Letters to the Editor

Gay hero deserving

We are writing in response to Adele Ferguson’s column, “Being openly gay isn’t good enough reason for park-name honor” (May 14). Ms. Ferguson used the term “dubious distinction” when questioning the appropriateness of naming a Capitol Hill park in Seattle after Cal Anderson, the state’s first openly gay legislator.

There was some irony in that the same page contained a thought-provoking letter to the editor regarding the startling statistics of teenage suicide. However, the letter omitted the fact that gay teenagers are four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teenagers. Gay and lesbian people are seven times more likely to be crime victims than heterosexual people. One study found that 50 percent of gay and lesbian youths are rejected by their parents due to their sexual orientation. In Seattle, 34 percent of gay or lesbian students reported being the target of anti-gay harassment.

Because it is still legal in Washington to discriminate against gay and lesbian people in matters of housing and employment, many adults resort to living their lives in secrecy. With that in mind, we can only begin to imagine the strength and courage it took for Cal Anderson to be an openly gay legislator in 1988. There is nothing dubious about naming a park in honor of this courageous man.

Anderson could be honored further by passing legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Until the day we no longer judge people by their sexual orientation, it is not only appropriate but necessary to honor those who risk alienation of their families and churches, loss of employment, and risk of personal safety to serve as openly gay men and lesbian women.

Gary and Marcie Neuman

Catholic Parents of Gay and Lesbian Children

Editor: The Neumans and their organization can be reached at cathparents@hotmail.com. They said, “There are many parents of gay and lesbian children who are not aware of resources available. We meet monthly with other parents and would like to be available for anyone to contact us.”

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