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2 Million Fund Helps Gay Music Students

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A former student of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University has bequeathed $2 million to the music institution to help students who are marginalized and lack support because they are gay or lesbian.

According to The Baltimore Sun, "The bequest, among the largest future commitments made to Peabody, will create the Tristan W. Rhodes Scholarship Fund 'for the benefit of students who are gay or lesbian and have been disenfranchised by their families and therefore have lost support for education expenses,' the agreement reads."

The bequest will take effect after Rhodes, 62, dies. A choir director, pianist, and organist, he attended the school but left before he could graduate in 1962. He told the Sun that the gift was inspired by a friend whose potential literary career suffered after she came out to her conservative family.

"She was a fellow New Yorker," said Rhodes. "She could have had a brilliant literary career, but when she came out to her parents, they kicked her out. They were a very conservative Jewish family. She was dealing drugs to survive and she ended up a hairdresser. Her parents just threw her away. I don't want that to happen to anyone with a gift, particularly a gift in my field."

The bequest will also permit scholarships to be awarded to gay and lesbian students who have the support of their families, but need financial help.

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