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Letter to the Editor of Yale Alumni Magazine

Given that I had rotator cuff surgery just 3 weeks ago, yet am typing this letter to the editor with one hand, must mean that the article by George Chauncey on “Gay at Yale” truly motivated me to respond. After reading the author’s claim that Yale has “changed for the better” regarding LGBT, I silently mused, “According to whom?” According to LGBT folks and their straight supporters at Yale? Isn’t that a circular argument? It reminds me of the football player who made himself the referee. You guessed right. His team won. It’s no wonder, then, that Yale has become “an exceptionally hospitable and exciting place to be gay.” I’ll bet. In fact I’ll wager that it’s become even more exciting than it was 25 years ago when I was a straight, conservative student at the Divinity School. Those were the days when a gay man knocked on the door of my dorm-room and flashed the center-fold of a gay magazine in my face and then left chuckling – all to let me know what he thought of my “bigotry.” Then there were those two fellows who took a shower together in the stall next to me while I was trying to take mine. Looking back on it, perhaps they were just trying to be hospitable toward one another. After all, with prejudiced people like me around, those were awfully difficult days for gays at Yale to experience any hospitality whatsoever. So it appears that the sons of Eli have broken through the line. But don’t think that "Gay Ivy" was won fairly. The day simply came when the rest of us could no longer send our sons to Yale.

John Barber, ’84MDiv
Jupiter, FL


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