I’m disappointed with this newspaper. Giving space to bigoted opinions – not in letters to the editor or classified ads, but in its headlines – suggests that those opinions have credence.
I’m a teacher who’s used to saying to students that everyone’s opinions are valid – but when those opinions are hateful, hurtful and prejudiced, I must take a different stance.
Not all things done in the name of Christianity or tradition in Canada have been morally upstanding, so we should learn from our mistakes, and we should know better than to let “tradition” be used as a tin disguise for intolerance.
It shouldn’t be just brave Nicole Joliet who speaks up; it should be everyone, Christian or not, gay or not, questioning or not, member of the majority or not, who speaks up for what is right and good and inclusive, and speaks loudly enough to have our voices overpower those such as the BC Parents and Teachers for Life, whose appeals would have us travel back in time to a shameful, discriminatory past.
I’m proud to live in an inclusive and tolerant Canadian society, and I’m hopeful about the future for my children – whomever they might love – and for the students I teach.
And I’m proud to teach in a school district that is making amends for some past wrongs done in the name of tradition.
Maret Rehnby, White Rock
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Re: Schooled on sexual orientation, Oct. 28 letters.
I’d like to correct letter-writer John Bootsma’s attempt to correct your headline. He’s right that the headline, “‘Family group’ targets pro-gay policy,” was wrong, but he failed to correct it with his suggestion.
The headline should have read “‘Family group’ targets ‘pro-gay’ policy,” because this so-called ‘family group’ recognizes only one kind of family — one that consists of a mother, father and children.
They don’t acknowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes — always have and always will.
There are families with one parent with children. There are families with two male adults and some kids, and those with two female adults and some kids. There are families with kids from previous marriages. There are families with two adults and no children.
As well, there should also be quotation marks around “pro-gay,” because the school district’s policy doesn’t promote homosexuality – it simply acknowledges it and accepts it as a fact of life, and nothing that anyone should be bullied for.
Jerry Steinberg, Surrey
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In response to John Bootsma’s letter criticizing Peace Arch News’ headline, I would just like to point out the use of quotations in “‘family group’ targets pro-gay policy,” is obviously meant to be ironic.
Indeed, it is extremely ironic when a self described “pro-life, pro-family” organization belittles the rights of others, especially children in their community. Every person should have the right to their own beliefs, but when those beliefs are allowed to tread on the human rights of others, not only is it an abomination of human rights in general, it can be very dangerous.
Do you have any idea how many children have taken their lives due to being bullied because of their sexual orientation? What about those who were beaten to death by other children whose parents taught them that it’s not OK to be gay? What about 60 years ago, when it wasn’t OK to be a person of colour?
To answer the letter writer’s question about how a teenage boy could even know what his sexual orientation is: plenty of boys know what they are into by the age of 13, most definitely by 16. And unless they live under a rock, in today’s hyper-sexualized world, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that most boys have even watched pornography and know which gender they are most attracted to by the age of 10.
Brytani Dean, White Rock
Editor’s note: The phrase “family group” was in quotes to indicate that is how BC Parents and Teachers for Life describes itself.