Alumnae Quarterly, Spring 2008

Born Gay, Sister

It just rips my heart apart to read a homophobic letter such as the one Lenora Castles Bryant '64 sent to the winter 2008 Quarterly. Her reaction to the Jolene Fund (which aids gay Mount Holyoke students who have been cut off from funding by their parents) is not unexpected, simply disappointing and cruel.

One doesn't choose to become gay. One is born gay. Throughout history there have been gay people who have chosen to live straight lives but at great mental and emotional cost. No one is forcing Ms. Bryant to live the life she has chosen; no one is insisting that she become gay. Why can't she allow others the same kind of freedom to live an honest, open life?

At Mount Holyoke, one gets a full view of what she terms "both sides" of the sexual orientation question. I always found Mount Holyoke to be strongly "straight" oriented. And I am outraged that she suggests that only straight people face "real" dilemmas. Gays also work, have families, have children, own homes, meet mortgages, put their children through school, and take care of their elderly parents.

Ms. Bryant would throw away those young women who suddenly find themselves without support at Mount Holyoke. What a waste of potential! I suggest that anyone with true family values consider contributing to the Jolene Fund. It embraces what some might consider the more uncommon of Mount Holyoke's uncommon women. It shows that no one is disposable. The sisterhood of Mount Holyoke is surely strong and thoughtful and charitable enough to embrace all its members.

Pamela Thiele '70
Lakewood, Colorado

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