Feministing.com had this on their “What we missed” post a little while ago and it literally made me tear up when I read it. The OneWheaton letter to the LGBTQ community and allies at the school. I do not know the whole back story, but what I gather from the letter is that either the school’s or a portion of the school’s rhetoric on sexuality is “compassion for the broken”. Which is taken by many, and it seems rightfully so, to mean that any lifestyle other than the norm of heterosexuality is coming from an unhealthy and pitiable place.
This sort of acceptance does not seem uncommon. This is the idea that members of the LGBTQ community have a sadly misshapen sexuality and society should take pity on their broken ways. Like how you tolerate and pity someone with Tourette Syndrome. What they do would be offensive if they had any control, but it is not their fault. Something happened that messed up their heads.
I am not sure if this type of misunderstanding and prejudice is a step in the right direction towards real acceptance, a step back or no step at all. I have not thought about it long enough or compared it to similar moves towards civil rights and social acceptance. I hope that it is a tiny step forward. It is condescending, but it isn’t angry or disgusted. It is a type of tolerance, if only barely.
Either way, the letter these alumni wrote and signed is a beautiful example of how people can stand up and support their fellows and disagree, quite politely, with the institution that made them a community in the first place. They provide a strengthening message and a means for further support. I hope that LQBTQ communities and their allies from all colleges, universities and other institutions can learn from this and set up a similar arrangement if they have not already. If you haven’t read the letter yet I highly recommend it. It is simply beautiful.