home
billy jack
homophobia
a gay gene?
the bible
cultural context
discussion
discussionassault on gay america

join the discussion: What are your views on anti-gay attitudes, fears and hatreds in America?

Dear FRONTLINE,

The very thought that homosexuality is some sort of choice, is beyond ridiculous. If the thought of having sex with the same sex makes you feel like you're going to vomit now, are you telling me that you can suddenly decide that you can 'change your mind' and start wanting to engage in desiring those body parts?

When you think of all the people who end up committing suicide when they discover that they're gay, the idea of it being a choice becomes laughable. Shame on those religious leaders who choose to condemn their fellow human beings...for they will ultimately have to answer to the creator of us all.


Los Angeles, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Do people have any common sense, all gay people have straight parents, at least 90% per cent, Hello!

My mother had a daycare, and she told me she could tell if children were going to be gay by age 3 thats when they have their complete little personality.

So you are born gay, no one in their right mind would want to be gay, or a minority, just like you cannot help the color that you are, why are people so worried about what others do in their private life.

I dont care about anybody's private life, and stay out of mine as well, gay or straight that is your life! and mine is mine! Get it!?

K Smith

Dear FRONTLINE,

If the purpose of "Assault on Gay America" was to expose the shoddy bases of bigotry, it was a failure.

The attention you gave to the fundamentalist religious perspective was an insult to other religious people and bestowed upon it a dignity it does not deserve. Why the emphasis in the last section on biblical quotes proscribing homosexuality? You treated these texts as something that either required a new scholarly translation or that individual Christians would have to struggle with.

Do Christians take seriously some of Paul's other comments in Romans: "Slaves, obey your masters, for in so doing, you obey God" or "Women, be in subjection to your husbands"? Do Jews or Christians take seriously other commandments in Leviticus, such as a "stubborn and rebellious son" should be stoned to death, or people who pick up sticks on the Sabbath should be executed? Do we really have to struggle deciding whether to accept the biblical accounts of a six-day creation or references to God commanding the sun to "stand still" even Galileo has received apologies from the Church?

There is a strange tone at the end of the documentary, almost as though Billy's life is on trial. You linger on the question, "Did he make a proposition?", as if the answer has any bearing on the case. We are told that Billy was never assertive about his sexuality and even tried to hide it from his parents--as if these are prerequisities for "good" gays in our society who want to avoid assault.

The narrator at the end seems to be focusing on "Will he be in heaven?" Both the family and murderer give answers. The family--partly in response to narrative questions--seems to be trying to defend Billy, just as gays are often asked to explain themselves. Our final impression is one of a victim trying to be defended, rather than a summary of the deranged elements in our society.

I don't know why it is that so many TV discussions of homosexuality feel obliged to give a serious platform to fundamentalist religion. Is it because of the need for "balance"? In the interests of "balance," would a discussion of race relations dignify a spokesperson from the Ku Klux Klan or seriously discuss Philip Shockley's "research" that blacks are genetically inferior? You gave dignity to the extremes in our society that are the roots of assault on gays; and in so doing, this documentary itself was in its own way an assault on gay America.

Lowell Verheul

Dear FRONTLINE,


Your superb presentation likely didn't change the minds of any hardcore anti-gay people, but it certainly served to foster greater understanding for those with their minds still open. Like segregation and other major social issues perpetuated by ignorance, we make the most progress simply by the passage of generations.

Hatred and bigotry are really less erased by education and convincing than by their going to the grave with the haters and the woefully ignorant. Just as someone has said, "civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind," we truly find succeeding generations more receptive and understanding, while every day, so many bitter and misinformed people die, silencing their venomous voices. Thankfully, for example, the great segregationists are largely dead.
Human sexuality in all its forms will come to be accepted, in time, as self-evident. Moralizers are gasping and grasping.
Thank you, PBS.

Lawn Griffiths
Tempe, AZ

Dear FRONTLINE,

The questionnaire is ridiculous. Homophobia means "fear of homosexuals". I don't fear them, I think their behavior is immoral and reprehensible and, of course, I would never allow a gay man to come near my children. Read the headlines, it is homosexual priests who are molesting young boys, along with homosexual coaches, teachers, and boy scout leaders. The ugly child porn sites on the net are populated by homosexuals and pedophiles preying on young kids. Next will you check to see if we are NAMBLAphobic?

