After reading the letter from Mr. Florian from last weekâ€™s Elburn Herald (Nov. 19), I felt the need to respond.
Mr. Florian is indeed entitled to his own opinionâ€”but let us make sure we donâ€™t confuse the opinions in his letter with fact. First, Mr. Florian clearly states that homosexuality is a â€œpersonal choice.â€ Unless there is some earth-shattering news that I am not yet aware of, there has not been a definitive answer reached in the debate of genetics versus environment in the role of homosexuality. There have been several studies done with various outcomes, but againâ€”nothing definitive.
Mr. Florian also mentions those that are able to â€œrevert from homosexuality through religious conversion.â€ It is interesting to me that in August of this year, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution that mental health professionals should avoid telling patients that their sexual orientation can be altered through therapy or other types of treatment.
Next, let us tackle the topic of the use of the word â€œgayâ€ that has been â€œhijacked,â€ as Mr. Florian put it, by the homosexual community. As early as 1890, the word gay was equated with promiscuityâ€”a â€œgay houseâ€ was another name for a brothel. Also, in the 1938 movie â€œBringing Up Baby,â€ Cary Grant (while dressed in a feathery robe) speaks the line, â€œBecause I just went gay … all of a sudden.â€ I would say there has been more of a pop-culture shift in the use of the word rather than a â€œhijackingâ€ by any specific group.
Although it is true that young homosexual males are up to 13 times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, it has also been found that those young homosexual or bisexual males are disproportionally subject to anti-gay attitudes. This, in conjunction with the self-esteem issues suffered by many teens, would certainly help explain this trend. The highest suicide rates in the United States are actually attributed to adults over the age of 65.
Mr. Florian was correct in stating that blood banks do refuse donations from males who have had even one homosexual encounter since 1977. However, they also refuse donations from any individual that has taken a form of payment for sex since 1977, has used needles to take drugs not prescribed by a doctor, was born in or has lived in any number of Central African countries since 1977, has had sex with anyone in any of these groups since 1977. Guess whatâ€”these are all risk factors for HIV. Yes, the homosexual community is one of several groups that have higher risk of HIV.
I just want to close out this letter by stating that I am not trying to start a debate with Mr. Florian or anyone else that wishes to express their beliefs on the subject of homosexuality. I can respect the fact that we are all entitled to a point of viewâ€”that is one of the things that makes our country great. However, letâ€™s make sure that we donâ€™t confuse belief and opinion with fact.
Andrea S. Williams