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Lesbians, like gay men, have always existed.
If there is a singular lesson to be learned this LGBT History Month, it is that lesbians didn’t just appear suddenly in the 20th century, anomalous figures with no antecedents throughout history. Lesbians have lived and loved and had bodice-ripping passionate sex for millennia.
In a brutal irony, the erasing of lesbian sexuality has been done most effectively by female academics who hesitate to define same-sex relationships between women as sexual for reasons that are wholly rooted in male contrivance of female sexuality and the male gaze on it. The theory that women never performed sexual acts together before the 20th century is appallingly smug and not a little homophobic.
Every woman regardless of her orientation knows from a young age that lesbians are a trigger for men. The most common retort when a woman rejects a man’s advances or catcalls is to call her a "dyke" or "lesbo." It happens every day, everywhere. The terms are meant to be both vulgar and dismissive, like "lezzie," a diminution and infantilizing of a very real female sexual orientation.
This lesbophobic, misogynist and blatantly ahistorical erasure of lesbian sexuality is similar to the erasure of all autonomous female sexuality: women’s sexual desire has always been viewed, discussed and portrayed within the construct and purview of the male gaze, and as such has never seemed complete without the intrusion of a male into that space of wholly female desire. The trope of a male entering onto the scene of a lesbian sexual coupling just in time to "complete" the sex has been recorded in erotica and pornography since at least the 17th century in the West and far earlier in Asian erotic art.
One of the most notorious depictions of lesbian sexuality occurs in John Cleland’s infamous erotic novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, more commonly known by its smutty name, Fanny Hill, published in 1748. (In British slang "Fanny" means vulva, hence Fanny Hill was a cheeky play on mons veneris.)
In Cleland’s novel, Fanny engages in lesbian sex with Phoebe, a bisexual prostitute. Fanny also witnesses – and describes vividly – other lesbian sex scenes. The novel was first banned in the U.S. in 1821 in Boston, and may have been a progenitor for the term "banned in Boston."
Initially the American colonies had sought to imprison lesbians. The criminalization of same-sex female relationships followed that of English Common Law. How often it was actually enforced is unclear. But in the U.S. alone there were laws against lesbianism as early as the 17th century. If there hadn’t been examples of lesbians and lesbian sex, why the laws prohibiting it?
In 1636, John Cotton of the Massachusetts Bay Colony proposed a law prohibiting sex between two women, punishable by death. The law read, "Unnatural filthiness, to be punished with death, whether sodomy, which is carnal fellowship of man with man, or woman with woman, or buggery, which is carnal fellowship of man or woman with beasts or fowls." There is no record of this law being enacted.
In 1649 in Plymouth Colony, Sarah White Norman and Mary Vincent Hammon were prosecuted for "lewd behavior with each other upon a bed." The trial documents are the only known record of sex between female English colonists in North America in the 17th century. Hammon, who was the younger of the two, was given a formal admonition, but Norman was convicted. As part of her punishment, she had to allocute publicly to her "unchaste behavior" with Hammon.
In 1655, the Connecticut colony passed a law criminalizing sodomy between women (and men). In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a federal law that included lesbian and gay sex. The law read, "Whosoever shall be guilty of rape, polygamy, or sodomy with man or woman shall be punished, if a man, by castration, if a woman, by cutting thro' the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch diameter at the least."
Lesbianism has been perceived by many–and Sigmund Freud perpetuated this misperception--as a phase of female sexuality that women grow out of. Schoolgirl crushes and teenage experimentation with lesbian relationships was written about by Freud as a stepping-stone to "true," "adult" female sexuality: heterosexuality. (Ironically or not, Freud’s daughter, Dr. Anna Freud, was in a lesbian relationship with child psychoanalyst Dr. Dorothy Tiffany-Burlingham for more than 50 years.)
Is language the problem? It’s true that the terminology itself is fairly recent. "Homosexual" was first coined in an 1869 pamphlet written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny to decry anti-sodomy laws in Germany. In 1886, Richard Krafft-Ebing, the noted German psychiatrist, coined the terms "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" in his work Psychopathia Sexualis.
