I recently wrote a letter to the editor to confront false claims about gay men and lesbians. The claims addressed in the letter seem to be part of the bedrock of my local culture, yet research does not support these claims; too many opinions of gay men and lesbians are derived from personal biases, feelings, and reactions rather than from objective data.
I intended to spur discussion about the fact that our biases, feelings, and reactions are not consistent with research–and something needs to change. I hoped the letter would bridge gaps between philosophic divides. Maybe it did, but it appears the main result has been gossip and speculation (which I am okay with–I expected at least some gossip and speculation would take place). This suggests to me that my local community is not well-equipped to deal with this issue.
Moreover, the letter prompted at least one individual to come out to me. This individual claims to be surrounded by people who say cruel things about gays and lesbians, worries he would not be accepted in his local congregation if people found out his “secret”, and believes he will be rejected by his friend and family when/if they find out his secret. Part of this is based on his personal fear, but as part of his environment we are responsible for a portion of his misery.
These two evidences–gossip/speculation and an individual tortured by his secret because his community does not express sympathy–suggest we are not dealing with this issue very well.
Here are a few easy things you can do: