Debate surrounding gay lifestyles continues

Friday, April 14, 2006

I am a graduate-level social worker and believe that anyone having unprotected sex and living within the drug culture is engaging in risky behavior, heterosexual or homosexual, men or women.

I am writing in response to Sharron Barnum who wrote that homosexuality is a choice (‘‘Medical data shows that gay lifestyle is risky,” March 31 letter).

In reaction to Dr. Kenneth B. Morgen’s article (‘‘Children need loving parents — period,” March 24) she writes: ‘‘I believe the gay lifestyle is a choice, and I have had this confirmed more than once. A dear friend of mine rejected the gay lifestyle when he came to the realization that it would take his own life.”

I guess she is insinuating that since being gay is a choice that all heterosexuals have made a choice to be straight and that it is really as simple as choosing which shoes to wear each morning. Confronted with the ‘‘choice” of being gay or straight I can see why so many choose the ‘‘gay lifestyle.” Who wouldn’t enjoy being persecuted and judged with hatred? Why not choose a lifestyle with no legal rights and a constant fear of violence and hate crimes?

Chad Wheeler, Montgomery Village

In his letter (‘‘Accept each other,” April 7 Gazette of Business and Politics), Mike Bernard denigrates ex-gays while asking the public to accept people regardless of their sexual orientation. Perhaps he should heed his own advice and accept the ex-gay community.

Contrary to Mr. Bernard’s assertions that former homosexuals do not exist, the ex-gay community can attest to the fact that thousands of men and women with same-sex attractions have made the personal decision to leave homosexuality. Because people like Mr. Bernard refuse to respect that decision, ex-gays are subject to an increasingly hostile environment where we are reviled simply because we dare to exist.

Contempt of those who have resolved unwanted same-sex attractions perpetuates misunderstanding and harm against the ex-gay community. It also demonstrates a disregard for diversity and a refusal to respect a basic human right to dignity and self-determination. We now need to face the other side of sexual orientation — intolerance of ex-gays.

Regina Griggs, Fort Belvoir, Va.

The writer is executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

When I first read yet another diatribe on the evils of homosexuality by Ruth Jacobs, my first thought was, ‘‘Why does The Gazette continually publish Dr. Jacobs’ seemingly unending obsession with this topic” (‘‘Medical data shows that gay lifestyle is risky,” March 31 letter)?

My next thought was, ‘‘Why does Dr. Jacobs care so much about what two men may or may not do behind closed doors?”

When there is so much going on in the world that directly affects the lives of those who read this paper (lack of affordable health care, a war nobody supports anymore, pharmacists and doctors refusing to provide care in the name of morality, spying) do any of them, besides maybe Dr. Jacobs, wake up every day wondering, ‘‘What research findings can I manipulate today to continue my anti-gay rhetoric?” Research shows it is highly unlikely.

This is not news. Polls show the majority of Americans don’t care about this.

Mark Hodge, R.N., Kensington

The Centers for Disease Control is a federal, scientific institution designed to protect the health and welfare of all U.S. citizens. The CDC finds the gay lifestyle contains factors such as depression, illegal drug use and partner violence contributing to high ‘‘gay” STDS⁄HIV risks.

Dana Beyer, a retired physician, tries to dispense with these facts by labeling CDC information as pseudoscience (‘‘Encourage monogamous lifestyle for all,” April 7 letter). Instead of the CDC, Dr. Beyer relies on an HIV positive, gay writer Andrew Sullivan.

Anal sex is mostly associated with the gay lifestyle. HIV transmission is 7 percent per year with vaginal sex and about 80 percent per year with anal sex. Anal sex has risks that extend beyond STDS⁄HIV. However, if all waited until they met their lifetime partner and were then monogamous with that partner, STDs and sexually transmitted HIV would disappear.

While I disagree that the promiscuity and lifestyle choices of homosexuals are the same as heterosexuals, I agree with Dr. Beyer that we should encourage a ‘‘monogamous lifestyle for all.”

Ruth M. Jacobs, M.D., Rockville

The writer is an infectious disease specialist.

The Gazette printed two letters stating the time-worn cliché that being gay is a choice. Looking at it objectively, who would choose to be gay, given the enormous religious⁄cultural intolerance that it brings, often including being thrown out of one’s family?

The American Medical, Psychiatric, Psychological and Psychoanalytical Associations all say that being gay is a built-in orientation. For most gays, to change is as unlikely as for the straight majority to choose to be gay.

As for the AIDS crisis, in some socioeconomic groups and poor countries the incidence of AIDS in straight populations is about 25 percent to 40 percent. The best AIDS preventative for our gay population would be legal marriage. They become, just like us, legally tied to their spouse, probably appreciating marriage more then we do, and if facing a most painful situation to divorce, learn to accommodate each other.

Stephen Kay, Severna Park

Dr. Ruth Jacobs, an infectious disease specialist, left out important information concerning HIV⁄AIDS and the ‘‘lifestyles” of gay men.

According to the 2000 Fact Sheet, ‘‘HIV⁄AIDS Statistics,” by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ‘‘Worldwide, more than 80 percent of all adult HIV infections have resulted from heterosexual intercourse.” Homosexual sexual activity does not total the other 20 percent of the infections since drug use and mother-to-child transmissions are a source of infection as well.

International facts about HIV⁄AIDS are left out by homophobic people since they reveal that unsafe heterosexual activity results in the most infections. America and some Asian and Latin American countries are unique in that unsafe homosexual sexual activity led to more infections.

According to NIAID’s 2000 Fact Sheet on ‘‘HIV⁄AIDS in the United States,” 60 percent of men were infected through homosexual sex. Also, with new infections, African Americans and women have been disproportionately infected. The real culprit, then, for both heterosexuals and homosexuals is a lack of outreach by the government and local communities to inform and empower their countrymen in addressing the disease.

Rachel Zipper, Towson