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

Dear FRONTLINE,


Thank you for the attention you have paid to the problem of anti-gay bias in our society.

My only reservation about your coverage is that you, like so many other media outlets, give excessive and sensational attention to the fringe groups who claim to cure homosexuality, thereby giving them the cachet in society that they have failed to attain in professional organizations.

An additional resource for those interested in anti-gay bias is the webpage of the American Psychoanalytic Foundation, which includes the full text of a forum entitled "Homophobia; Analysis of a 'Permissible' Prejudice". In this forum one can see how an organization deals with its own institutionalized homohobia, and then moves on to use its analytic tools to explore the prejudice inherent in our culture and development of personal identity. Also, Harvard's Rev. Prof. Peter Gomes discusses the role of religion in the cause and cure of homophobia.


Paul E. Lynch, M.D.
Boston, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a 40-something gay man, who thought he's been there and seen it all, I was astounded by just how little I knew about the Bible, the Religious Right even Falwell is against some extremists!, and homosexuality historically.

But the real point that hit me was, if homosexual acts were not seen as crimes against nature, but rather in the historical sense; acts in a class structured sexual pecking order, there would be no one called "homosexual" or "heterosexual", but just individuals without sexual casting.

This may seem like a oversimplified situation, but if such attitudes did prevail, there would be no need to address this entire issue and all the members of the relious right who prosper in furthuring hatred, would require re-training to join the job market.

Mike Williams
St. Louis, MO

Dear FRONTLINE,

My partner and I were pleased that the recent Frontline segment profiling anti-gay violence in America was presented on PBS. Although I was the victim of numerous assaults while in high school, I can't begin to imagine the torture endured by Billy Jack Gaither on the night that he died.

The fact that a person like Billy who gave of himself to his family, friends and community could be killed just for being who he was is a very sobering reality.

I am pleased that the "panic" defense was exposed for what it really is -an easy way for violent individuals to justify their right to deny another person his human dignity.

Chris Bianchi
New York, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

In mentioning the quality of this show with a co-worker, the only comment she had was to shift the conversation to pedophilia and bring up a 25 year-old case of an abduction and sexual molestation of a boy by a man.

While acknowledging that pedophiles are most often heterosexual, she still strongly equates homosexuality with pedophilia. It's what first enters her mind when you say the word "gay".

This is what the media has done to gay men and women by sensationalizing such cases, exploiting the irrational fears and prejudices for the sake of audience share, though that trend is thankfully well in retreat. Another show topic worth exploring - media news, entertainment culpability in demonizing homosexuals - and what steps are being taken to counteract the negative portrayals.

Stephen Horn

Dear FRONTLINE,


[Correspondent] Forrest Sawyer expressed bewilderment as to how a man could consider an unwanted and spontaneous sexual proposition by another man as disrespectful.

At another time, on another program, I am certain that Mr. Sawyer would have no problem understanding how an unwanted, spontaneous sexual proposition by a man towards a woman would not only be direspectful but would be proof that males view females as sexual objects. Perhaps it is not an assualt on gay america but an assualt on our innate understanding of human nature that is causing the violence. Thank you

bill purcell
northfield, mn

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you very much for your highly informative show and website. It is nice to know that there are those who call themselves christian and do not practice the hatred that seems to be common and accepted these days.

Jesus' message, after all, was one of unconditional love. That there are those who are standing up for this makes me have hope for the church.


Tasha Wassink

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your work in presenting a complex subject was a very good start. I had hoped to see and hear some of the discussion from leaders of the United Methodist Church: Rev. Greg Dell, and Jimmy Creech who have confronted the general church with a different view. Some of the Bishops have come out against the prevailing official stance of the UMC and I think it would be valuable to interview Bishop Mutti. Two of Mutti's sons have died of AIDS.

The Bishop and Mrs. Muttiare a very compassionate couple who have a deep understanding and love which goes beyond prejudice and bigotry.

Richard Burdon
Portland, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,


I want to tell you that I found all the Information I read very very interesting.

I consider myself to be a gay man I learned at an early age two things I was going to hell and I was in danger of being hurt and I have been through a lot living in south Boston in one of the low income developments I have been threatened almost on a daily routine. my head fracture being thrown over a bridge I have post tramatic stress disorder.
I am a good person when can I stop being afraid thank you for listening

Bernard Flaherty
Orange, Mass

Dear FRONTLINE,

After watching your provocative piece and reading the posted responses on the web page I would like to offer this piece of advice to those who would like to help at least reduce some of the madness.

Don't tolerate it. When you hear family, friends or whoever use hate-speech, sexual, racial, whatever, tell them to stop. Tell them you don't like it. It's uncomfortable at first but the way you stop these people is to discredit them and who better than their peers?

Sue Sutton
Seattle, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

While I usually appreciate the high quality of the reporting on your show, your program the "Assault on Gay America" was nothing new and fell far below your norm.

Gay bashers,"fag" baiters, homicidally insecure "straight" men, Jerry
Falwell's insidious hypocrisy--though they are terrible problems, we've seen all these before. The shame and tragedy is that we see them all too often....

Unless and until being Gay becomes just another quality among the vast and diverse population of the globe, the problem will continue. And looking at how we Americans have solved the problem of racism, which we've been thinking about for a lot longer, makes me believe that anti-Gay violence will be with us for a long, long time.

Donald Delauter
Washington, DC

Dear FRONTLINE,

I would like to commend PBS for presenting this thought provoking program. From the prior messages on the bulletin board, it is obvious that there are many thoughts and opinions. I believe that quality programs like this promotes public discussion that ultimately leads to better understanding and respect for each other.

I wanted to also comment on the strength and love communicated by Billy's brother Ricky and his sister. I think that this is where the true lesson lies in that people can and should accept difference in others and not be judgemental. I commend this family for the strength that it showed by being featured on this program.

J. Lomax
Edison, NJ

J. Lomax
Edison, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,

I agree with the letter writer from Summit, NJ who said your program contributed to the common misperception of most gay men as effeminate.

While the classroom exercise you showed acknowledged that such labels used were stereotypes, very little was done to counteract those stereotypes.
Also there have been heinous hate crimes committed against lesbiansˇadding another dimension to the perpetrators "threatened" masculinityˇyet none in particular were discussed.

James Benjamin

Dear FRONTLINE,

I personally believe that the scriptures teach that homosexuality is wrong. HOWEVER, those who want to use that as a weapon of hate towards others are WRONG.

If they want to use several small passages of scripture to fuel their fight, perhaps they should read the much larger sections of scripture that teach that we should love one another, that murder is wrong and most importantly, as it applies in this situation, that we are not to judge each other. And of course, whatever happened to the Golden Rule--treat others as you would want to be treated?

Using violence in the name of God is absurd and is a contradiction of what Jesus taught. If these people truly believe that they are christian, then they must have read a different book than I did.

Susan Bradshaw
Riverton, Utah

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for a thoughtful program. As a Gay man in a long term relationship, who is also a practicing Christian, I never cease to be amazed at how those who claim to be Christians can continue to display intolerance to those who are diffrent.

We have all been created by a loving God, and only He has the right to judge. Whether they accept it or not, such intolerance leads to self-hatred, anger and violence. You shall know they are Christians by their love. Isn't that a call for us to care for all people no matter what?

Jim Blaine
Oakland, California

Dear FRONTLINE,

The most biased program in the history of television, it should have been entitled Gay Assualt on America. Is this what our tax dollars fund?

William Henning

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