How far we have to go

I have enjoyed reading the first two installments of the “Cruel Summer” series very much. I find it interesting because it’s a local-history story that touches on subjects we often avoid. 1963 is not the distant past, and subjects such as racism and homophobia are still hard subjects to talk about here in the South.

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.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “How far we have to go

  1. david

    I dont see how it is unreasonable for the writer of this article to state the facts. This does not imply ‘shame’. That seems a bit of a stretch, for sure.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.