The term "lesbian" was first seen in poems by men in the 1860s and then more commonly as a medical term for lesbian sex in 1890. The term "Sapphist" occurs earlier, in early 19th century poetry and literature.
The Greek poet Sappho. Courtesy photo.
The Greek poet, Sappho, whose birthplace of Lesbos spawned the term "lesbianism" and whose name has become synonymous with female homosexuals—Sapphists—was born in 630 B.C. The relationship of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible and Talmud, the oft-cited verses in Leviticus as well as St. Paul’s comments on same-sex relationships in Corinthians all signal lesbianism as a real–and definitively sexual–fact.
Sappho’s extant poetry and other writings explore her love for other girls and women and there are depictions in art throughout the centuries from classical Greece to the 19th century pre-Raphaelites of lesbian lovers entwined in each others’ arms, often fully naked. At the turn of the last century, Toulouse-Lautrec and other French and German post-Impressionists incorporated lesbians into their work as denizens of a Bohemian demi-monde. In Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin communities of lesbians were thriving, albeit underground, which by the turn of the 19th into the 20th century would include large enclaves of American women, expatriates whose names are now revived each year at LGBT history month as veritable monoliths in our compendia of writers and artists: Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Romaine Brooks, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Josephine Baker, Renée Vivien, Ida Rubenstein and more. While these women fled the U.S. and the mores that made it difficult for them to live the openly–some would claim flagrantly–lesbian lives they led in the U.S., there remained hundreds of thousands of lesbians still in America, leading very different lesbian lives–yet not the neutered lives we have been led to believe.
Examples of lesbian sexuality are all over early American history. The 19th century saw a myriad of reasons why lesbianism was actually embraced, right up until the turn of the 20th century, when it wasn’t. If there are all these depictions of blissfully naked lesbians over centuries, why does anyone keep writing that "We don’t really know if A and B who shared the same bed for 50 years were sexual"?
There is ample proof if we examine the confluent and overlapping milieux of women’s education and the suffrage movement, both of which opened up new vistas for women to examine their choices in society. One of those choices was lesbian relationships instead of marriage to a man and the constraints of a family. Raising children and running a household was restrictive of women’s time and energy and left little for the work of suffrage or social reform. Lesbian relationships bore none of the oppressive and repressive hallmarks of compulsory heterosexuality. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was married to a man and the mother of seven, but who had a long relationship with Susan B. Anthony, wrote of her same-sex relationship, "I prefer a tyrant of my own sex, so I shall not deny the patent fact of my subjection; for I do believe that I have developed into much more of a woman under her jurisdiction."
Susan B. Anthony. Courtesy photo.
For her part, Anthony was clear: Men held women back. At 18 she had written in her diary, "I think any female would rather live and die an old maid." Throughout her life as a suffragist she never failed to mourn the losses of other suffragists to the constraints of marriage and family which overrode their time and took them from the cause of women’s enfranchisement. The efforts to suppress women’s independence were hardly new. For millennia women’s lives had been controlled, particularly their sexual autonomy.
How do we know women were engaged in sexual lesbian relationships? We know because teenage girls and young women were already having sex together at boarding schools and seminaries–why would they stop when they got older?
When women’s education advanced past the local schoolhouse and became an acceptable option in the 19th century, same-sex seminaries – places for secondary education – began to evolve. One of the pressing concerns in the writings of the time was lesbianism. Young female students – most in their mid to late teens – were developing what were reductively referred to as "passionate" or "romantic" friendships. Mashes, crushes, smashes: these were all terms used to describe love affairs between young women at school in the late 19th century.
At the same time, women’s education was becoming more of a concern as a masculinizing threat to feminine–and heterosexual–women. In 1874, Edward Clarke wrote of the dangers of these all-female environments turning women into men. Sex Education or a Fair Chance for Girls is one such exhibit of social fears. Too much education for women would be perilous, Clarke explained, repeating anxieties that women were both too limited to absorb education as men do and that if they were inculcated with too much knowledge, it would harm them irreparably by turning them into, well, lesbians.
