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    Mentee is the sort of coinage that sours my stomach, but the program described here at Penn is doing a good thing (via Gay News). I especially like that the interviewees (shut it) forgo the opportunity to make the campus out to be some sort of anti-gay minefield:

    “I think it’s great that [the program] is helping people figure out things for themselves,” Thalmann said. “They are much more involved in activities and feel more comfortable at Penn.”

    Generally, gay or questioning students seem to find an accepting climate at Penn, Thalmann said.

    “I had no qualms or concerns about the Penn community,” Mangam said. For him, how to come out to his close friends and family presented a larger issue.

    That squares with my experience a little over a decade ago, though it wasn’t until after graduation that I came out conclusively. My college friends were the least of my worries–it often seemed that they were positively champing at the bit for me to be gay, though I know they really just wanted me to accept myself. In academic terms, well, I was in the comparative literature program–not exactly a hotbed of in-your-face anti-gay activity–but I doubt there were many places where being gay presented a problem besides (maybe) some of the sports teams or Greek organizations and, like, Campus Crusade for Christ.

    And I’m not even sure about there. Nevertheless, some time around my junior or senior year, a bunch of people with too little to do decided that the LGBA wasn’t militant enough or something and decided to form a loud(er)-mouthed group called QuIP: Queers Invading Penn. Like most postures of unregenerate in-your-face rebelliousness attempted by the milk-fed children of Bergen County, NJ, and Greenwich, CT, I went to school with, it was pretty damned pathetic. Wholly unnecessary, too, since by 1995 Penn was already deep into its current PC-sensitivo phase.

    However, knowing that other people on campus are going to accept you only helps so much when you’re wondering whether your parents are going to disown you. Level-headed, practical mentoring is a useful thing, and it’s good to see that the program the gay center’s program is being taken advantage of.

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