Lawrence Lee, you have it all wrong

NOTE: The following is a reply to an article by Lawrence Lee in the Sunday, July 1 issue of the Pittsburgh Press editorial section. A similar letter has been sent to the Press as a “letter to the editor”., but at press time not published. The views expressed in this letter are those of Mr. Gormley, and certainly many others. We felt that the readers of The Gay News would be interested in reading this rebuttal to a totally negative article on homosexuality.

Editor, Pittsburgh Press:
We, as Gay People, and the people attacked in Lawrence Lee’s shocking and irresponsible article of Sunday, July 1 (Normal Society Given The Edge), must register a loud and angry protest as to the contents of that column.

We are aware that we have been slammed by Mr. Lee in an article of his before. The Sunday before, gay people were mentioned in a diatribe of his against “smut”-and wish to set Mr. Lee straight on some facts he is seemingly oblivious to. In doing so, we will dissect his article to point out the absurdities and to make clear to you and Mr. Lee what it is we are disgusted about.

Our major objection is Mr. Lee’s continued use throughout the article of the words “wholesome” and “normal”.

The word “wholesome”, having checked that dusty word in the dictionary to see what Mr. Lee was talking about, does include reference to mental health: something that might benefit the mental health and well being is WHOLESOME. We assert that recognition of homosexuality as a valid alternative lifestyle with removal of all legal and social stigma will be beneficial to the mental health of those gay persons tortured by unfair sanctions against their existance, to the teenagerjust discovering her or his sexuality, and to the well being of society in general, erasing sexual caregorizing and forcing of persons into sex roles they do not fit.

The word “normal” touched off our strongest objection. Because Mr. Lee uses this word where the word “customary” applies. Society tends to make this subtle word a substitution, so Mr. Lee is not alone, and it is most likely he learned wrongly from his teachers-this western culture. If Mr. Lee claims that homosexuality is not normal, he is very wrong. Any biologist, anthropologist, will tell you that almost all of the further developed animal groupings display homosexual behaviot, and this even with the opposite sex in abundance. It is natural, but not customary.

Quote: “It is a false pretention recognized in their consciousness by the pretenders that the best writings, paintings, sculpture, music and poetry is produced by homosexuals. This is refuted by both psychologists of distinction and by the evidence.”

If you are going to take the point of view of psychologists, and use it in your argument, you may as well know, as added information, that recently in a nationwide meeting in Hawaii, professionals put before them a referendum to remove homosexuality from their list of illnesses. It appears that referendum will pass. And I honestly know of no gay person who would make such as statement: the one I have quoted.

You say that Sappho was indeed a lesbian but that does not support the case for the superiority of aberration as her total impact was wholesome. Again, no one is claiming, or ever has claimed, superiority of our sexual preference over, I assume, yours. It is heterosexuality that makes the claims, and they are just as unjustified as homosexuals would be.

The reason for the whole gay liberation movement are for a WHOLESOME impact on life in this society. Our intentions are very honorable.

You reach very far out of context and grab at, of ail things, Tolstoi’s WAR AND PEACE. What are you saying … that Russian novelists are superior because of their sexual persuasions? Do you think that Russians, all their novelists, are heterosexuals? Okay, we’ll match you, one for one. We’ve got Tchaikowsky. And we’ll also mention, as prominent figures in worldwide art history, DaVinci and Michelangelo.

Betty Friedan, you claim, has warned other feminists that lesbians arc using the women’s liberation movement, and that she certainly has been chastised by other women. Certainly she has! The true intent of women’s liberation is liberation for all women, and lesbians ARE women. Friedan has expressed her uneasiness that lesbians are at the vanguard of the movement, but she ignores the fact that lesbians are the only women that are not finally at the mercy of men. At the Washington, D.C. convention of National Organization for Women, the question of lesbian rights received overwhelming support, and the Betty l’reedans were in a very small minority.

Your last few paragraphs smack of social Darwinism, that discarded theory which is used to support apaithied in South Africa and other declarations of superiority of one group of people over another.

You also mention the word “tolerance”, but tolerance we do not want. Acceptance we demand, along with whatever it takes to educate and enlighten.

At this time in the history of the United States, e/hen the word moral is misinterpreted by our government, and when gay people are being burnt alive in firebombings, and when police in this city tell a young Gay that they won’t pursue his assailants because “we aren’t allowed to protect gay people”, and when an openly gay teacher loses his right to teach because a judge says “he talked too much” when he should have “ceased to exist outside of a classroom” (that his opinions are dangerous), many people are very, very ill-informed and need to be educated.

May we emphasize, since you use the word “tolerance” in your article, that tolerance is not what we want-we demand acceptance as we are.