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Meet Sarah Lawrence Students

Jackie Lacey ’10 & Tobi Tobin ’08

In 1983, Sarah Lawrence became the first college in the nation to hold a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research: the Deb Ball. The event ran aground in 2004, due to funding and organizational issues, but this past spring, Jackie Lacey ’10 and Tobi Tobin ’08—members of the Student Senate and co-chairs of TransAction, a queer activist group on campus—led the effort to bring the Deb Ball back.

SLC: Was the Deb Ball a success?
JL: Yes! We intended to have it in the Pub, but then the response was so huge that we had to move it to the Bates cafeteria.
TT: We raised a total of $2,000 from personal donations and revenue from the sex toy auction and safe sex kits. The proceeds were donated to The SafeGuards Project, an LGBT resource center. To keep the focus on education, we also had safe sex literature available.

SLC: What was the music?
TT: Our friend Luke Simon ’08 deejayed, spinning “queer stuff” like Le Tigre, Madonna. For the first hour, Morgan Heringer ’09’s amazing jazz quartet played. As part of the classic movie theme, All About Eve was projected onto the dance floor.

SLC: What was the dress code?
JL: Black and white—and people really got into the spirit. Guys were wearing dresses... My friend Katie O. wore bondage tape as a dress.

SLC: In reviving the Deb Ball, did you feel a greater connection to SLC’s activist tradition?
TT: Definitely. I did some research on Lithgow Osborne ’84, who hosted the first Deb Ball. Also, there was an issue of the alumnae/i magazine that was all about activism. I grabbed it and read it cover to cover.

SLC: Will the Deb Ball be held next year?
JL: Obviously. The party isn’t over, for either of us.

by Suzanne Guillette MFA ’05

Jackie Lacey ’10 and Tobi Tobin ’08

Photo by Don Hamerman

Tobi '08 (left) and Jackie '10 (right)

“Queer activism is still alive on this campus, just as it was in the eighties and nineties.”

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