Since Kaleidoscope revealed the original theme (which, as Jacob states, was 1950’s Americana) at a drag show Winter Quarter, our club and our signature event, Crystal Ball, have been the center of a campus-wide dialogue. Issues of race, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation all collided and will continue to collide as long as Kalamazoo College fosters the liberal arts as its educational cornerstone. The discussion has ruffled feathers across the board; everybody has an opinion.
Kaleidoscope has the privilege of hosting Crystal Ball, which attracted 1,050 attendees this year, and has the opportunity to influence — even if only (though hopefully not exclusively) for one night — the way students see the world around them. What more could we ask for than a captive audience that’s also having a great time? Of course, the message of our event comes across in varying degrees, with various successes and even more various failures.
I’m not going to defend Kaleidoscope’s choice to change the theme. I don’t want to, and I don’t have to. I recognize that not only do I not speak for all of Kaleidoscope’s members, but Kaleidoscope doesn’t speak for all LGBT people or their allies at this school (nor should we). However, we can receive criticism and accept it or reject it as we see fit.
We can’t make everybody happy with whatever theme we choose or don’t choose, and we don’t try to. But until we hear new voices, we cannot take everyone’s opinion into consideration when planning our events.
And so I would like to close with an open invitation for anybody — students, staff, faculty, and administrators — to visit Kaleidoscope next year and begin to experience what we hope to be an open, accepting and strong community of individuals working toward achieving dignity for LGBT people. Whether that comes in the form of consolation, empowerment, activism, or a huge drag ball at the end of the school year, Kaleidoscope welcomes those willing to share in our vision of the future.