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American gay idol. (reader forum).

You did a great job on "A Teen Idol's Dreams" [January 21]. I was particularly moved by Jim Verraros's account of the torment and ridicule he endured in junior high for being gay. His story is an important one to tell.

In my opinion, the recent societal acceptance of gays, while encouraging, is not as universal as we would like it to be. Society is much more accepting of gay men who appear "butch" as opposed to those perceived as effeminate. It is sad to think that youths who are struggling with their sexual self-identity also are more often victimized based on their mannerisms. Jim's story can provide inspiration to all gay youths who are a little on the effeminate side and not so butch.

Jeff Garber, via the Internet

Congratulations to Jim Verraros for making the American Idol finals. It sounds like he's already paid his dues in hell and deserves to find the light at the end. How anyone can learn anything while trying to survive harassment on that level is beyond me. While I realize that there is no silver-bullet solution, we need to address the conditions in our schools. Whether we need to increase the budget, add security personnel, or put a psychologist in every school, the abuse has to stop. My vote goes to a zero-tolerance rule on harassment and violence. How many Columbines will it take before we actually start changing things?

Coren Grey, San Bernardino, Calif.

I run Jim Verraros's official newsletter, and I just want to thank you for the article on him. Jim is the most amazing person in the world to me, and I am so thrilled to know that the rest of the world is really getting to see him for who he is. He is a leader for gay rights and an inspiration not only to gay men and women but to everyone else as well. I've been truly blessed with a great friend.

Suzy Jarvis, Chicago, Ill.
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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Feb 18, 2003
Previous Article:Everything's Rosie. (reader forum).
Next Article:The Advocate poll. (reader forum).

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