1988: Focus on Homosexuality

Letters to the Editor 10/28/1988

On October 21, 1988 The Observer published a multi-page "Focus" section on homosexuality.

Letter to the Editor: Law student discusses gay issue

Published October 28, 1988

I would like to alter somewhat, or at least qualify, the few words quoted by me in last weeks article on Homophobia. Since publication of that article, many gay and lesbian law students have approached me to discuss their differing opinions to my perception. I would like to make it clear that I am in my first year at CWRU, and at this point have not personally witnessed many overt homophobic acts. The other students who contacted me, however, have made it clear that the longer I am around the University, the more aware of these acts I will become.

Addressing the two unsympathetic letters last week, I feel that they raise some interesting, albeit contradictory points. One student discussed the previous holding of the American Psychiatric Association that homosexuality was a mental illness. It was removed because the Psychiatric Association realized it could no longer label something that is natural for millions of people a "disorder" simply because it was morally repugnant.

This same student goes on to analogize homosexuality to a physical disease such as pneumonia. To this nonsensical and disconnected analogy I can only add that it was once believed that a Negro was somehow sub-human. If you are not Black, do you also subscribe to this point of view? It is keeping with your theoretical "arguments." You may also not be gay (again, I am only assuming), and if you indeed are not gay, I don't believe that you are qualified to describe our supposed "malady."

My fraternity at school knew I was gay when I was asked to pledge, and they also knew I was a good candidate. They allowed themselves to become educated, and they now have at least one friend who they know is gay. When Wesleyan University adopted a non-discrimination clause including sexual-orientation some years ago, many of the fraternities, both single and co-ed, rallied support, particularly those with openly gay members. They realized the "rightness" of freedom, and the importance of protecting the right to varying lifestyles, either chosen, or not.

There are gay and lesbian law students who can make much more eloquent arguments than I. I can simply say that I've always been gay, I enjoy being gay, and my family and friends care for me, all knowing that I'm gay. Try to learn about what it means to grow up homosexual, in a society based primarily on a heterosexual patriarchy. And don't burn your bridges now while you are so young; the fact is that if you're accused of a crime I'll still defend you, if you're ill a gay doctor will still cure you, and if you're troubled a gay priest will still ease your conscience.


D.J. Hallett, Law Student

Letter to the Editor: Gay attack misleads

Published October 28, 1988

Last issue Robert Georgi made some misleading statements in his attack on homosexuality. After he finished fashioning himself as some sort of righteous radical of wisdom in a tedious introduction, Georgi writes that, "Gay rights groups strong-armed the American Psychiatric Association into removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders." Such a statement conjures up an image of a huge gay man twisting the arm of these pliable psychiatrists until they cry, against their will, "Uncle! Uncle! We'll remove homosexuality from our list! Now please quit bullying us!"

The fallacy of Georgi's point lies in his own letter. He writes, "This is comparable to schizophrenics petitioning to have schizophrenia removed as a medical disorder." Now there's a likely parallel. Would Mr. Georgi have us believe that schizophrenics could conceivably strong-arm the APA into removing their illness from a list of mental disorders? Of course not, and I would venture to say that even Mr. Georgi might agree that such a scenario is ludicrous.

Herein lies Georgi's error. The APA wasn't strong-armed into doing anything. They may have been prodded, and they may have been lobbied, but they ultimately made a decision based on their own professional integrity. Which is to say they realized homosexuality is not a mental disorder, but a legitimate alternative lifestyle. What's more, the APA made this realization a decade ago. It is unfortunate that Mr. Georgi and people like him have yet to come as far.

Sincerely, Will Allison Undergraduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Homosexuality attacks God's design

Published October 28, 1988

I am writing in response to the October 21 issue of The Observer which contained a special insert on issue of homosexual behavior. It ms that the modem medical community wants to be the sole moral authority concerning whether or not homosexuality is accepted as a vile public lifestyle. I disagree wholeheartedly with the belief that psychologists and psychiatrists able to be the "experts" in this regard. Homophobia is a terrible characterization of a common sense reaction.

As a born-again Christian who accepts the authority of the Scriptures, we do not find in the Bible the idea that homosexuality is a result of nature. People are not born gay. The Bible throughout witnesses to the fact that homosexuality is a symptom of idolatry. In "Romans I," the Apostle Paul says that because we worship things other than God as the ultimate source of meaning, God gives us over to a "reprobate mind" (vs. 28) to do things which are not suitable. -The last curse that God allows is the depravity of same sex behavior; lesbianism and homosexuality both bear equal condemnation.

This is also in harmony with the Old Testament which requires capital punishment for both. Not to exonerate perverse heterosexuality either, the Bible enjoins the death penalty for adultery too in many instances.

