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March 24, 2004

By Staff
Gay man speaks out
To the editor:
As a gay man, I was offended by Roy P. Gibbens' homophobic remarks in his letter ("Wake Up, America, The Meridian Star, March 14, 2004.) And yet, I recognized it as the same old ignorant, conservative, outmoded anti-gay bluster that's been said countless times.
He says, "You can take a word like gay' and try to make it respectful for queer.'" Sorry, Mr. Gibbens, but we gay folk have long proudly used both terms to describe ourselves, so we have reclaimed their power for our own.
He says, "We go to church for redemption of our sins," but, as a Christian believer, I was always taught that we go to Christ for redemption of our sins. He also references gays' "sin," but nowhere in the Bible is the word or concept of homosexuality directly stated, and Christ never even spoke on the subject.
Homosexuality was such a normal aspect of Roman and Greek societies times during which he lived that if it was really sinful, wouldn't Jesus have spoken about it and wouldn't his words be in the Bible?
Murder is also considered a sin, but you don't hear as many people decrying the murder of gays. In fact, so-called men of God like the Rev. Fred Phelps and his followers picketed the court trials of Matthew Shepard's murderers supporting the killers and even Matthew's funeral outside the church while the slain young man's parents and friends entered, all the while hysterically screaming that "God hates fags" and Matthew was in hell.
Phelps has even wanted to erect a monument in a park in Matthew's Wyoming hometown giving the date his death date that he entered hell.
Ignorance begets fear, fear begets aggression, aggression begets hate and hate begets violence. But tolerance begets understanding, understanding begets love and love begets peace. You tell me which outcome is better for the world.
We gays have had to live our entire lives trying to feel we are accepted, loved and worthy members of society. We've had to suffer discrimination of all kinds, violence, murder, suicide, fear, depression and the list goes on and on.
But while we've made much-deserved progress toward equality in recent years, we still struggle. Many are also disowned by their families and friends, although I'm truly blessed that my own family, including my parents, have not loved me one iota less since I came out to them. In fact, I believe they love me even more, and they've told me that they noticed a miraculous lightening of my heart and spirit after the years-old burden of my secret was lifted from my shoulders. For that, I am eternally grateful to them more than they will ever know.
I could go on forever trying to educate you, Mr. Gibbens, and others who share your mindset, but I perceive there'd be little use in that. From reading your letter, I imagine you're probably staunchly conservative and set in your ways.
So, as an expatriate Meridian native who will always have a special place in my heart for my hometown and knows how things are there, your judgmental and anti-gay comments didn't exactly surprise me. But that doesn't mean they didn't hurt.
Van Gower