By: Allen Roth  | 

Letter to the Editor: A Perspective from a Gay Alumnus

To the Editor:

Those of us who lived through the early days of the Civil Rights movement, the women’s movement, the various fights for equality that have taken place and are still occurring, know the final result of this struggle at Yeshiva: The club will eventually receive official recognition. The administrators, students and trustees who fought against it will then manage to forget their ignoble roles in this struggle, and life will go on, until an LGBT club at Yeshiva will be nothing more than a blip in’s prospectus.

How will you recall your days as a student in the future? Will you be able to face your fellow straight and gay alumni with a full heart and a clear conscience? Recalling most of my fellow alumni, the best one could hope for was that he was apathetic, preferring to ignore events around us by concentrating on his studies.

But you have a great opportunity here. It’s the kind of chance that genuinely occurs once in a lifetime — if that often. I know; I turned 70 this year. I was indeed one of the apathetic majority at Yeshiva in the late 1960s. I didn’t participate in the protests against the war in Vietnam, not even in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry that was very popular at that time. I was too fascinated and immersed in my studies. But truthfully, it simply wasn’t that important to me. To this day, when I think of my undergraduate years, I am ashamed of my lack of humanity.

You gay students are courageous for speaking out, but it’s your straight companions I’m addressing. Don’t allow your fellow students, displaying hateful, mindless prejudice, while masquerading under the banner of Torah, to dictate the results of this noble fight. Come out yourselves, and support your classmates in their fight for equality. I assure you, as the years go by, you will take increasing pride in your actions when you see your spouses, girlfriends, ex-spouses, children and fellow alumni. You will also be genuinely astonished at who of your classmates is gay.

Allen Roth

B.A. 1972

A gay alumnus