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To the Editors of The Crimson:
According to Julie-Ann Francis's article on reactions to the latest Peninsula diatribe (November 13), "Some students...feared many undergraduates agreed with the magazine," and, in the words of William Dougherty '94, the writing has "created a really unsafe atmosphere on campus."
If it is true that Peninsula has articulated the views of many students, then it is essential to meet their speech in kind. Staging protests and eat-ins, although valuable for purposes of group cohesion, preaches successfully only to the converted.
Such activities play into Peninsula's characterization of homosexuality as a subversive and power-hungry movement. They detract from positive arguments that might otherwise persuade, particularly since it is the implied homosexual conspiracy that most alarms (and appeals to) those who agree with Peninsula.
This is especially true of freshmen, who may find such groups as the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Students Association (BGLSA) new and alien to begin with. Reason--above all, bad reason--is best answered by argument, not mass shouting.
Gay rights are essentially rights of private choice. Many will never learn a tolerance for alternative lifestyles until they find they have a friend who practices them. This is how, my freshman year, my own views on the issue were changed.
Until men and women have that kind of experience, however, loud gatherings of "queers" like the one the BGLSA plans will stand in people's minds as the answer to Peninsula's acceptable, because unchallenged, reasoning.
Until the BGLSA answers them point for point in print, rather than in the streets, toleration of this personal choice will continue to be treated primarily as a public isuse between "people" and "the queers," and the "really unsafe atmosphere on campus" for every member of the gay community will continue. Jonathan R. Funke '93
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