Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Letter to the Editor: Greensboro native defends gay-straight alliances

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Gay-straight alliances are pro-life and anti-hate The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA Date published: 12/12/2005 Rob Tanner's letter ["Gay kids have a right to support," Nov. 15] responded to Warren Throckmorton's op-ed opposing gay-straight alliances in schools ["Emphasis on gay acceptance can pressure confused teenagers," Oct. 23]. Then, in a Nov. 25 letter ["Activist Rob Tanner should get his facts straight"], Mr. Throckmorton says that The Free Lance-Star should have noted that Mr. Tanner is a past president of Fredericksburg Pride and, as such, was a biased activist with a gay agenda. That being the case, The Free Lance-Star should have revealed Mr. Throckmorton's allegiance with anti-gay groups and his own agenda. Mr. Throckmorton takes issue with Mr. Tanner's statement that teaching tolerance of gay people is not allowed in Virginia schools. Whether or not teaching tolerance is allowed, very few Virginia schools include sexual orientation or gender identity in diversity or anti-bullying programs because of the vociferous objections of those determined to prevent acceptance of gays. Gay-straight alliances are the only support that most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students have and the only group working to make schools safer for them. Mr. Throckmorton says Mr. Tanner's estimate of gay teen suicides is too high. How many gay teen suicides does Throckmorton consider acceptable? Given the stigma of homosexuality and the accompanying abuse, common sense should tell one that the suicide rate is going to be high. Most studies conclude that gay teens are two to four times more susceptible to suicide than their straight counterparts. If gay-straight alliances prevent just one suicide and help stop the abuse, they are worthwhile in my book. Cris F. Elkins Greensboro, N.C. Original source