1988: Focus on Homosexuality

Letters to the Editor 11/4/1988

On October 21, 1988 The Observer published a multi-page "Focus" section on homosexuality.

Editorial: Mother accepts daughter's lifestyle

By Craig S. Rich, published November 4, 1988

"She came to me about two years ago. It was after her second year in college, and told me that she was a lesbian," said Judie Wayman.

Judie is currently a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. She approached The Observer and was willing to give her point-of-view on gays and lesbians; the point-of-view of a parent.

Judie said that she had suspected that her daughter, Carol, was a lesbian since Carol was in middle school. She and her husband had only mentioned it jokingly, but they never really talked about it.

"I wish that I had spoken to Carol about it," stated Judie, " I wish that I had read a lot more and knew a lot more about it while she was growing up, rather than just sticking with the myths and then having to face it when she came out. I think it would have been a big help to her when she was growing up had there been people she could talk to."

The situation in which Judie's daughter finally told her that she was a lesbian is a very ironic one. Judie explained, "I kind of pried it out of her. She was sitting in a cedar closet upstairs reading a book. She'd never sat in the cedar closet before. I found her there and tried to get her to come out. I kept telling her 'to come out of the closet.' I said it once or twice and then realized what I was saying. But I continued to say it and she was in there laughing hysterically. So she did come out of the closet, literally and figuratively.

"When she told me," continued Judie, "I thought that if she started dating and got involved with guys then she would realize that she wasn't a lesbian; it was a stage she was going through. And then within a short period of time, we talked about it and I realized that it wasn't a stage. She knew about it since she was about four years old. Until she got to college, she didn't realize that she wasn't the only one in the world who felt that way.

Most parents, upon discovering they have a gay or lesbian child, might feel as though they had done something wrong in raising their child. "If that was the case," Judie said, "Then Carol's sister would have been a lesbian also. Her sister is heterosexual."

"I find that there is a difference in how men deal with this and women deal with it as a whole," answered Judie to the question of how her now ex-husband deals with their lesbian daughter. "I talked to a lot of my friends, but men don't seem to want to talk about it. My family knows about Carol; his family does not."

Many people in our society have labeled homosexuals as sinners is the eyes of God or as mentally ill.' don't. think that when ten percent d a population is a certain way, it's he cause they are all sinning," states Judie. "It's part of them. I read that one psychologist mentioned that al his homosexual patients are ill and all his straight patients are also ill. It's not a mental illness as far as I'm concerned."

Carol was very active in leading marches and demonstrations while she attended the University of Michigan. As a result, Carol had received death threats. "There are People out there that when they hear someone is a homosexual, feel they should be put to death," said Judie.

Judie feels that her relationship with her daughter is a much more open one then it had been in the past. "It's easier, Judie said "because she has changed, because she is so happy with who she is and what she is doing. She is one of my heroes. I'm really proud of what she's doing."

Judie's advice to anyone looking for a way to tell their parents about their sexual orientation is to read the book Now That You Know, give the book to their child, and discuss it.

"There are some kids that I know are really frightened about it and with very good reason. They know. that if they told their parents, their parents would throw them out.

"The things that are really important to me, as a mother," said Judie, "is that my child lead a productive life, an honest life, that she's happy, loves, and is loved, and makes a contribution. Given all that, whom she goes to bed with is not my concern."

Letter to the Editor: Permissive society allows homosexuals

Published November 4, 1988

As someone who knows what it's like to get in serious sheep dip over personal convictions, I must stand up for Robert Georgi. I applaud his determination to present a different opinion; even, as in this case, one with which I do not agree.

It is important to note that not everything Georgi said can be disproved. Since sex was originally (and sometimes still is) intended as a method of reproduction, homosexuality is biologically unsound.

Today's permissive society is what allows homosexuality to exist as a respectable and acceptable alternative. That permission must go both ways. In the same way that certain fraternities have graciously refrained from bashing my head in, those of us who accept homosexual rights must allow non-violent, anti-gay protesters to have their say.


Francis Uy, Undergraduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Minister opens biblical passages for debate

Published November 4, 1988

Though the "Letters" page in The Observer is not the ideal place to debate the Christian response to homosexuality, I wish to respond briefly to Tim Calhoun's letter carried on 10/28/88.

Mr. Calhoun's sentiments do reflect the opinions of many Christians. However, he does not speak for all who seek to follow Christ. Within the broad spectrum of Christianity there are at least some who would say that promiscuity is the sin rather than sexual orientation. The interpretation of biblical passages commonly cited in debates such as this one are open to more than one understanding.

To come to terms with one's own thoughts, feelings, prejudices and fears about homosexuality and homophobia requires study and debate within a trusting community. Anyone on campus who seeks such a discussion is most welcome to call the University Christian Movement at 231-2260.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Joan Huff, Campus Minister

Letter to the Editor: Georgi supports his stand on gays

Published November 4, 1988

The letters to the editor last week presented (in defense of homosexuality) several objections to my previous letter. Two of them brought up the same argument. The authors refer to my statement that "Gay rights groups strong-armed the American Psychiatric Association into removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders." One wrote: "...the American Psychiatric Association realized it could no longer label something that is natural for millions of people a 'disorder' simply because it was morally repugnant."

I think it is worth noting that a fellow of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Neurology would disagree. He reports that "a poll of thousands of APA members taken after the APA vote found that two thirds of those polled feel that homosexuality is a disorder." So despite the fact that the APA vote is invoked as evidence that the members consider homosexuality normal, many members, in fact, admitted that while they publicly argued that homosexuality is normal, they privately believe it to be abnormal. They justify this in terms of humanitarism. It used to be called lying.

The accusation was also made that I lacked evidence to support my "claims." I feel obliged therefore to list my sources: Homosexuality & Hope by Gerard Van Den Aardweg, Ph.D.; Homosexuality/A Psychoanalytic Study by Irving Bieber, Harvey J. Dain, et al; Homosexuality and American Psychiatry by Ronald Bayer; Toward an Understanding of Homosexuality by Daniel Cappon; Gay is not Good by Frank M. du Mas, Ph.D.; Homosexuality by Charles W. Socrarides, M.D.; and from the Policy Review Journal, the article "Is Homosexuality Normal?" by Steven Goldberg.

Some feel that the apparent arbitrariness of moral arguments preclude them from having the persuasive force possessed by statements of a purely logical nature. In arguing that an assessment of homosexuality as abnormal is incorrect, homosexual spokesmen assert that it is as unwarranted as, say, a similar assessment of left-handedness. To do that ignores the fact that the crucial distinction between left-handedness and homosexual behavior is the normality of the causal factors that generate left-handedness. An assessment of normality is like a scientific question in that the assessment of the behavior depends on the normality or abnormality of the causation. To say that such an assessment is based on purely subjective values ignores the former consideration.

It is my suspicion that the homosexual does not merely want the rights that should always have been his. Nor does he merely want the empathy and openness we should offer anyone with physical or psychological problems. The homosexual wants social affirmation of the normality of his behavior. I am convinced that nothing can justify our, doing that.


Robert A. Georgi, Undergraduate student