out stories of their colleagues.
In order to engage with the broader community, Tuck Pride sponsors an annual Diva Party, which is a “party for a purpose.” All proceeds from the party benefit a non-profit that works to prevent suicide among LGBT youth called the Trevor Project. Tuck Pride also hosts educational events like the Marriage Equality News Hour in order to get the broader community involved in the LGBT movement. Finally, Tuck Pride “lights up” Tuck Hall in the rainbow colors of equality and love on National Coming Out Day in October. In conjunction with this special lighting, a large group of students gather to hear the personal coming out stories of their colleagues.
What challenges do LGBT MBAs and business executives face?
LGBT MBAs and business executives face significant challenges not only on their professional careers but also on their personal lives. A married LGBT MBA who is recruiting faces a very different landscape than his or her married heterosexual colleagues. While a Tuck LGBT graduate may be legally married in New Hampshire or Vermont, not only is the marriage not recognized by the federal government, but the graduate may find employment in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. As such, the LGBT graduate literally has to choose between his or her career and maintaining equal protection under the law for his or her relationship.
Additionally, in many states, the LGBT community is not a protected class and therefore LGBT individuals can be fired without cause simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, from the locker rooms of professional sports to the offices of financial institutions, LGBT individuals are subject to discrimination and hostile work environments in the workplace. On a more positive note, many companies in states where same-sex couples are not afforded the same rights and protections under the law have begun to offer personal tax offsets to compensate their LGBT employees the differences in the legal benefits benefitted by the government. While these decisions are a step in the right direction, until LGBT individuals and their relationships are treated equally under the law, LGBT MBAs and business leaders will continue to face significant challenges as compared to their heterosexual peers.
What was the significance of Marc Solomon and Dan Choi’s speeches on campus?
Marc Solomon and Dan Choi’s visits to Tuck are especially timely given the need for continued support to end the institutionalized discrimination against LGBT individuals both in the United States and globally. As the National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry, Marc leads the effort to increase public support in the United States for the freedom to marry. After visiting Tuck, Marc travelled to Rhode Island to be with Gov. Lincoln Chafee as he signed a law making Rhode Island the last state to legalize same-sex marriage in New England. Dan Choi has been an outspoken advocate for ending discrimination against the LGBT community and was a leader in the effort to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military.