Re: Intolerance not akin to bullying, June 1 letters.
I read with disgust the disrespect and ignorance expressed by letter-writer Mike Schouten toward the gay community’s attempts at education within the community.
Words like “the physical and mental perils that come with living a homosexual lifestyle” and “their choice to practise a completely unnatural lifestyle” are not only bigoted but are dangerous and misleading statements, which do nothing to educate our youth – and many adults, for that matter.
Homosexuality is not a “choice”; it is a sexual identity. Skin colour is not a choice. Abortion is a choice. Marriage is a choice.
And if you believe that a heterosexual lifestyle does not come with physical and mental perils, just ask a victim of domestic violence or a broken family.
Schouten needs to break away from his close-minded and mean-spirited view of the world, and learn not to “bully” those who are different than he is. He’d be doing his children a service at the same time. And the rest of us wouldn’t have to listen to his sordid opinions.
B. Lister, White Rock
Labelling the victims
I found Mike Schouten’s letter to be offensive, and I’m disappointed with Peace Arch News for granting him a soapbox on which to promote his misguided bigotry.
The bullying of youth based on sexual orientation is a serious problem in our society. It is reprehensible to attempt to distort this issue and label the victims as bullies, for merely standing up for themselves.
Intolerance is, in fact, akin to bullying when that intolerance is expressed publicly, along with a call to action to others of like mind.
It is obvious to most of us that homosexuality is neither a lifestyle nor an ideology – and it certainly not a choice. This fact is apparently lost on Schouten.
What bothers me most is his claim to parent his children to treat everyone with respect and avoid bullying. I would like this to be true, but it seems improbable given the opinion conveyed in his letter.
He suggests he has some knowledge of the “physical and mental perils” of homosexuality. The greatest peril is certainly to endure the prejudice and harassment of an ignorant minority who continue to discriminate against them. Fortunately this minority is shrinking in our increasingly enlightened society.
Rob Walter, Surrey
A simple question
I respect the fact that Mike Shouten is entitled to his opinions. Indeed, I’m a strong advocate of the “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend you to the death for your right to say it” school of thought.
I do, however, grow weary of hearing people like Shouten perpetuate the patently false notion that the “homosexual lifestyle” is a choice. It is not, and I can prove it by asking Schouten – or anyone else who spouts this nonsense – a simple question.
Since one’s sexuality and gender preference are significant parts of one’s personality, the “choice” to be straight or not must surely be a momentous and thus, memorable event. Therefore, Mr. Shouten, my question to you is this: How old were you when you consciously made the choice to be straight?
Nancy Glover, Surrey