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Label-conscious.

I am alarmed with your findings that some of today's youths prefer not to identify themselves as gay or lesbian ["Same-Sex But Not Gay," August 16]. Labels suck, I agree. However, all Americans are not created equal--in a sociopolitical sense, that is. Therefore, when I am asked to define myself, I feel obligated to respond, "I am a gay American."

People preceding me in life died for my very right to say that. If the words gay and lesbian carry political baggage, they should. "During the McCarthy era, gays and lesbians were jailed, placed in mental institutions, or shot to death" (Katz, 1992). And it wasn't until 1973 that homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

For years I too thought, Why all the labels? Labels do separate. Unfortunately, defining me simply as an American would say I am equal to all other Americans--entitled to all rights and privileges--equality in school, equality at work, equality in government, and equality in the eyes of the law.

The LGBTQ population does not stand alone in its struggle. The fight for equality is a reality that all minorities face, hence the descriptions: Native American, African-American, Asian-American, and so forth. In a perfect world, labels would not have to exist. However, our country isn't there yet.

JOHN PAUL DeSIMONE Youngstown, Ohio

I commend Eve, Caitlin, and Alex for their courage to reject sexual categories. In addition to their ideological and practical objections, my interviews with youths reveal another reason: Youth culture, from peers to the media, increasingly accepts same-sex sexuality and minimizes it as the basis for a personal identity. When will we stop demonizing (suicidal) and glorifying (overcoming hopeless odds) our youth and accept them as ordinary adolescents?

RITCH SAVIN-WILLIAMS via the Internet

Eve Lincoln states, "I date people---not genders, not bodies with certain genitalia, [but] strictly people with whom I feel a connection and to whom I am attracted." What does that mean? This whole article is PC run amok. I feel many GLBT youths are trying so desperately to fit into mainstream society that they are rejecting our past. I find that many GLBT people look with shame or disdain on drag queens and lovers of traditional camp. I for one respect the drag queens as they were the first to fight for our equality, and I am not ashamed to say that Cher and Bette did provide me with my outlets. I love that God gave me my unique sexuality and am not afraid to say I am gay.

JACOB CLARK via the Internet

If the up-and-coming Generation Y does not want to use gay, lesbian, or bisexual labels, don't worry--your president and his way-too-far-right friends will do it for you.

DARREN COLLINS Toronto, Canada
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Title Annotation:FROM THE READERS
Author:Collins, Darren
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 13, 2005
Words:463
Previous Article:The truth is out there.
Next Article:Readers comments from www.advocate.com.


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