Letters, week of April 2

Gay rights have come a long way

Sir: Recently there has been a spate of letters to the editor about homosexuality. It sounds like there are a lot of misconceptions regarding sexual orientation.

As the chair of the Blue Water Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) of Sarnia & Port Huron, I want to say something about it.

I joined this organization 19 years ago. We as parents of gay children came seeking help in understanding homosexuality, acquiring knowledge, then sharing it with others.

We told our personal stories about our children, supported others in their ‘coming out’ experiences. We continued in advocating for all the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning) community.

Over the years Gay Rights have come a long way. Even non-discrimination laws and same-sex marriage.

Science is researching the reasons why some people are born with different sexual orientations. All of it is very exciting! As an American living in Canada, I have to admit that Canada is in the forefront, leading the way. But, the U.S. is slowly catching up.

We understand that the cause of these misconceptions is based on family tradition and religious tradition. A person’s beliefs do determine his behavior.

Being kind and respectful to these individuals is the best way to be supportive to the gay community. Also, by educating ourselves and our children that all diversity in humanity is normal.

Betty Learn

Blue Water PFLAG of Sarnia & Port Huron

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When did letter writer choose his sexuality?

Sir: Re: Your editorial entitled ‘About those offensive letters.’

A series of letters to The Journal set off a firestorm of sorts beginning with Keith Patrick’s ‘Homosexuality is a choice.’

The Journal’s editor (on March 26) defended printing what some readers deemed to be an offensive viewpoint – although the editor was surely aware of the controversy printing such an opinion piece would gather as thinking people reacted to it.

That said, it really is about time this silly notion of overriding science with Biblical rhetoric is filed away once and for all. Archaic biblical interpretation recalls that its writers also thought stars were floating lanterns in the sky and the earth was flat and rested on floating pillars in the sky. Science doesn’t change in order to support ancient anecdotal religious rhetoric.

If ‘homosexuality is a choice,’ Mr. Patrick must have chosen at some age. Apparently he, or all of us, could have gone the other way. When did he make that ‘choice?’ When did anybody?

Scientists know the developing brain influences sexual preference before birth through exposure to sex hormones in the womb. By manipulating hormone levels at this time scientists can actually make rats prefer to engage in homosexual behavior later on.

Mr. Patrick’s initial letter used a false premise of ‘choice’ to push a false conclusion that ‘such a choice’ should not be promoted in classrooms.

Yet that curriculum is not about promoting or ‘choosing’ homosexuality, or even about ‘sex,’ it is about teaching students basic fundamentals of human development. Educating students about the existence of homosexuality isn’t any different from math or literature. Math exists. Literature exists. Homosexuality exists.

Some people are, invariably, homosexuals.  The idea that some individuals would hide this fact from children or tell children that real, breathing people are ‘not normal’ and unnatural perversions of nature speaks to abject intolerance, no matter your ‘opinion’ on the subject.

Stanton Earle

Sarnia  

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Freedom of expression is fundamental

Sir: In recent comments here on human sexuality and gender-identity, there is a much more subtle but alarming issue than any difference of particular opinions expressed.

A few weeks ago Keith Patrick stated that he recognized the right of Tara Jeffrey to hold and express her own opinion, but then qualified that by saying she should not advocate it as “normal.” Was that not part of her opinion though? Similarly, last week the privileged and educated Jack Mallon enlightened us that “Anyone is entitled to an opinion, so long as it is backed up by peer reviewed, respected scholarship.”

Was this ignorance or arrogance masquerading as opinion? Both?

Both authors seek to impose conditions on the expression of the opinions of others (but not upon their own). In so doing they deny the concept of freedom so fundamental to this country and spelled out in law.

I suggest a few moments with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly Section 2. Understand that brow-beating others while contradicting the Charter and imposing your own qualifications on the expression of others, neither makes your argument compelling, nor does it advance worthwhile discussion on the social issue at hand.

Michael Ambrose 

Sarnia

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Troubled by would-be journalist’s attitude

Sir: It is with a great deal of interest and at times amusement that I read the recent letters to the editor regarding such diverse topics as homosexuality and the origins of the universe.

All parties expressed their viewpoints in a passionate, respectful manner and their opinions on these subjects are worthy of our respect, no matter what the personal viewpoint of the reader may be.

What troubles me is the fact that one person who claims to be knowledgeable in journalistic practices objects to the publication of letters that he\she disagrees with, and demands an apology to those whom she/he feels may be offended.

If this is the attitude we can expect from our future journalists, I am truly frightened.

Rich Kneller

Sarnia

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Sifton spin-doctoring doesn’t cut it

Sir: I am writing in response to Sifton’s blatantly generic letter from their P.R. man in defense of the proposed development at Michigan and Modeland.

If Sifton was “different’ they wouldn’t be turning arable land into concrete. We have been doing that for a century or two already.

Instead, they would direct their spin doctor to promote [with gushing superlatives] the festering and vacated properties surrounding the Lambton Mall.

Our empty liquor store properties on Exmouth Street almost adjacent to the trail and an existing seniors home, is one example of land aching to be used for the same use that Sifton is proposing.

Land at the former Liquidation World and the former cinema are just two more in the same state. They are all as close to the trail as the proposed development.

Commerce is also existing and beckoning for more use. The icing on the cake in the promotion was the flavor-of-the-month phrase, ‘healthier and more active lifestyle.’

I do understand jobs and profit. I am, however, insulted by the flimflam used to promote corporate greed under the guise of local need.

We don’t all have our heads stuck in the sand. Probably because there isn’t much good sand and dirt to find anymore.

 Rob Woodward

(P.R. for common sense)

Sarnia

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Ice stunt thoughtless and costly

Sir: Years ago I learned to fly at the London Flying Club. I remember specifically the instructor, Freddy T, telling us in ground school that if you forget to close your flight plan after a cross-country flight, and the search and rescue is brought in, you want to hope that you are in trouble as you’ll be liable for a big bill.

The recent ‘winter float down’ was not the action of a 16-year-old boy. It was a 30-year-old man.

1 – If he is used to training sessions, he should know to make the authorities aware of his actions and location.

2 – Why would anyone be doing this alone, without a spotter?

3 – Why would you post a video on Facebook showing how fun it is … like riding the current in the summertime, and giving kids the idea to try it without realizing the dangers.

4 – And the time, wasted expense, and personnel tied up, not to mention the stress and anxiety of finding and recovering a dead body.

Personally, I feel a hearty fine is warranted, showing this is not allowed due to the extreme danger, and discouraging kids from trying it.

Enough heartbreak happens without looking for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fun. But let’s keep it safe.

Marie Cebulski

Sarnia