Clarke argued that studying hard in an all-female environment would do damage to women’s reproductive organs, tax their brains and cause hysteria "and other derangements of the nervous system." Clarke evinced concern that if women became too educated and too independent they would also become masculine.
Lesbianism was a significant threat, according to Clarke, and educated women had to be careful to "remain women, not strive to be men, or they will ignominiously fail."
Charles Thwing, warning of the lesbian takeover of women’s colleges, in 1894 in The College Woman, was succinct 20 years after Clarke: What if women became "brutes" at college and lost their femininity by behaving like men? Worse, Thwing asserted, what if educated women began to think that relationships between women were a substitute for heterosexual relationships?
Against the backdrop of a burgeoning suffrage movement was this pulse of women educating themselves and becoming more and more independent of men. Thwing never mentioned moral objections to these lesbian relationships within the confines of colleges, but he did believe their intensity—women being far more emotional than men—was dangerous to the young lovers’ health.
“Many college friendships are exceedingly exhausting,” Thwing said. “Women give themselves up more readily than men to intimate relations. College officers are wise in cautioning students against too warm friendships, especially against forming them in the first year of college life.”
The shift away from the embrace of these lesbian affairs that had once been seen as a means of keeping women’s sexuality in check occurred because fewer women were ready to marry once they had had an education. Lesbian relationships were fine as Freudian stepping stone to grown-up heterosexual relationships, but not as an end in themselves. All these fears about lesbians abounded, even as people were told that lesbian sexuality was actually a fiction.
But was it? The most famous lesbian in America in the 19th century was suffragist Susan B. Anthony, whose affairs with women–the aforementioned Elizabeth Cady Stanton as well as Rachel Avery, Anna Dickinson, and Emily Gross--were well-known even at the time.
Anthony was one of the most ardent and vociferous suffragists and as such was targeted by the media as a "manly," which was the worst accusation that could be hurled at a woman. It was an accusation she refuted in a 1900 essay titled "The New Century’s Manly Woman."
Ida B. Wells. Courtesy photo.
Anthony believed strongly that women were damaged by their relationships with men, which she perceived as stifling a woman’s talents and abilities beyond the maintaining of home and family. Ida B. Wells, the journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist, complained that once she married and had her first child, Anthony was annoyed with her, telling her that she was too talented for marriage and motherhood.
In erasing the physical passion of the lesbian relationships among suffragists, historians miss the importance that that sexual component had for these women–the very reason their heterosexual peers married: companionable, accessible, intimate sex.
In her love affair with Dickinson, Anthony wrote flirtatiously. But it had been Dickinson–much pursued by other women–who had pursued the older Anthony. She wrote, "I want to see you very much indeed, to hold your hand in mine, to hear your voice, in a word, I want you — I can't have you? Well, I will at least put down a little fragment of my foolish self and send it to look up at you."
Are we expected to believe these were sexless exchanges of the mind only? That’s revisionist nonsense. Whether or not these women put the word "lesbian" to their relationships did not make those relationships any less fully lesbian–including sexually.
Anna E. Dickinson. Courtesy photo.
Anthony also wrote encouraging words to Dickinson, who was on the front lines as well, noting, "Ah, Anna, your mission will brighten and beautify every day if you will but keep the eye of your own spirit turned within ... [where] that precious jewel of truth is to be sought — and formed — And darling — you will find it & speak it, and live it — and all men and women will call you blessed."
The letters between the two are full of over-heated comments and sexy talk; these women who have been portrayed as "unsexed" or "old maids," were in fact engaged in passionate affairs that propelled them forward in their work for women.
Throughout America there were lesbian couples at the women’s colleges and in the various reform movements from abolition to suffrage and then the rising social work and worker’s rights movements. The “Boston Marriage”–two women living together–was desexualized specifically because men feared those relationships and how they might spread, like a contagion.
