Letter writer way off the mark

Loudoun Times-Mirror
June 21, 2005
Diane Puckett, Fairfax

As a psychotherapist and a member of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) with numerous family members and friends who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, I am appalled that the Times-Mirror published the libelous remarks of Paul Goze (Letters, June 15).

Mr. Goze refers to using Internet searches to learn about gay people. I would suggest he return to the Internet and run a search using the term “women.”

I would hope he would not create a lewd perception of women in general based on what he sees online. If he truly wants to do online research to learn about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, he would be better served by going to such sites as http://www.pflag.org, the Web site for PFLAG, or http://www.hrc.org, for the Human Rights Campaign.

Comparing certain Pride events to the GLBT community is like comparing Mardi Gras to the general population.

Certainly there is a wide variety of people and activities at Pride. I was present at the Capital Pride 2005 Parade, marching with Metro DC PFLAG.

The vast majority of the several hundred thousand participants at this year’s Pride would have blended in at any suburban shopping mall, most of us wearing long pants, rather sedate T-shirts and sneakers.

Yes, there was some rather dramatic attire at Pride, some of it designed to accentuate sexuality. However, I saw nothing which I have not also seen, in public, being worn by heterosexuals.

The only sexually inappropriate thing I witnessed that day was a heterosexual couple who were making out on the subway. Being an adult, I chose to ignore their youthful enthusiasm and naivete about their behavior and focus on things which were more my business.

To imply that the GLBT community or Pride in any way supports or is even connected to NAMBLA is ludicrous. As an ally, family member and friend of the GLBT community, I am stunned and insulted at Mr. Goze’s libelous accusation.

Mr. Goze’s statement that “The reality is that homosexuality is only analogous to other sexual perversions like incest, bestiality and child molestation” is, contrary to Mr. Goze’s perception, not reality. There is no connection, at least for anyone who is in touch with reality.

As a therapist, I have heard thousands of stories of childhood sexual abuse. The vast majority of the perpetrators were heterosexual men. Of all those stories, I have heard only two in which the perpetrators were homosexual. Statistically, Mr. Goze is far more likely to be a sexual perpetrator than any of the hundreds of thousands of GLBT folks at Pride. I, however, would never accuse him of being so.

Marching with PFLAG in this year’s Pride was one of the most moving experiences of my life. The screams of support, mostly “thank you, PFLAG!” was at times deafening. There were many GLBT people who wept when PFLAG walked past, simply because they have for so long heard people talk to and about them as Mr. Goze does, and they are so relieved and grateful to see moms, dads, grandparents and others who love and support them. It is a privilege to be able to reach out and hug a young person whose own parents have abandoned him or her because of sexual orientation. I have seen PFLAG saves lives and families, and that is a wonderful thing.

I have met hundreds of people in the local GLBT community. They are young and old, from all races and socioeconomic groups. They are busy with work, school, church, parenting, caring for their own parents, community volunteer work and other normal activities, just like the rest of us. Mr. Goze and friends probably spend much more time thinking about homosexual sexual activity than homosexuals actually do, as the GLBT community is busy leading pretty mundane lives.

The reality is that, contrary to the paranoid perception of some, there is no homosexual agenda other than wanting to be allowed to live as kind, responsible people without being constantly harassed.

The real issue for Mr. Goze and his cohorts appears to be that the GLBT community is different than they. For that difference, I am grateful.

Were they like Mr. Goze and friends, I would be embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with them. Thankfully, most of the GLBT folks I know are terrific, and I am delighted to be a part of their lives.

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