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Just Justin.

With disappointment and a bit of disgust I read your article about the Justin Suarez character on Ugly Betty ["Betty's Family Secret?" November 21]. As your magazine has become somewhat fixated on "straight-acting" gay men, it's bizarre that you think it necessary to force the classification of a flamboyant 12-year-old as gay.

In retrospect I knew that I was gay from the first moment I had any sexual identity; however, at 121 couldn't have identified it and would have been mortified if someone had tried to get me to define it. That is not a comment on society's acceptance as much as it is on the fact that children are just learning who they are at that age.

One of the more interesting aspects of the show is that no one is quite what they appear to be. People (and certainly fictional characters) become much less interesting when they are rigidly defined. The show obviously has no issue with homosexuality, so back off and embrace this refreshing character for whatever he turns out to be.

JIMMY MURPHY New Orleans, La.

While I was happy to read about ABC's wonderful Ugly Betty in your magazine, focusing on the "is he or isn't he" nature of Betty's younger nephew, Justin, does a disservice to fans of the series and Michael Indelicato, the talented actor who plays him. Rather than giving us any useful information about the character or the amazing Indelicato, we get a ridiculous rant from no-name Web head Michael Jensen. Was Perez Hilton not available to provide inane commentary?

According to Jensen, ABC is somehow doing a bad thing by refusing to put a label on Justin's sexual identity. Huh? We are talking about a character who is 12 years old! Though I firmly believe sexual orientation is genetic, when I was Justin's age I had no idea what my first sexual feelings meant. Sure, looking back it all adds up to "gay," but that comes with the perspective gained from actually having lived through puberty and adolescence.

The Advocate would be wise to provide at least some critical context when deciding to give loons like Jensen a platform to vent. To insist that the mannerisms of a 12-year-old be explicitly identified as gay or straight is ridiculous. It's also wrong to claim ABC is "playing games with viewers" or communicating that being gay is "wrong or shameful," as Jensen asserts.

I think it's high time we move away from a quota mentality and step obsessing about the quantity of gay characters in prime time. Instead, why not praise the networks for the unprecedented quality of the 2006 season?

RON HEBSHIE Los Angeles, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Liberation Publications, Inc.
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Hebshie, Ron
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 19, 2006
Words:444
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