Volume 92, Issue 31

Thursday, October 29, 1998

behind closed doors


Need acceptance

Re: Wasting my student fees, Oct. 23

To the Editor:

With the recent death of a gay man, verbal and physical violence towards homosexual people has been making news headlines. This violence is motivated by attitudes based on ignorance and fear. These ancient and lazy prejudices are not limited to a lunatic religious fringe but are found among "learned" university students as attested by Patrick O'Neil's letter.

People who are under the influence of homophobic prejudice need to understand the following in order for attitudes to change. Firstly, homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is not a "lifestyle." It is an identity, a state of being. A "lifestyle" by definition is a pattern of conduct. We can choose lifestyles. However, we cannot choose our sexual identity.

Secondly, it is important for us, whether gay or straight, to live a health-orientated lifestyle that fulfils our natural intimacy needs. Imagine, if you can, the physical and psychological health of heterosexual persons if they were told to suppress their natural affection for the opposite sex and reserve it for same-sex relationships. Your lives would be turned upside down in anguish, to say the least!

We who are naturally inclined to love the same gender have suffered this unimaginable anguish from "playing straight" – and those days are over. We will live who we are and share our intimate desires with those with whom we are attracted to, no less than you, our heterosexual counterparts.

Lastly, sexuality is not "promoted," it is exercised. To promote something is to assume people can be converted to it. It is ludicrous to believe people can "convert" to either sexuality. You do not speak of "promoting heterosexuality," yet, although we gays and lesbians are bombarded with heterosexual behaviour and advertising from day one, it's interesting to note how we continue to exist in spite of this! Has that ever occurred to O'Neil?

Yes Patrick, discussion is needed for you to understand tolerance and acceptance. I long for the day when a true appreciation for the richness of our human diversity can be all pervasive and prejudice is a thing of the past.

Peter Collins

Bachelor of Education

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Copyright The Gazette 1998