That fear is an undercurrent and thread throughout Henry James’ classic novel The Bostonians, in which a romantic triangle includes Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist and suffragist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's. The entirety of the 1886 novel is a battle between Basil and Olive for the affections of Verena–as well as for her personhood. That Basil and Olive are presented as equal suitors for Verena’s love is indicative of how deeply lesbian relationships had penetrated the Zeitgeist and how confused and confusing it was for society in deciding what to do with both the relationships and the lesbians themselves.
They were there–from Sappho to Susan B. Anthony–these lesbians with their passionate affairs and life-long partnerships. Nearly 400 years ago, Mary Hammon and Sarah Norman may have been the only lesbian couple in America prosecuted for "being lewd upon a bed together," but they were not the only lesbian couple being lewd upon a bed, nor kissing a girl and liking it. All history has an element of revisionism, but to revise the breadth of lesbian sexuality out of these relationships because they were in a time before our own is to erase a significant part of our history, and as such, ourselves.
Author’s note: for the purposes of space, except for brief references, this article focuses on lesbian couplings in the United States.
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A massage gun is a great way to relieve tension in specific muscles. We can do it from the comfort of our own couches while watching TV. The benefits of a massage gun can help you feel relaxed, feel calmer, improve circulation, and can relieve stress and tension throughout your body. It’s no wonder that we seek out full-body massages whenever we can.
I would love to say that I work out so much that a massage gun helps me loosen up the tight muscles from lifting all those weights. The truth is, I have pulled a muscle in my next twice just from shampooing my hair…Or there was that time I turned around in my chair awkwardly and pulled a muscle in my back. That actually happened the day before I got the massage gun to review luckily, the battery had a partial charge to it and I had my first opportunity to test it out.
First, let me introduce to you the B37 Massage Gun by Erkin Athletics…
What is the B37 Massage Gun?
Four Attachments for the B37 Massage Gun
The B37 Massage Gun is an ergonomic and percussive therapy machine. The handle sits at a 15° angle which helps lessen arm fatigue. The handle is also designed so that you can reach the hard-to-reach places that normally would require another person to assist.
- 5-speeds: the variable speed ranges from 1,400 to 3,200 RPMs. The lower speeds let you warm up your muscles and work through any sensitive muscles.
- 4 attachments: There are four different types of attachments you can use to work your muscles.
- Flat: The flat attachment is perfect for overall massaging
- Bullet: The bullet is great for zeroing in on specific knots, and is also perfect for hands and feet.
- Round Foam Ball: the foam attachment works best for all larger muscle groups
- Fork: this attachment is specifically designed for the neck and spine.
- Power: the massage gun delivers up to 56 pounds of stall force. What is stall force? Stall force is the amount of pressure you can apply to a massage gun before the motor stalls.
- 8-Hour Battery: The Samsung Lithium-ion battery provides plenty of power so you can really work out those knots. If you’re on the go, you won’t need to worry about recharging or running down the battery prematurely.
- Travel Case: Take your charged, or uncharged, B37 Massage Gun with you in the handy travel case that organizes everything neatly.
How Do You Use the B37 Massage Gun?
According to the information on their website, you should
- Turn the massage gun on before placing it on your body.
- Use speeds 1 - 3 for any muscle recovery and for speeds 4 and 5 for a soothing massage or pre-workout muscle warm-up.
- Glide the massage gun over the muscles and let the gun do the work. Apply pressure for added muscle relief.
- Breathe and relax and let the machine do the work. (in other words, if you’re tense, the massage will not work.)
Another step I would add is to make sure you know which attachment you need before you even begin step 1. This way, you don’t just turn it on, start massaging, and then realize you need a different attachment.
What I Liked About the B37 Massage Gun
What I love about the B37 Massage GunPhoto by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
There’s always the chance that you get a product that just doesn’t perform. I kind of knew that this was not the case when I turned on the B37. You could feel the power when you were holding it. In fact, it was so powerful I had it on the lowest setting and barely applied any pressure to my sore back. After a few swipes, I felt better.
