I know too well what it's like to grow up gayI cried when...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

March 07, 1998

I know too well what it's like to grow up gay

I cried when I read your Feb. 25 editorial "Pink triangles and angry parents," regarding St. Paul's School for Girls displaying pink triangles in an effort to support homosexual students.

Almost 30 years ago, as a gay teen-ager who thought absolutely nobody cared, I attempted suicide. The pain and isolation were more intense than I can describe.

Unfortunately, many educated, presumably well-intentioned parents are still ignorant about homosexuality. After years of study and personal experience, here are the facts as I understand them:

Sexual orientation is a person's primary sexual and affectional attraction. Most experts believe sexual orientation is established genetically and does not change.

Sexual behavior is influenced primarily by one's sexual orientation. It is also significantly influenced by the intensity of the sexual drive. The influences of family, friends, religion and society also have an impact.

Sexual behavior differs from one's sexual orientation, and does not change that orientation. Any sexual behavior that differs with one's sexual orientation is, the vast majority of the time, short-lived.

One of the most damaging things a parent of a sexually active child can do is overreact out of fear that the child will become homosexual. React to the sexual experience, if the activity is inappropriate, but not the orientation.

Homosexual kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than are heterosexuals.

What St. Paul's School for Girls has done should be done in all schools. Homosexual children must have someone they can talk to who knows the facts and can communicate them clearly. They need a friend who understands.

Parents can rarely fill this role, no matter how good their intentions.

George Simpson

Catonsville

Letter on eye surgery needs to be corrected

The Feb. 28 letter "Sun ignored laser procedure for extreme nearsightedness" needs further clarification.

The letter correctly says laser vision correction (LVC) is the state-of-the-art procedure for treating nearsightedness. It is misleading, however, in two respects.

LVC is approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for treating mild to severe myopia and astigmatism.

These treatments are just as advanced as the Canadian treatments and approved to treat equally severe nearsightedness.

It is beyond these levels that soft-lens implantation may have a place.

Second, he speaks of LVC availability just a "short flight away" in Canada, when the same technology is available a short drive away at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Baltimore is known for its medical excellence. Fortunately, the area is rich with eye surgeons who can provide this gift of advanced technology to those who are nearsighted.

Dr. Anthony J. Kameen

Baltimore

The writer is medical director of the LCA-Vision/GBMC Laser Center.

Editorial misstated goal of public housing

In your March 1 editorial "Revolutionizing public housing," you write, "When Franklin D. Roosevelt launched public housing in 1937, the intent was to providing temporary housing for families in financial straits."

Although this phrase is very popular among public housing "reformers" these days, a review of the 1937 legislation shows that it isn't true.

Wanting public housing to meet a temporary need doesn't reflect the history of public housing or the needs of our community.

Public housing was founded upon the realization that market mechanisms can never adequately house our citizens. In every sector of the economy -- income security, education, health care, food, employment -- nonmarket mechanisms are required to ensure that poor and vulnerable Americans are not cast aside.

Even those who have never read the original documents would rarely claim that Social Security and public education are designed to meet temporary needs. Yet this baseless allegation is repeated frequently with regard to public housing.

But the laws of logic cannot be repealed by such pronouncements. When people with higher incomes benefit from scarce affordable housing resources, individuals with lower incomes or no incomes -- 70,000 Baltimore families have no earned income -- lose access to these resources.

Where will they live? In already overcrowded homeless shelters, doubled up and tripled up with other people, and under the Jones Falls Expressway.

In 1997, Health Care for the Homeless served 5,000 Baltimoreans with nowhere to live. Few will ever qualify for Housing Authority of Baltimore City units.

While public housing is being "revolutionized," where is the plan to house the tens of thousands of Baltimoreans who are left out?

Jeff Singer

Baltimore

The writer is interim president and chief executive of of Health Care for the Homeless.

Add one female cantor to list you published

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