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All in the family

Thank you for your wonderful cover article about novelist Christopher Rice ["A Chip Off the Old Blockbuster," August 29]. I have no doubt that his work, A Density of Souls, will have a built-in audience among the legions of his mother's devotees, but what they will find is a finely crafted and compelling work that clearly shows his talent may be genetic--but his style is not at all derivative. Rice will long live under the shadow of his mother's popularity, but I have no doubt that if his future offerings continue to reveal the talent for storytelling that is so finely displayed in A Density of Souls, he will soon emerge into his own light. Bravo, Christopher!

Richard Clawson, South Bend, Ind.

I read your interview with Christopher Rice, and it made me want to read his book. A few days later I purchased it, and I have not put it down since. It is a must-read for everyone! I wish I could thank Christopher personally because I have not found a book that even compares to his. It has made me stop and think I was openly gay in high school, and I consider myself lucky I was not harassed or picked on. Once again, thank you.

Shaun McIlquham, Greenwood, Ind.

As Norman Bates put it, "A boy's best friend is his mother." There's nothing wrong with being part of that elite group "Children of" (dubbed so by Paul Rudnick), unless they try to convince us they made it entirely on their own. Certainly it's no disgrace to enter one's parent's--or parents'--line of work, but it's not really the stuff of magazine covers. (Of course, being pretty helps.) How about featuring a 22-year-old novelist who got published without Mama's help?

Kevin Dawson, Sunland, Calif.

West Virginia reels

I just read your piece on Arthur Warren ["To Live and Die in Grant Town," August 29], and I must say I am disappointed. Warren was obviously a peaceful person who was reaching out to the gay population in Fairmont, W. Va. Do these people not consider this man a friend? More important, are they so immature that they do not understand we are one community and one large family?

The complaints registered by most of these kids are ridiculous. Perhaps someone should explain to them that they are living a much more privileged life than Warren did. They are getting an education, they are living their lives as they wish (to a certain degree), and, more important, they are still alive. I would be willing to bet that this young man would have been one of the first to stand up for them if the shoe were on the other foot.

Dana Thompson, Boynton Beach, Fla.

In the article you convey that the Human Rights Campaign strolled into town for the sole purpose of promoting the murder as a hate crime while disregarding the wishes of the local community. To the contrary--HRC was ultrasensitive to the needs of the community and actually worked side by side with the student group that managed the local scene. Our group has experienced nothing short of cooperation and partnership with HRC.

If there were misunderstandings or other issues, the article blew them out of proportion. HRC was a welcome organization that provided much-needed support in this tragic situation. They assisted in drawing attention to this horrible crime and urged local authorities to fully investigate it as a possible hate crime. With the aid of HRC it was easier for our coalition and the community to help prevent this from being another hate-motivated death swept neatly under the rug.

Linda Bodie and Chuck Smith West Virginia Lesbian and Gay Coalition

In the name of God

I could not allow time or my opinion to slip by pertaining to your article "Out of the Frying Pan" [August 29]. I was in a leadership position in the Mormon Church. I served as a counselor to the bishop prior to my leaving the church, and prior to that I was a scoutmaster. I was held in high regard at the local council level as well as church level for exemplifying "excellence in character, morals, and leadership" to the troop members. I was the recipient of special awards and honors in the church--until I came out. The Mormon Church has been, is, and will continue to be the most fervent opponent of gay rights. I am the same person I was when I received those awards and honors, and the Scouts in the troop were indeed given a role model. There is no room in today's society for any organization to ostracize in the name of God.

Jim Yatman, via the Internet

Gender differences

Riki Wilchins just doesn't get it [My Perspective, August 29]. Her rant against the "womyn-born womyn" test and the desire to preserve women-only spaces is proof of her anger at lesbians' defining their own identity as women. I've been an out lesbian for 35 years, and I haven't heard of gender-variant "femmes" or "butches" derided as "oppressive to women" since 1974. As Germaine Greer stated in The Whole Woman, no one ever asked women if they recognize male-to-female transsexuals as belonging to their sex or damaging to their identity or self-esteem. Born women are all too aware of a disharmony between who they are and what their gender role requires of them. When a transsexual male forces his way into the few private spaces women may enjoy and shouts down their objections and bombards the women who win not accept him with threats, he does as rapists have always done.

I very much support both Norah Vincent and Jim Fouratt. We are all queers, and it is gender variance, not transgenderedness, that incites the violence aimed at us. Encouraging gender-variant males and females to chemically and surgically alter their bodies to conform to a "straight outward appearance" is not the solution; it is just another form of oppression.

Michela Griffo, New York, N. Y.

Injurious words

When I read the quote by Louisiana supreme court justice Chet Traylor on the upholding of the state's sodomy law [Rants & Raves, August 29], a bell went off in my head. He said, "Commission of what the Legislature determines is an immoral act, even if consensual and private, is an injury against society itself." A week earlier I had visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. I picked up a booklet there titled "Homosexuals, Victims of the Nazis." In it was a quote by Heinrich Himmler defending Paragraph 175, the law that authorized the prosecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. He wrote, "There are those homosexuals who take the view: What I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the Nation." Traylor--and others who think like him--is "an injury against society."

William Broumas, Hamden, Conn.

Meet me in St. Louis

In reference to Beggars and Choosers creator Peter Lefcourt's comment "The hard-core homophobe in Middle America doesn't want to see two men kissing" ["TV Imitates TV," August 29], I am very weary of Middle America being stereotyped as a bastion of homophobia. My experience has led me to believe that is far from the truth. In my hometown, St. Louis, the gay community is vibrant and quite well accepted. At our recent Pridefest, almost as many straights were in attendance as gays. My former employer, headquartered in St.. Louis, was quite gay-friendly, even including acceptance of homosexuals in an in-house class called "Valuing Diversity." I suggest that Lefcourt spend more time here--he'll realize that people in Middle America know how to think for themselves and consider alternative lifestyles with very open minds.

Stephen Newman, St. Louis, Mo.

Another time

Regarding the angle in Lawrence Ferber's article about Lilly Wust's Nazi involvement (read complacency) ["LilIy's Love," August 29]: It was another time, another place. I'm sure she, like many others, doesn't wish to discuss it. How many (Caucasian) Americans ask their parents and grandparents about their involvement or complacency regarding racism? We all have crosses to bear and skeletons to hide, and we're all capable of growth and enlightenment.

Jack Tenrac, via the Internet

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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 26, 2000
Words:1473
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