Opinion or Hatred?

I am very upset you allowed Phil Valentine’s slanderous opinions on gays to be a part of your magazine. While I am aware you want an unbiased paper that allows all opinions to be heard, there sometimes needs to be a line drawn from opinion to racist/sexist/agist/homophobist/ etc. propaganda.

However, I can excuse this since it is hard to define the line between these two at times. Admittedly, I just dislike having my community pictured as some kind of disease-carrying filth.

My main beef is with the article’s “spin” of facts to try to rationalize a prejudice. Yes, back in the 1980s it was gays that first brought AIDS to our attention. It was unfortunate that they then became blamed for the issue. Indeed, during most of the decade gay males did have the highest number of cases. However, this is not because of homosexual activity in and of itself. In the “free love” of the ’70s and early ’80s (up until the awareness of AIDS of other deadly diseases), protection such as condoms seemed only necessary for heterosexual couples not wanting to have children. They were protection from pregnancy. Gay males had no reason to use them, thus AIDS was able to spread more freely until we as a nation became more aware. During the 1990s, AIDS cases among gays began to drop as the AIDS scare was at its heyday and the nation as a whole understood that using protection was a necessity for us all. Sadly, by then it was too late to do much to stop the epidemic. The cases of HIV will likely always be higher amongst gays for a while.

These days, people, such as Phil Valentine, are still trying to put blame on “the other.” Valentine’s idea that only stupid, irresponsible people contract AIDS is a simplistic, black-and-white, Just World view that only people who “deserve” it will contract it.

As for the methicillin-resistant staphylococcus virus, yes, according to the CDC it is mostly transmittable through people who have an immuno-deficiency. That does not make it “another disease for gays to spread!.” This also includes the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes. This includes anyone who has a bad immune system at the time the infection is contracted. But that wasn’t mentioned in Valentine’s opinion article, was it? He wanted it to look like it was specifically targeting gays.

I am not very happy at such an opinion being put in a supposedly reputable paper. I am not happy about my community being slandered in such a way. I especially do not like the idea that some people may accept this opinion article as fact, causing more hatred and prejudice against a minority group that has done nothing to deserve such treatment.

?Kim Walls, kaw2k@mtsu.edu


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1 Comment

  • Carrie Scoggins

    I think Phil Valentine was trying to make an attempt at humor, which may have come off as offensive. The issue of homosexuality in Rutherford County has been a hot topic since Rutherford county having one out of nine tested for HIV turn up positive for the virus here in the Rutherford County High Schools. These findings were the reasoning behind the mandatory HIV testing in the public schools here in Tennessee. I like to read Phil Valentine, and he makes an opposing viewpoint that is rarely heard in liberal media however maybe he stepped over the line of good taste in attempts at humor. Conservatives do not all feel as such, but we do like to have at least some conservative viewpoints put out in the written media, and on television, rather than just being pushed aside to talk radio. In Phil’s defense, he is trying to make debate by stirring people up in controversy, and it worked. You were stirred up enough to write in for everyone to hear what you have to say. That was the goal, and that is the best way to have all sides of the issue heard. Some times it takes a little manipulation through harsh words to do so, but the turnout was there. Freedom of speech is an offensive thing as it involves debate, and arguing. Keep up debate as it’s good for society. Freedom of speech can be an offensive thing, anything less is censorship.
    Head Of Libertarian Party TN
    Carrie Geren Scoggins

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