Duke University Students Say, "gay? fine by me"
The Fine By Me project began at Duke University in Spring 2003. Ten
Duke students (both undergraduate and graduate) discouraged by the
meager "dialogue" on campus about a variety of social and political
issues had dinner together to talk about the things they loved about
Duke, and the things that bothered them.
One of the issues that came up repeatedly was the perception on
campus that Duke was homophobic, demonstrated by the Princeton
Review's recent ranking of Duke as the most gay-unfriendly school in
America. We thought the ranking was probably exaggerated, and
wondered if most people at Duke really were homophobic, or if that
was just the perception. We also thought the perception might have
been feeding the homophobia; if Duke students thought it was more
publicly acceptable to be homophobic than to condemn homophobia, they
wouldn't condemn it.
Almost 2,000 students, staff, professors, prospective freshman and
community members now own and wear shirts.
The Fine by Me project offers t-shirts for sale at slightly above
cost ($7 for one t-shirt, $5 a piece for any quantity greater than
one). Any size order can be processed. Large orders (over 12 shirts)
will be processed immediately, while small orders will wait for a
large enough aggregation of orders before processing.
Order shirts: http://www.finebyme.org/order-form-cc.html
Photos of students in t-shirts are at:
April 15, 2003: A group of students began handing out shirts Friday
and continued distributing them on the Bryan Center walkway yesterday
in an effort to encourage University members to accept people
practicing gay lifestyles. Although funding for the shirts came from
Duke Allies, the University's official gay-straight alliance, the
program was unaffiliated with any official organization on campus.
"I think that Duke has a reputation as being very conservative and
unfriendly," said Tyler Pulis, who graduated from Trinity College in
December and currently works in a nuclear physics lab on
campus. "This is an easy way to show that there are people on campus
who are cool with gay rights without any other sort of agenda
attached," she added while handing out shirts.