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Vassar Alumni Act Toward Respect and Change

It’s not easy accepting, proclaiming and living in our society as a homosexual man or woman. Gays and lesbians encounter discrimination at many turns. And this continuous upward battle often gives way to depression and suicide.

So it was with sorrow in my heart that I learned that Fred Phelps’ famous gang from Topeka was going to picket at Vassar College, a small college in upstate New York, one of the former seven sister colleges, because, as they put it, the college is an “an Ivy League whorehouse” and a “filthy institution”.

Vassar College has for many years carried a very open and welcoming policy toward gays. So it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that when Westboro announced its plans to picket outside Vassar’s gates on Feb. 28 for 45 minutes, an alumnus organized an online fund drive for the Trevor Project, a national LGBT suicide intervention group. The alumnus had the goal of raising $100 for each of those 45 minutes. Within days more than that amount was raised (at present it is up to $87,000).

I’m proud of institutions like Vassar who offer an open and comprehensive course of studies including real world action. And I’m proud of the many Vassar alumni who quickly, with no second guessing or beating around the bush, raised this money to support those individuals who have the right to all the respect and love and pride that each of us do.

Maybe that group of committed individuals from Vassar can truly change the world.



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