The attachments are great and my two favorites are the foam ball and the flat attachment. They really promote muscle relaxation and work pretty well for me. To be honest, the fork scares me a little plus, I can’t really reach. I haven’t used the bullet yet because the foam ball and flat piece work great for me. Did I mention that they’re so easy to change too? You just pop them in or out—that simple.
Aside from the handy case, the battery is third in line because well, sometimes, you just forget to charge things. Hello, headsets anyone? I can use the massager for an hour or so and then put it away and use it another day.
What I Don’t Like About the B37 Massage Gun
What I didn't like about the B37 Massage Gun
It's fine when you are on the lower settings but when you get up to the higher settings, it gets a little noisy. Especially if you’re watching TV. If I need that much work on my muscles, I probably shouldn’t be sitting in front of the TV anyway. The lower settings work just fine for my muscles.
Also not a deal killer, but it has some heft to it. While the 15° handle does help with arm fatigue and wrist exhaustion, it’s still there especially if you have a particular knot to work out. Usually, I switch hands if possible or take a break here and there.
Is the B37 Massage Gun Worth the Price?
Prices for massage guns can vary and the B37 Massage Gun is decently priced compared to other massage guns. Considering the quality of the massage gun, all of the features, AND a lifetime warranty, I think it’s well worth the price.
Should You Buy the B37 Massage Gun?
Massage guns are perfect for anyone that is an endurance athlete, an avid weightlifter, or anyone suffering from tight muscles. The National Institute of Mental Health also discusses practicing self-care by using relaxing activities such as muscle relaxation. The institute also mentions using relaxing techniques for managing stress.
I would recommend the massage gun for anyone dealing with sore muscles and who may need relaxation in general.
What to Look for in a Massage Gun?
Speed and Power
When you are searching for a massage gun, you want to look for a gun that offers a range of speed and that has enough power to handle the stall force.
Size and Weight
Part of what I didn’t like about the B37 was the weight. It was a little heavy, especially for one-handed massaging. That’s why you need to make sure that the weight isn’t going to be too cumbersome and at the same time, it isn't too flimsy. There is no way around it but if you have a powerful gun, it’s going to be heavy or heavier. The size is a factor too. If it’s too large, it’ll seem awkward; if it’s too small, it just won’t get the job done.
Chances are, you’re going to want to take the gun with you. Having a nice travel case will make that a lot easier. You will want or need, something compact enough for those road trips and flights. Just don’t forget the charger.
Attachments make life and working out the kinks so much easier. While I really only use two, I can see where the four come in handy. Depending on how often you will use one, I would say a minimum of two attachments.
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After a visit to Honolulu, I returned enthusiastic about the Imu, the traditional Hawaiian underground oven. If you’ve been to a traditional luau, you’ve had kalua pig cooked in an imu. The word kalua means “the hole”. Depending on the pig’s size, it is steamed in an underground pit, sometimes for days. Throughout Polynesia and in many other cultures, earthen ovens have been used for centuries. They are a highly effective way to produce succulent proteins and vegetables without an ounce of electricity.
Really, you can only eat so many carbonized weiners.
While I have always loved cooking outside and enjoy the morning ritual of getting the embers going, camping food is rarely special. It’s hard to control the fire without standing vigil every second. Something always burns. Something is always undercooked. In recent years, meals for the yearly camping trip with my college friends consist of variations on the foil pack theme: individual hobo packs and the like.
The flavor of the food cooked in an imu is unmatched and it frees you up to snuggle with your new love, go for a hike, watch Ellen’s last show, or even do some quick manscaping in your tent.
Consider the imu nature’s crock pot. Maybe you can recline in your new zero gravity camp chair where that perfect combination of rustling leaves and a few beams of sunshine poking through the trees will lull you into a nice nap. This doesn’t have to be just for camping. If you have even the smallest swatch of yard you can do this at home. This summer or fall put on some Don Ho and start digging. It’s worth the ten minutes of cardio. Here’s how to do it.
