Reader Forum

In a family way

Congratulations on your gay parenting issue [June 22]. It’s the best issue of The Advocate I’ve seen in years! My only complaint: I wanted more! Especially on the sperm-bank option, as this is the most popular way lesbians create families nowadays, myself included. As to whether having children makes you less of an activist: No way! Although I may not be out in the streets protesting AIDS funding or attending fund-raisers, having a child makes you care more, not less, about the world. I don’t tolerate homophobia from anyone who deals with me, my partner, or my daughter.

Rachel Pepper, via the Internet

Being the biological father of two–conceived in a straight marriage before I knew my true self–I can support the rights of gay biological parents. But to make all of this seem like the latest “thing” is not only ridiculous but potentially dangerous to the welfare of the children involved. What will happen to these children when their “parents” tire of this fad? There needs to be a great deal of soul-searching before a couple conceives or adopts a child. “Gay parenting” may go out of style, but the responsibility for a child goes on for years.

Bill Millar, Warminster, Pa.

When confronted by another child who tries to tell our daughter that she must have a father somewhere, our 4-year-old is confident in her response: “I don’t have a dad. You see, I have two moms who love me very much. How many moms do you have?” That’s what I call pride.

Joan Fecteau, Milwaukee, Wis.

There are more than 500,000 children available for adoption in the United States, many of them classified as “special needs” children. Often their “special need” is no more serious than being an older child (over 4 years old) or being a member of a minority. Others, like our son, have also been unjustly deemed “unadoptable.” Our son is sometimes difficult, with many physical and behavioral needs, but he in no way deserved the moniker unadoptable. In all honesty, I think this misplaced label might have been one of the reasons we were chosen by the state to parent him. You know, “We won’t be able to place him in a good home, so let’s let the dykes have him.” Whatever the original reasoning, he was placed with us three years ago and has flourished in our home.

Tammy Hanks, Placitas, N.M.

Ten years ago I was approved by the state of Pennsylvania to become an adoptive single parent. The state system knew I was gay; local and county did as well. They took my money and gave me high hopes, and then, after five years of waiting, I was finally told my “criteria” were too high (meaning I was limiting myself to children with slight handicaps instead of severe), when around me married heterosexual couples were provided with beautiful, healthy children. So be careful when trying to adopt as a gay parent. It ripped my heart out.

Keith Heddings, Montandon, Pa.

Marching orders

The squabble over the Millennium March on Washington [“Marching On,” June 22] seems to be a whiny spat by a handful of gay activists who are chapped about who is “leading” the organizing. Gays in America couldn’t care less about who is running the show. As a veteran of both the 1993 march on Washington and Stonewall 25, I know that hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, straight, and transgendered folk will come to Washington to continue the work done in every corner of this nation. The faces of the “leadership” won’t matter much when compared with the real face of gay America, beamed in every media form around the globe.

Michael Armentrout, Raleigh, N. C.

The Human Rights Campaign believes in Alfonse D’Amato; the Metropolitan Community Church believes in Jesus Christ. As someone who believes in neither, I can’t see where I fit in to their Millennium March. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer that the groups organizing my marches show enough courage to include the words gay and lesbian in their names.

John Davis, Williamsburg, Mass.

Ambush tactics

Thank you for explaining that the outcome of the Jenny Jones trial was a victory for the “homosexual panic” defense and a loss for justice and personal responsibility [Spotlight, June 22]. Let’s consider the case with different players: If Jonathan Schmitz’s secret admirer had been a black woman and he had killed her because he felt her confession was “humiliating,” he would have been labeled a racist murderer. But because his admirer was a man, the prosecution–in this case the gay man’s own family–actually encouraged the notion that revealing a same-sex crush is so “embarrassing,” so much of an “ambush,” and such an egregious example of “trash television” that murder almost seemed a likely outcome. That is called homophobic hysteria, not a victory for values.

Erik Piepenburg, Chicago, Ill.

Reading the riot act

I find it disturbing that America’s premiere gay newsmagazine could publish a list of “The 100 Best Gay Books” [June 22] and leave out Patricia Nell Warren’s groundbreaking novel The Front Runner, the first contemporary gay love story to ever make The New York Times best-seller list and the book that provided the name for hundreds of gay running clubs around the world. By calling the Publishing Triangle’s list “the most authoritative ranking yet of gay and lesbian fiction throughout history,” you do a disservice to our literary history and to your own reputation for careful journalism.

Michael Gorman, Sacramento, Calif.

I can’t believe they left off Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy. And where are Maupin, Monette, Stadler, and Olshan?

Burt Dwyre, Taos, N.M.

The pro-life closet

Norah Vincent’s Last Word column [June 22] was great. It reminded me of a dinner date I had several years ago with a vegetarian. When the discussion turned toward the abortion debate, he kicked my shin when I said I was not pro-choice. I am tired of my gay and liberal-minded straight friends pushing me into a pro-life closet,

P.J. Palmieri, via the Internet

Just wanted to shout out a big thank you to Vincent. I thought I was either going nuts or was one of the few who could see the absurdity of the situation. I do not even bring up the issue anymore with my friends. Again, thank you for showing me that I am not the only one around here who thinks people forget that liberal means tolerant and broad-minded.

Lisa Rivera, Yonkers, N. Y.

For the record

The poll cited in our June 22 Washington Report item titled “Vote Gay” was commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation rather than the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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