With this in mind, I have to say that I was hugely disappointed by part of the "Storm Clouds" installment [June 25]. Under the section [headed] "Fighting Words," Jon Elliston wrote: "What's more, Capell charged, the camp leader 'admits to having had a considerable number of homosexual relationships, himself playing the passive role.'" Elliston immediately adds [parenthetically]: "The latter allegation about von Hilsheimer, a lifelong heterosexual, was rooted in misreading -- or a misinterpretation -- of part of one of his early Realist columns."
Why, I wonder, does Elliston find the need to so quickly assure the reader that von Hilsheimer is not a homosexual? The anecdote about the misinterpretation of von Hilsheimer's article is interesting and funny, but I don't understand why Elliston finds it necessary to reassure us of von Hilsheimer's heterosexuality. Von Hilsheimer very probably is a "lifelong heterosexual," but I feel sure that even he would not see the need for such defense. Wasn't Summerlane supposed to be a place where folks didn't have to feel ashamed about homosexuality and interracial relationships?
This past weekend, marching in the Stonewall gay pride march, I was reminded of how far we have come. Reading this article, I was reminded of how far we have to go.
— Mesha Maren-Hogan
Writer Jon Elliston replies: Frank Capell, editor of The Herald of Freedom newsletter that catalogued Summerlane's supposed sins, had asserted that von Hilsheimer was an admitted homosexual, which was a falsehood (and likely a strategically scripted one intended to stir local bigotry, given Capell's animus toward the camp and its director). Whatever Capell's motives, mine were to give readers the whole story; to do so, I had to note that Capell's assertion was untrue.