God's approved cultural vehicle for sex is the family. Homosexuality is a violent attack on God's law and order and His creation-design. The anti-religious psychiatric community desires to become the arbiters in this dispute, but since they are devoted evolutionists, our religious appeal appears to them as madness. As followers of Feuerbach, they have forsaken the Biblical ethos. The Plain Dealer not too long ago published an article in their Sunday Magazine on Gaetan Dugan, who many believe was one of the first homosexual carriers of AIDS to the United States. He was a gorgeous flight steward who in the advance stages of his disease callously perused bath-houses and committed many acts of murder to other gays, the article implied he could have had as many as 1500 contacts.

I note also that in the early church there existed "saved" repentant homosexuals. The First Letter to the Corinthians, in chapter 6, verses 9-11, suggests that men were recovered out of this lifestyle. And in the born-again movement today you find many people who have been changed as a result of the New Birth.

I find the discussion in The Observer to be narrowly rationalistic as if the issue here was assumed to reach a certain goal by virtue of a vague liberal sentimental mush that informs most of the intellectuals around here. Anybody with an eye to history, as well as science, knows: that western law has been on a slippery slope from the time of the Reformation. The last great Christian legal culture was Calvin's Geneva and believe it or not our forefathers, the Puritans, had a healthy proper respect for Old Testament Law.

Rationalist culture has no other source of authority than human reason. In this light, the authority then becomes a pragmatistic use of science as the source of legal endeavor. Legislators ask whether the allowance or homosexuality will harm of help the social order, rather than ask what would God have us do. Modem man's moral ultimately pursues a slippery slope mentality. All moral restraints are to be thrown, off. Lesbians are to receive the right, to adopt children. Girls in early puberty are allowed to procure abortions without even informing their; parents. The State is conducting a methodical war against the family. We witness this war against the family also in the new Benelect plan which has hurt the married couple with one spouse working hardest of all, and given money freely to those who may or may not have needed any insurance from Case Western Reserve at all.

One thing is certain, we who are Christians have been fence-sitting long enough. Don't expect us to put our heads in the sand any longer.


Tim Calhoun, Undergraduate Philosophy Major

Letter to the Editor: Homosexuality not a disorder

Published October 28, 1988

Once again, the issue of homosexuality and homophobia rears its ugly head. And, once again, speaking in The Observer for "the majority" (as Robert Georgi implies), are lane Davy and Robert Georgi.

Mr. Georgi, you claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder. However, you present no evidence support this claim. There is no reason to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder simply because it differs from the norm. To say that homosexuals are "sick" is, basically, to say that your point of view is right (why does it seem that you'd agree with this?) and anyone differing with you is wrong. To imply that you speak for the majority is a ludicrous claim--if you spoke for the majority, then there wouldn't be so many people refusing to read your letters.

Mr. Davy, perhaps you believe the proposed addition to the anti-discrimination clause is unnecessary, but then again you've probably never gotten complaints from people on that very subject. After our exchange of letters in The Observer last year, I received various phone calls from people who were complaining about having been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. At least one of those cases was an obvious one. As long as people continue to believe that homosexuality is some sort of "inherently unnatural practice (or just plain wrong)," there will be discrimination. If we're going to have an anti-discrimination policy, then it ought to be complete.


Seth I. Rich, Undergraduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Graffiti photo disturbs student

Published October 28, 1988

Your October 21 "Focus on Homophobia" included a photo of "anti-gay grafitti [sic] found in a campus restroom." I found the photo itself disturbing, but not nearly as disturbing as the fact that most of the pictured graffiti was written by you, the Editor of this newspaper.

Only one of the five items in the photo was originally on the wall of the men's restroom which happens to be directly outside The Observer office. (Not by coincidence, this item is also the only illegible portion of the photo.) The other four items are graffiti written elsewhere which you copied onto one wall for the sake of a "good" photo. Observer staff sources confirm this story.

You re-fabricated the graffiti in a way which made it seem more "sensational", then presented it as if it were the genuine item. You exploited the facts, and in the process diminished any newsworthy value they may have once held. When such unethical practices of the Editor-in-Chief are known, the integrity of the entire paper is questionable.

Are your readers to assume that last week's front page photo of a twisted bicycle at the side of a street is the actual scene of the accident, or just another of the editor's "recreations" of the scene? Perhaps it's merely another one of her mangled prop bicycles covered with ketchup and cherry Jell-o for effect.

The analogy might seem extreme, but I hope it illustrates the difference between reporting the news and creating it (or recreating it, as the case may be).

I am disappointed that The Observer has sunk to such a low level of standards by resorting to such underhanded tactics. I am more disappointed that it is due to the actions of the Editor herself. I hope this trend does not continue.


Sue Fangboner

Editor's Note: The photo of "antigay graffiti in last weeks focus section was intended to serve as an illustration to the focus section. The photo was recreated for effect; however, all of the phrases were genuine and were found in the same area on one of the bathroom stalls. The photo caption should have mentioned that the photo was recreated.