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May 15, 2013

Vol. 113, No. 12

letters

Gay at Princeton

In response to: Hidden lives

Published on May 15, 2013

In between film-editing jobs in New York, I drove a cab and happened to drive by the Stonewall Inn demonstration against the police rousting gay bars, which turned out to be the ­beginning of the current gay-rights movement. 

The concept of gay bars was just entering the mainstream culture, and I drove fares to these bars and bathhouses. Many seemed not gay, but drunk and despondent. A tag line in Mart Crowley’s 1968 play The Boys in the Band was “Why do we hate ourselves so much?”

At the time, I was in a psychotherapy group that cured us of drug addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality, and, in my case, neurosis. These were deemed symptoms of an underlying family dysfunction. When one faced up to the pain of the dysfunction, the symptoms dropped away. We wept in astonishment when discovering we weren’t trapped by our pasts.

My gay friends from among the ’50s Triangle casts probably are still gay, but perhaps there are Princetonians, who, like my therapy-mates then, and Christian friends since, have come to consider homosexuality an aberration and a trap, and have escaped. If this isn’t too countercultural and there are former gays among the alumni, their stories would make an interesting sidebar for the Richard Just article.

EDWARD D. DUFFIELD II ’58
Little Compton, R.I.

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CURRENT ISSUE: May 15, 2013
Letters