rn: confronting the homosexuality issue


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

Long time members of this list will probably recognize Randy Schutt, who
sent us the letter-to-the-editor below, as someone who is working with
dedication and intelligence on the revolution for what some of us are
calling a "democratic renaissance".

I am sharing this letter with this list because, like the gun issue, the
issue of homosexuality could be one that will divide "left" from "right" and
draw off energies that would best be spent confronting corporate
globalization and militarism.

Also just simply because it is such a good letter. I think for most of us,
underlying our activism is a deep desire to help that which is most noble in
humanity manifest itself. It manifests itself in the nonviolent struggle
against corporate globalization and for a democratic renaissance... and also
in the struggle within each of us to be moral and loving human beings.

all the best, Jan
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 22:47:24 -0700
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: from VT

Here is a really good letter passed on by a friend that I thought you 
would appreciate. --Randy

This editorial is from Sunday's Concord Monitor.

Sunday, April 30, 2000
For the Valley News (White River Junction, VT/Hanover, NH)

As the mother of a gay son, I've seen firsthand how cruel and misguided
people can be.

Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual
menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from
you good people.

I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your
allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex
with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the
joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs
from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade.
He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high
school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but
he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other
boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be
doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be
sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the
heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue
living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a
life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from
the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive
children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God
didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to
abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you
started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could
never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that
people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen
to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether
it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal
development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty
that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something
more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it
was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your
story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no
effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that
nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation
to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be
changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own
sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you
could  change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest
that  someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by
outsiders.  Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I
am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are
speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the
battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their
lives so that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the principles
they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most
horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He
says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their
part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay,
and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered
not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from
the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong
companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities
that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to
make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very
existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human
beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes
repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has
committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who
lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have
been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever
happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?

Sharon Underwood lives in White River Junction, Vt.