Pork shoulder is an easy protein to work with. Serve it Cuban style with tortillas, avocado, and salsa verde. An entire pig would be fun, but totally unrealistic if you’re camping. Cooking in a small hole would take a few hours to a half day for the meat to become flavorful and succulent.
This may feel intimidating but it’s really quite easy. Don’t let the digging scare you away.
What Do You Need to Make an Imu?
- 5-8 Burlap bags
- 8-10 Banana leaves, fresh or frozen
- 1 or 2 Grill grates
- 20 pound bag Charcoal
- Foil pans
How do You Prepare an Imu?
Folding banana leaves over coals in an imu
Photo courtesy of Kandace Davis
- Dig a hole three feet deep by four feet wide with sloping slides. Save the dirt you’ve excavated. You’ll need it. If you choose a shady area with soft ground, a typical small camping shovel will work. Go for a bigger hole if you’re feeding a crowd. The pit must be large enough to contain an entire bag of charcoal and the food you’ll be serving.
- Layer the bottom center of the pit with plenty of kindling. Dried leaves, small branches, and twigs are best. Try to avoid newspapers as the print could infuse toxic ink fumes into the food. On top of the kindling, add an entire bag of natural, untreated hardwood charcoal. I use Rockwood brand which comes in a 10 lb and 20 lb bag. For this recipe, use about ¾ of a 20 lb bag. Light the kindling and let the charcoal become white hot. This will take about an hour. Hawaiians would traditionally use hot stones heated to 1,000 degrees and placed carefully into the oven with giant tongs. We aren’t doing that.
- Wear gloves to avoid a steam burn. The cooking process requires steam and not dry heat, so banana leaves will help you easily achieve this. You can find these at Global Foods or other international markets. If your banana leaves are frozen, you can place a double layer of them directly over the coals. If they’re fresh, wet them down before placing them. You are ready to cook.
- Carefully straddle a campfire grill grate (readily available online) over the coals. If you’re cooking for a larger group, consider using two grates and you’ll need a larger hole. Place your foil-wrapped edibles on the grill grate. We will get to specifics about what to cook in a bit.
- Wet down four burlap bags or a roll of burlap and lay them over the foil-wrapped food. Be sure that the burlap extends beyond the opening of the hole. You are going to be covering all of this with dirt and you want to keep the dirt from falling into the imu.
- The final layer is a tarp (anything will do) followed by the excavated dirt which is shoveled over the top of the tarp in order to keep any steam from escaping. Estimating cooking time is tricky. For this pork shoulder recipe, plan for five hours if it goes too long then all the better. As you become more confident, consider other foods including whole vegetables or smaller pieces of beef brisket.
- When finished brush away any loose dirt from the edges of the covering material. Avoid getting dirt into the imu. Uncover the layers of banana leaves and burlap sacks. Allow the foil-wrapped foods to cool for ten minutes before serving.
Pork Shoulder Recipe
Imu cooked pork shoulder
Photo courtesy of Kandace Davis
Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Approximately 5 hours
- 5 pounds Bone-in Pork Shoulder
- Citrus Garlic Seasoning
- Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels.
- Season liberally with salt and citrus rub.
- Double-wrap the pork in heavy-duty aluminum foil by placing the meat on the two sheets where the foil meets, and seal the foil tightly by folding it multiple times until it meets the top of the pork. Seal the foil on the sides in the same way.
- Place When the pork is finished cooking, allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Break the meat apart with forks and season again if necessary.
- Serve the meat with the prepared toppings or sides.
Suggested Pork Shoulder Sides
- Avocado slices
- Pickled onions
- Salsa verde
- Corn and/or flour tortillas
- Black beans
- Roasted corn
What Can I Cook in an Imu?
- Whole Chicken
- Beef Brisket
- Whole sweet potatoes or russet potatoes
- Whole acorn squash or spaghetti squash
About the Author
Kandace Davis began her career at a large suburban St. Louis school district where she taught English and theater. In 1999, after training with the Culinary Institute of America, she moved on to pursue her culinary dreams. She enjoyed a twenty-year career as a chef and founded the award-winning St. Louis food company, Cha Cha Chow, which was thrice named by The Daily Meal, NYC, as one of the top food trucks in America. Kandace and Cha Cha Chow have been featured in the St. Louis Business Journal, Sauce Magazine, Feast Magazine, and “Show Me St. Louis.”