This is another example of political correctness carried to its most absurd heights. Homosexuality is an unnatural act and if two men wish to engage in this behavior then, please let them shut up about it. We don't need any Frontline discussions on this subject, nor do we need any pseudo-psychological, oh-so-sensitive explanations of repugnant sexual practices.

Quintas One

Dear FRONTLINE,

The show was interesting but seemed a bit heavily weighted toward the "traditional" and "negative" views; even though efforts were made to show "the other side," the repetition of the Christian right and other conservative viewpoints emphasized this belief system, which was never thoroughly answered. If you are going to talk about religion, you need to spend a much greated time with more liberal religious views, and go into them with at least as much depth as those on the right. Also, Judaism was virtually omitted from this discussion, and the more liberal movements within Judaism have a GREAT DEAL to say on the matter. PLEASE do all of us, gay and straight, a favor by presenting these more evolved positions.

Judith Tax
ny, ny

Dear FRONTLINE,

I personally would like to know how those who say that they're anti-gay and/or commit anti-gay crimes because it's the "christian" thing to do, can actually consider themselves "christians."

I will agree that for those who believe in christianity and what the bible says, the book does say that homosexuality is "wrong." However, it also says in that book that judging other people is "wrong" as is killing. How then is it okay to kill someone for being homosexual? How then is it okay to judge someone and condemn them to hell for being homosexual? How about we all just let God do his job of judging and condemning. Only God knows what to do with us, and it isn't man's decision. According to christian belief, he did create the heavens and the earth... He seems perfectly capable of doing his job By Himself.

I would also like to remind all of you alleged christians out there who view homosexuality as a "sin" and think that homosexuals should be comdemned to hell, that outside of judging others, every time you smoke your cigarettes, drink alcohol even on occasion, eat non-organic foods and for every tattoo and/or piercing you have and yes ladies, that includes the cross shaped earrings you wearit is harmful to your body. And your body, as "god" said it, is a temple that is not to be desecrated. Think about that a minute the next time you want to point out how much of a sinner someone is, and also keep in mind that you're human as well and therefore not above sinning.

Leather .
Indianapolis, Indiana

Dear FRONTLINE,

One of my favorite past-times is to pick apart Leviticus. From the treating of those aflicted with leprosy Leviticus 13/1 to 14/57 to the proper way to make a sacrifice too many to pick outand the undesirability of a woman during her menses Leviticus 18/19 & 20/18. Those who Beleive that the Bible is the true and literal word of god would also have to beleive that they should not pass judgment, love everyone and not eat shrimp.
I really do not wish to throw doubts on anyones beleifs, I just really wish that they would show the same respect.
I do not see many religeous orginizations promoting violence against adulterers Leviticus 20/10, or doing body searches on preists for pimples Leviticus 21/17.

Anyone using the bible to justify violence against anyone due to one or two passages should really read the passages in between, they might be violating a few themselves.
"Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged!"

Joseph Petri
Detroit, MI

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline, I watched this program and thought afterwards, that it was pretty well put together, but an hour never seems long enough to adequately cover a complex subject.

Educating the population, advocating for,and supporting the GBLT community is THE task at hand. Folks need to realize that there are a lot of us out there that just live life just like the "regular" folks. It's not a lifestyle, it's a life.

My partner of 10 years belong to PFLAG Central Oregon, and Charter Members of All Peoples United Church of Christ, and life in Central Oregon is much better than 20 years ago.

The one burning desire that I have for our community is to start using the term "same gender pairriage" and be afforded the same legal benefits as the straight folks,have as a benefit of their "marriage". Therefore they will not feel threatened. Maybe , sometime, you can do a segment on those of us in long term relationships and show the world that we are all just human beings, and not point fingers at each other.

Mike Lovely
Bend , Oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

From 1957 to 1960, the University of Minnesota Psychology department conducted extensive research into gay bashing. I was priviliged to witness the results. The results of this study were that homophobes were reacting to a personal latent unresolved sexual identity crisis.

Bottom line: I am not interested in anyone's sexual activies unless I want to be a part of it. So if a person is overly interested in someone sex life it is because way way way down deep they want to be a part of it. If not, who cares what someone else does in their bedroom??

annette la bonte
waikoloa, hi

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline: Thanks for the presentation. Surely, it is terrible that men are being killed because they are gay. The program helped me to reafirm my own gay life and to that extent will help me go forward on my path in this country.

