CLAGS is booming. Our mailing list is approaching 4,000; our annual budget has doubled; our public events, like the recent conference, “Hollywood and Homosexuality,” have presented cutting-edge ideas to standing-room -only crowds; the number of openly gay and lesbian graduate students arriving to study at CUNY has shot up; and our ability to provide research money for gay/lesbian scholars has, with the receipt of the Rockefeller Foundation grant, received a huge boost.
All this has been accomplished by volunteers and without a paid staff, except for a one-day-a-week development consultant. That means a lot of hard work by a very few people. The CLAGS Board of Directors deserves special credit in this regard. As of this new academic year, CLAGS will for the first time have a paid administrative assistant for 20 hours a week and two work-study CUNY graduate students for 10 hours a week combined to take some of the bureaucratic burden off the shoulders of the Board and the Director.
This help comes in the nick of time, since our Fall agenda is ambitiously full (see the CALENDAR in this newsletter). Along with our first public event of the season — a day-long conference on the relationship between feminism and lesbianism — will be our third annual fundraising benefit, a cosponsored three-day writers’ conference, and the inauguration of the first annual Kessler Lecture. All this — plus ongoing monthly colloquia and continuing production of a national Scholarly Directory — within a mere three-month period.
Periodic exhaustion aside, it has been hugely gratifying for all of us connected with CLAGS to see its quick growth and its proliferating programs. None of this, of course, could have happened had not the need for such an organization been great and had not you, CLAGS’s supporters, responded with so much enthusiasm. Please stay with us for the long haul. We will make mistakes, and we hope you’ll let us hear about them. But we hope, too, that you’ll allow us some margin of error — an allowance, sadly, all too rare in the history of gay/lesbian organizations. Stick with us in celebration and struggle!