Omeka - Digital History at Ursinus

"Close-Mindedness is the Real Problem." October 3rd, 1995.

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"Close-Mindedness is the Real Problem." October 3rd, 1995.


Alison Heely


The Grizzly


Ursinus College



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During the past few weeks, I have either witnessed or heard about a number of comments aimed at gays and gay organizations. None were positive. It seems that the impetus for this barrage of remarks was a campus-wide phone announcement regarding the first GALA meeting
of the year. Evidently, some members of the community took the phone message as a personal invitation and felt the need to express their concerns about gays on campus
and gay organizations. I am responding to those concerns and others that I have encountered over the past three years.

There is a misconception on this campus that GALA is only for gay and lesbian students and that if a person is a member of GALA then that person must be gay or lesbian.

The reality is that GALA is an organization that supports gay and lesbian concerns. Therefore, it is open to any and all supporters of gay and lesbian concerns, and in fact a number of the members are straight allies.

This leads to the question, aren't the gay members out to convert all of the straight members of GALA and of the entire campus? To most rational, open-minded members of campus, this question sounds absurd. The truth is that it is as impossible to convert a straight person as it is to convert a gay or lesbian, leading to the belief that
gays and lesbians choose to be "that way". Who in his or her right mind would choose to be part of a group of people that is constantly degraded and insulted and who, as of yet, do not have full protection under federal
law, or the right to marry, the right to decide a spouse's medical care when critically ill, or any other right that everyone else takes for granted?

Now that we have established the fact that being in GALA does not mean being gay or lesbian and that the gays and lesbians are not out to convert the world, let's turn to the
concept of homophobia. The definition of homophobia goes far beyond the literal translation of "fear
of gays". It includes hate, fear, disgust, gay-bashing, derogatory comments and any other actions that are degrading and intended to harm or intimidate gays and lesbians. While some will argue that it is their right to feel any way they want about gays, it is not their right to
discriminate or harass. I will grant that a person has a right to say he or she does not like gays. However, realize that that, too, is part of homophobia.

The problem is not that there are gay and lesbian members of the Ursinus community. Rather the problem is that people are unaware and in some cases closed-minded. And I think that it is time to remedy that.

-Alison Heely
Class of 1996

Original Format



Closemindness is Real.JPG


Alison Heely , “"Close-Mindedness is the Real Problem." October 3rd, 1995.,” Omeka - Digital History at Ursinus, accessed July 16, 2024,