Disappointed in Gay History Article

To the editor:

We were deeply disappointed to see Mr. Payton’s article on the “Gay History Bill” in your August 2011 issue. While this is not Mr. Payton’s first display of negativity toward the gay and lesbian community, it was extremely unfortunate to see this published as if it were an actual article based on fact as opposed to an “opinion piece” more suitable to an editorial page.

At a time when we are seeing an increase in the bullying of gay and lesbian youth as well as suicides, for Mr. Payton to refer to homosexuality as a “choice” is tragic. If homosexuality were a choice like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, why would so many of our youth take their life if it were just a simple choice? Why would anyone “choose” a lifestyle that continues to subject them to ridicule, discrimination and acts of violence?

It’s ironic this article appeared in the issue that included the appointment of our new police chief. My partner and I were subjected to ongoing harassment from a neighbor as a result of our sexual orientation and the members of the Antioch Police Department were more than supportive whenever we dealt with them. We have no doubt that compassion will continue.

At a time when people are struggling to simply keep their lives together, promoting discrimination and discord is the last thing that we should be doing. My partner and I have been together almost 15 years. We get up and go to work, pay our taxes, participate in our local community and are fortunate to have supportive, loving families. Other than the fact that we are lesbians, don’t we wish everyone could say the same?

Susan Kennedy and Stephanie Bonham

One Comment to “Disappointed in Gay History Article”

  1. Allen Payton says:

    Ms. Kennedy & Ms. Bonham,

    Thank you for reading the newspaper and for your letter expressing your views.

    While I deplore any kind of bullying of students or anyone, for whatever reason it’s done – and the numbers of incidents of bullying for other reasons are far greater than for a student’s sexual preference/orientation – this law is not about that. It’s about indoctrination and acceptance of a lifestyle that many if not most parents disagree with and don’t want taught to their school children. Most parents don’t want elementary students to be taught about any type of sexuality, certainly not as early as Kindergarten.

    If the state legislature wants to do something about bullying in schools, then there are other ways of going about it.

    It’s unfortunate what you two were subjected to from your neighbor and I hope it has ceased, and I’m glad the Antioch police were able to help.

    No one should have to be subjected to harassment from anyone else. You have a right to live peacefully and secure in your home, regardless of your sexual orientation.

    I don’t advocate hating or hurting anyone, as we all are all sinners and all need forgiveness and God’s grace. I don’t hate anyone, even those who bullied me when I was a student, because I was the new kid in school, having moved multiple times while growing up.

    But, only teaching the positive side of someone, whether it be a member of the LGBT community, a priest, pastor (since the law also includes religion) or anyone else is not education.

    Our school children are already forced to celebrate Harvey Milk Day for someone who was merely the first openly gay elected official in our state’s history, when he really didn’t accomplish much of anything while in office. But, they can’t be taught that he had sex with underage boys – which is illegal – since this new law doesn’t allow textbooks to include anything “reflecting adversely upon persons on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation…”

    If school history books mentioned the first fact about him, fine. But, to have a day of celebrating him is another. Then to not teach the negative aspects of his life is an incomplete history and really isn’t teaching our students how to think but what to think.

    How about a priest or pastor who had some positive impact on our society or history, but then was arrested for and convicted of child molestation? Nope, you can’t mention that about the man. You’d have to agree that’s just incomplete if all we taught was the positive side of someone.

    You have been misled if you were taught or believe you were born homosexual and our students shouldn’t be taught that either. There’s no empirical scientific proof. Even the non-religious American Psychiatric Association states as much on their website. It does say LGBT individuals think they’re born that way.

    While one may think or feel a certain way, it doesn’t make it so. You don’t have to act on your feelings. That’s what separates us humans from animals – that and having a soul. We have the ability to reason and our minds can over-rule our feelings and desires.

    Plus, let’s just look at simple physiology. The parts of a man and a woman fit together. As for sex, it’s partly for recreation as well as procreation. With two men or two women, you can only have one but not both. Without a male and female involved there can be no procreation, and therefor no propagation of our species.

    I therefor disagree I editorialized in my article in the Herald.

    While we will disagree on whether one is born homosexual or not, not allowing parents an opt out who disagree with having their children taught a subject that goes directly against their religious beliefs, and I’d venture to say that of most Americans, is wrong.

    This law is wrong. It goes too far and it needs to be repealed.

    Allen Payton

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