Thursday, February 09, 2006

Speed dating

CIA (the organization I used to run at Carnegie Mellon) is holding a speed dating event this weekend. Mark, the social chair who is organizing it, got an email about how speed dating excludes the GLBT community, basically inviting an argument. Mark and the chair declined the bait, but I'll bite.

The event is targetting about 20 males and 20 females, but will probably only get 15 of each - about 30 total people. On average, let's say that 10% of people at Carnegie Mellon are gay. That means if you hold an event with 40 people, 4 will be gay. How do 4 people speed date, when statistically, there will be 2 gay males and 2 lesbians if people randomly show up?

I'm serious: how do you include gay people in speed dating without making it a gay person speed dating event? The guy who emailed to complain didn't even suggest a way to create a GLBT friendly event - he just said "some day you guys will be able to include us." He's creating an "us and them" mentality himself, fighting against what the gay community really should want - unity among all people.

Questions and comments on how speed dating could be gay inclusive while not making it a gay event are very welcome.

[Edit: Friday afternoon, 4 pm PST]
Actual text from the guy complaining about speed dating:

"[Speed dating is] also pretty exclusive of the GLBT community."
"One of these days, you guys are going to come up with some way to include people who aren't just attracted to the opposite sex. It can't be that difficult."

I still maintain this is creating an us-and-them mentality, and I still maintain this is inviting an argument and not being very gay-progressive. But I might as well include the exact rebuttal to speed dating.


doug said...

Well, obviously you just need to encourage both the gay and straight people to be more open minded. "date" != "knockin da boots". QED.

Alter said...

Way late, but I was just searching for GLBT speed dating and came across this.

I had the same trouble at my school (University of Alaska Anchorage) and had to create a seperate event for the GLBT community. I opened it to the community and allies, but made the advertising seem that we were targeting 18-25ish year olds and instead of calling it speed dating named it "Fast Friends" - putting an emphasis on just meeting new people rather than "OMIGAWD YOU HAVE TO DATE" to help be more inclusive for the newly outed or not yet out of the closet feel more comfortable.