In 2013, Kandace was nominated and accepted into Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in food, fine beverage, and hospitality, and serves on the board of her local chapter. As part of her work to help provide healthy food to underserved communities, Kandace is a supporter of Earthdance Organic Farm School and Mutual Aid St. Louis. She has participated in local events supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Black Lives Matter movement, and, as a breast cancer survivor, The Breast Cancer Fund.
In 2019, after three spinal surgeries, Kandace stepped down from Cha Cha Chow. She is now working on a memoir about her mother’s mysterious and violent death by suicide and the amazing grandmother who raised her.
Campus Pride, the preeminent resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, diversity inclusion, and advocacy within higher education, today announced the annual Best of the Best Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ+ students in the United States, recognizing the work of 40 campuses in making their communities safer and more welcoming environments for students, faculty, and staff alike.
“Campus Pride created the Best of the Best List to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of these colleges and universities, creating safer, more welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ people,” said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride Executive Director. “Students, prospective students, and their families, along with faculty and staff members, deserve to know whether they will be safe on campus, so they can make the best choices for their own academic success – and by creating inclusive, safe environments these colleges are taking responsibility for all students.”
Today’s announcement from Campus Pride features 40 four-year campuses from across the country. These campuses have achieved 5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), the definitive national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices. To earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, campuses receive a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices. The methodology to determine this year’s Best of the Best List was based on an overall score of 93 percent or higher.
"We are seeing more and more colleges earn 5 stars because campuses are doing more to support their trans students," states Dr. Genny Beemyn, the coordinator of Campus Pride's Trans Policy Clearinghouse. "While all colleges can and should do more to be trans-inclusive, many institutions are taking important steps forward."
“The work Campus Pride does every day to foster safer, more welcoming campuses across the country is creating positive change for students, staff, and faculty, as this year’s Best of the Best list reflects that with 40 colleges represented, up from 30 last year,” said Tom Elliott, Campus Pride Board Chair. “At a time when LGBTQ+ rights and other civil rights are under assault in states across the country, including Texas and Florida, it is as important as ever to recognize the campuses in these states working to create spaces where the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders can learn and flourish.”
- Towson University, MD
- Montclair State University, NJ
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, NJ
- Adelphi University, NY
- Ithaca College, NY
- Pace University, NY
- Lehigh University, PA
- The Pennsylvania State University, PA
- University of Pennsylvania, PA
- Northern Illinois University, IL
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
- University of Illinois at Chicago, IL
- Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
- Purdue University, IN
- Kansas State University, KS
- Oakland University, MI
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
- Macalester College, MN
- Minnesota State University-Mankato, MN
- University of Nebraska at Kearney, NE
- Kent State University, OH
- The Ohio State University, OH
- University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, WI
- University of Wisconsin Green Bay, WI
- University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, WI
- Tufts University, MA
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
- University of Vermont, VT
- University of North Florida, FL
- University of Louisville, KY
- Elon University, NC
- George Mason University, VA
- Virginia Wesleyan University, VA
- Texas Tech University, TX
- University of Texas at Dallas, TX
- San Diego State University, CA
- University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
- University of Northern Colorado, CO
- Southern Oregon University, OR
- Washington State University, WA
About Campus Pride
Campus Pride’s 2022 BEST OF THE BEST Colleges & Universities is online at http://campuspride.org/BestoftheBest.
The Campus Pride Index full listing of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities is available at https://www.campusprideindex.org/.
Since 2001, Campus Pride has been the leading national organization building future LGBTQ and ally leaders as well as creating safer communities at colleges and universities. The Campus Pride Index annually helps 80,000 people find LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities. In addition, the organization has specifically tailored programs and resources to support LGBTQ youth and campus communities. Learn more at CampusPride.org.