An Important Message from the Director

I have important news to share with you: CLAGS is about to become a membership organization. Let me explain why. Up to now, ClAGS has offered all of its services free of charge – including conferences, colloquia, and newsletters. This was a reflection not of our abundant resources- hardly! – but of our feeling that it was important to be as inclusive as possible in building the field of lesbian and gay studies and in disseminating to as wide an audience as possible the vital information emerging from this new scholarship. We still believe that, and wish we had the needed income to continue offering entirely free access to our work. But our very success is working against that possibility. We have grown explosively over the past three years. The CLAGS mailing list now exceeds 7,500 and sending the newsletter free to that list has by itself been costing us about $12,000 a year! Given our (very) limited financial resources, we simply can’t afford to do this any longer. The same is true of our public events. We are proud to have been able to hold our 1-3 day conferences entirely free of charge, and have been gratified at the standing-room-only crowds that have attended. But as these conferences have become ever more elaborate- as we print and distribute increasing numbers of announcements, require more and more administrative support, fly in scholars from long distances, feed and house them – we need to raise additional funds to meet these mounting expenses. Thus far we have been able to maintain a high level of activity because of the generosity of a few foundations, a much larger number of individual donors- and a lot of very hard work from a devoted volunteer Board (and other volunteers), and a woefully underpaid and overworked administrative assistant, Matt Rottnek. But the time has come when devotion and hard work are no longer enough. We need to generate additional revenue if we are to continue our current level of activity- and, hopefully, expand it still further in the future. We have thus reached the reluctant conclusion that it is time for ClAGS to convert to a membership organization. We are setting the basic membership fee at a low $25 a year, with a $10 rate for students and people of limited income. The fee is tax-deductible. As of January 1995, only those who have signed up for membership will receive our newsletter, though everyone on the current mailing list will continue to receive program announcements. The month ly colloqu ium (at which new scholarly findings are presented) will remain free and open to anyone who wishes to attend. But admission to our 1-3 day conferences will henceforth be through a low-priced donation: those holding membership cards will be admitted free. I hope you have valued the work ClAGS has done in the past and will invest this small sum in our future. Please take the time today to complete and mail the enclosed envelope and become a charter member of ClAGS. Our future work depends on your support.