"We don't want your kind here!"

Sometimes this declaration will followed by a slur such as "freak", "fag", "bitch", etc. Sometimes the speaker will consider himself or herself to be too polite or civilized to utter such profanity ... but they're thinking it, all the same.

Your kind. You are Other. You are not merely unwanted; in the speaker's eyes you are tainted, wrong, radical, filthy. Subhuman. Your presence is an infection. The speaker, flush with righteous hostility, wants you out of their sight, out of the comfortable confines of his or her world, and probably off the face of the planet.

Every time I hear this declaration, I think of my aunt, who passed away a few years ago.

Flash back to the early 1950s, that era of McCarthy and lynchings that has too often been nostalgically recast as an Age of Innocence.

My aunt and her husband, John, were living in Columbia, SC while he pursued his undergraduate degree. They'd married when she was 19 and had been together for just a couple of years.

My aunt and John were both Southerners, born and bred. My aunt, if you met her, seemed the very picture of a polite Southern lady, and you'd think her very meek. John had grown up learning to carefully hide his bisexuality; my aunt knew his orientation from the beginning, and didn't care.

The thing was, before he started courting my aunt, John was involved in a consensual group sex party his freshman year. They might have even been smoking demon weed. One of the girls involved was so overwhelmed with guilt afterward that she confessed the incident to her relatives a few years later.

Shocked and horrified that their innocent little daughter had been led into lesbian experimentation due to the vile perversions of some dastardly college boy, they contacted the Dean of the college and named John as the mastermind behind the orgy.

The Dean called John into his office and thundered down on him: "We don't want your kind here!"

John fled to his and my aunt's little apartment, completely terrified. He'd just been promised expulsion and public outing. His career plans would be ruined and his life might be in jeopardy once the details of his expulsion got back his home town and the good ol' boys there found out he'd had sex with men. What was he going to do?

My aunt, then about 21, put on her best dress and marched down to the Dean's office.

None of us here, today, can imagine the kind of guts it took for her to face down the old man, who was Authority incarnate that day.

She told the Dean that John had been with her at a church potluck the night the orgy took place, and how dare the Dean accuse her John, who was a fine husband and excellent student from a respected family, of homosexuality based on some rumor?

My tiny little aunt completely shamed the Dean into dropping the whole thing. John's reputation went unmolested, he graduated to become an English professor, and he and my aunt moved to Japan and lived happily ever after, 'til death did they part.

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