It is really sad to live in America and be hated after serving in the country's military, paying taxes, and contributing to the nation's well being on various levels.

Tony Louveau
anchorage, ak

Dear FRONTLINE,


I have a gay male friend and although I am a straight woman, I am not narrow. I almost allowed society to stand between my friendship with my gay friend, then I took a stand and held to my belief that his sexual preference had absolutely no bearing on our friendship. Over and over he has told me his sexuality is not a 'choice.'

Why does a macho man freak out when a gay man hits on him? Nothing constitues him beating a gay to death. Why not say, "dude I am straight and I expect you to respect my sexuality."

How macho do you feel when you beat the crap out of him, how macho do you feel when you humiliate him? Do you have children? Do you have brothers and sisters? Someday this could be your own blood...
To the family of Billy Jack, May God Bless each and every one of you and yes, you will meet with Billy Jack someday as I will never ever believe God would send his own creation to hell...
Billy Jack did not rape an innocent child and neither did Billy Jack drown his child. Billy Jack Gaither lived with his elderly parents and sang in his choir... He tried to 'fit in' but society denied him his life...

Debbie Henderson

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am usually informed and impressed by Frontline. The latest report on Gay Bashings was no exception. Thanks for your continuing excellent progressive reporting.

ellen rugg
seattle, wa

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thanks for the excellent portrayal of Billy's life..The bottom line for me is religion remains the cause of most hatred and violence in this world. The right wing in this country are similiar to the Taliban...History repeats itself again.
Isn't it interesting how so many gay people are more loving and forgiving than their religious counterparts. Unfortunately, it will take another 100 years for all this nonsense to go away..
As a former born again Christian, I certainly understand why they believe what they do and understand their simplistic interpretations of scripture, however, I know they can't help it, just as I can't help being gay...They mean well, but they can't see the effects of their judgements on new generations of young people. We all are a product of our upbringing and environments...except being gay is just there....not learned, no choice, just there.
I truly believe we all are at different stages of awareness in our lives.. Perhaps in the next life these people will have to learn the lessons they did not learn in this life...They will come back gay..
In the meantime, we must understand and love them and truly show what God's love is all about....but.. never tolerate injustice, predjudice, and attempts to undermine our rights as Americans and human beings.

Glenn Gulbrandsen
West Hollywood, Ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

I happen to be opposed to the Homosexual lifestyle and do not condone it. This is based on two well grounded sources, one is the Godís Holy Word ñ The Bible speaks against it and the other is the natural order of how humans naturally procreate. If you take away science completely ask yourself this question: Can a man lying with a man or a woman lying with a woman produce a child? If everyone was gay on earth, then humanity would cease to exist. Why is it that we choose to ignore the obvious?

Even though I am opposed to the gay lifestyle, I do not condone in any way the mistreatment of those who choose it. I find that sin is everywhere around us. We each can choose to sin or we can choose not to sin. Hence life is full of choices that we have a right to make. However, the consequences of our choices can have a major impact on each of our lives on earth and after we die. The question is what kind of impact.

One question, why do so many people who choose to participate in the Gay lifestyle have to let everyone around them know about it? I do not go around telling everyone that I am a heterosexual.

May the Lord bless each us of with wisdom and understanding.

Dwayne Kirkpatrick
St. Louis, Missouri

Dear FRONTLINE,

Its a highly mature society which is diverse and well-integrated. I think intolerance is merely a symptom of a deep-rooted disease - mindlessness. A mindlessness bred by a consumerist society where an individual is valued on the basis of how much he can consume. Formerly, we were not allowed to think freely. Now, it is allowed but most have lost the ability. The social disease is mindlessness. Intolerance - on whatever basis - is merely a symptom. I think that perspective is important, else we could spend forever attending to the symptoms and doing nothing about the disease.

Sanjay Bhatikar
Boulder, CO

more

home · billy jack ·  homophobia's roots ·  a gay gene? ·  the bible's words ·  cultural context
discussion ·  quiz ·  video excerpt ·  viewer's guide
press ·  tapes & transcripts ·  synopsis ·  FRONTLINE

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

Stickup KidDecember 17th

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS