One L in a Different Voice: Beconming a Gay Male Feminist at Harvard Law School

10 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2009

Date Written: December 9, 2009


This essay is part of a collection of autobiographical essays on experiences as first-year law students. The author's experience at Harvard Law School (1975-1978) is recounted in all its unpleasantness. In the mid-1970s, Harvard Law School was not well-prepared for students on the left, students of diverse racial backgrounds, women students, and especially not for gay students like the author. Though the institution proved to be well-meaning over the longer term, and the author in his time there encountered a number of individual efforts that were both kind and helpful, overall the experience was one of institutional recalcitrance that cast student efforts to encourage reform as oppositional. In addition to general student dissatisfaction with pedagogy and placement services, the essay describes the effect on the author of the dearth of women professors and of feminism, and the total absence of academic reflection on sex or homosexuality and of visible gay role models. It also describes the author's attempt to find some kind of personal and political community through participation in the Lawyers Guild and through personal activities in the Boston gay scene of the mid-1970s.

Keywords: Harvard Law School, 1970s, law school, homosexuality, women, feminism, sex, student life, balance, visibility, identity, Lawyers Guild, Warren Burger

Suggested Citation

Poirier, Marc R., One L in a Different Voice: Beconming a Gay Male Feminist at Harvard Law School (December 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Marc R. Poirier (Contact Author)

Seton Hall Law School ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States
973-642-8478 (Phone)
973-642-8546 (Fax)

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