Alexander`s recent editorial (1/22/99) on Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual awareness week exemplifies why such a week should occur. His editorial was so inflammatory that I almost had to wonder whether his piece was a means of showing the justification of such an awareness week. Unfortunately, I believe that he indeed holds these homophobic and hateful views. Alexander`s article talked of why there is no word “pedophilephobia”, while there is the word homophobia. There is one difference and it is based upon the definition of phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear. Pedophiles deserve to be feared since they harm the population. Homosexuals do not harm anybody. They might make you feel uncomfortable, but they don`t cause you harm. That is why it is justified to “disapprove” of child molesters, but not homosexuals. I also must question Alexander`s choice of pedophilia as the comparison. If he is (as many have done before) trying to compare homosexuals to pedophiles and other sexual offenders, then I believe that he needs to look into the literature providing statistics on the sexual orientation of most sex offenders. Suffice it to say it is not homosexual. As to Alexander`s charge that hate crime laws are unjustified, I believe that he is misinformed as to their true purpose. Hate crime laws were first enacted to protect African-Americans. They were developed to distinguish between different crimes based upon intent. While it is technically a threat against society when someone assaults another individual due to an altercation, it still is perpetrated against that single individual. When someone assaults a gay man based upon his sexual orientation, the crime is against all gays. Thus, the penalties must be more severe, just as crimes that are against all Jews or Blacks should be more severe. Hate crime laws are not attempting to circumvent the Constitution by allowing double jeopardy; they attempt to increase the punishment for these heinous crimes. In response to the claim that “the pro-gay mock and ridicule the religious”, I again think that he is incorrect. There are many churches, in most religions, which accept gays and lesbians into their services. There needs not be a vehement battle over this, instead I believe that Alexander should practice another stance found in the bible and not judge his neighbors. Also, I think that this truism is taught before and more often than the stance that homosexuality is wrong. The most inflammatory section of Alexander`s argument, and by far the most ignorant was his statement, “How can anyone be proud of a birth defect”. Alexander will hopefully ponder his comments and see how insulting they are to all people. Moreover, his reasoning that homosexuality is a birth defect is strangely reminiscent of claims that African-Americans were genetic “mistakes”, or that the world needed to be rid of Jews. Alexander fails to see the point of marriage if he believes that it is solely for procreation. If that is the case, why should infertile heterosexual couples get married? Marriage is about love, not about anything else. If a male`s prime interest were to have children as Alexander implied, why not have multiple partners in order to increase the number of offspring he could have at once? Alexander`s view of marriage also clouds the true point of domestic partner health care laws. Health care should be a benefit of being a member of society. While there are individuals whose lifestyles and views clash with mine, I would still pay into a public health care system that would benefit them. Heterosexual couples enjoy these benefits; domestic partner laws simply extend the same benefits to loving couples whose only difference is that they are of the same sex.In conclusion, I hope that Alexander`s editorial will do what I initially thought that it might be doing, attempting to show that there is the need for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Awareness Week. The ideas expressed in his article are misinformed and irrational. Let us all celebrate every type of diversity whether it is race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
Josh HillFreshmanCollege of Medicine