To the editor,
Last week, The Crimson published two op-eds denouncing Sex Week as “repulsive” and “backward,” arguing that “true sex” is procreative, monogamous, and love-centered. We, the interns at the Harvard College Office of BGLTQ Student Life and peers in Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, believe every healthy and consensual sexual preference and practice is valid, and we criticize the shaming of sex that falls into this category. The homophobia and transphobia in these regressive views pose an existential threat to our community by dehumanizing us and endorsing violent policy.
Defining “true sex” as procreative suggests that sex must produce a child to be loving, implying that most sex between queer and trans individuals is loveless. Queer people love each other, too. Our sex is no less meaningful than that of cisgender and heterosexual couples.
Moreover, the procreative definition of “true sex” doesn’t apply to all cisgender and heterosexual couples, such as infertile couples or couples using birth control. Shaming anyone for healthy, consensual sex is dehumanizing for folks with widely-varying identities.
The characterization of “true sex” as monogamous ignores the trust and communication central to polyamory. Polyamorous people can be in any number of consensually non-monogamous relationships in many forms, including romantic, sexual, or otherwise intimate. Polyamory isn’t about sex; it’s a relationship model that prioritizes honesty and communication.
Finally, these articles wrongly conflate romantic and sexual attraction. Sex and romance are not the same. You can have sex without love; you can also have love without sex. Sex means different things to different people, and shaming anyone for engaging in or refraining from sex is cruel.
The BGLTQ-exclusive nature of these definitions erase queer sexuality and existence. The Anscombe Society, whose co-presidents are responsible for one of the op-eds, has ties to Focus on the Family, an organization that has advocated for conversion therapy — a debunked practice that threatens the safety of queer individuals. The belief that queer sex is illegitimate and “grotesque,” as these articles state, has violent consequences.
If Sex Week were as offensive as these authors believe, the solution for them is simple: Don’t attend. Sex Week is invaluable to queer people and anyone whose relationship to sex doesn’t fit into traditionalist views. Humans have been having sex for 300,000 years. Why not talk about it?
Natalie J. Gale ’21, an inactive Crimson Editorial and Arts editor, is a Social Studies concentrator in Dunster House. Ming Li Wu ’21 is a History and Literature concentrator in Leverett House. Ellie M. Taylor '22 lives in Hurlbut Hall. The writers are interns at the Harvard College Office of BGLTQ Student Life.