Monday, February 23, 2009



Copyright © 2009 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved

The FAGS are back, after having finally won official campus recognition on the last week of the fall semester.

The acronym of the Fellowship of Gays and Straights (FAGS) incited a wild debate on campus last semester.

Younger students tend to like the acronym, just as the word “queer” — long considered an in-sult to Gays and Lesbians — was co-opted by groups nationwide (e.g., Queers for Obama). Indeed, it has become a magic marketing tool for the new organization.

But many Gay seniors and closeted Gays hate the acronym.

Indeed, when the controversy over the acronym erupted on campus last semester, some within the college administration fought against its use.

“I think the acronym (FAGS) is not appropriate for an educational institution because it is hate language,” said student services assistant Michel Montanez last fall.

Actually, Montanez was wrong on the law.

In constitutional law, if a word like “fag” or “queer” is used in a hostile manner, it is not pro-tected under the First Amendment. But, when it is used as a word of positive self-description, the constitutional protections apply.

“I do not think ‘queer” is a positive word,” Montanez added.

New Direction

Having won official campus recognition last semester; the FAGS may take a different direction this semester. One new goal may be to get more involved in other campus groups, especially the straight ones.

“We need to appeal to younger, straight people (on campus),” said James Samoilis, 22, of North Park in a recent interview.

“It’s important that Gays don’t segregate (ghettoize) themselves,” Samoilis explained.

Leading the pack of campus organizations, the FAGS members already held their first meeting on January 31 in a North Park coffee shop.

More information is easily available at

Contact reporter Leo Laurence at (619) 757-4909,

Photo Caption: FAGS members James Samoilis (left), 22, and John Pongphila, 26; both of North Park, are shown Jan. 31st in Hillcrest. Photo by Leo E. Laurence.