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, email@example.com