The University Record, October 23, 1995
The argument Bruce Bender presents (UR Oct. 16, 1995) is incorrect. To say that homosexual groups are on an aggressive agenda to turn every new student into a practicing homo/bisexual is ridiculous. One office for homo/bisexual people in the University does not make an anti-heterosexual atmosphere. The local groups on campus exist for support and education and are not in any active process to recruit heterosexual people. They are there for gay men, lesbians and bisexual people. To say that homo/bisexuals are against "God, family and country" is absurd. There are many gay and bisexual Christians , families made up of gay/bisexual persons or ones withgay/bisexual members, and gay and bisexual patriots. Educating others about the existence of a support network for gay/bisexual people does in no way make any university one where everyone is forced to behave as a homo/bisexual person, just as the existence of a Christian group on campus does not make everyone convert to Christianity.
A public university has no right to exclude any set of people from basic human rights, such as housing or education or health care because they do not agree with them. No two people follow the same viewpoint, regardless of how similar their views are. If unmarried heterosexual people can live together, then why not unmarried homo/bisexuals? There are few major differences.
Multiculturalism, gender equality, humanism, environmentalism and the quest for homo/bisexual rights are direct results of cultural perspectives and laws which come from ingrained attitudes of hate, ignorance and intolerance. They were designed to keep people apart, from finding mutual understanding and common ground. To say that protecting the Earth, respecting women as equal beings and tolerating other people in a non-judgmental fashion is morally wrong is biased. To say it goes against "God, family and country" is even more so. Family is the basis of all society, and it is breaking down because of economics, not because of increased exposure to homosexuality. When families go through radical changes, the culture changes with it. If multiculturalism, et al., brings more patience, community, brethren and morality by accepting rather than denying difference, all the more power to it. If the previous system of racism, sexism and homophobia had worked so well, why have there been movements to eradicate it? Obviously, for all their perceived self righteousness, arguments and attitudes like Mr. Bender's only add more fuel to societal renovations in the opposite direction.
Dorian Arana, office assistant, Taubman Medical Library
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I have a few questions regarding last week's letter:
How is Mr. Bender qualified to judge the lives, organizations and attitudes of homosexuals and their friends, or the educational programs and policies developed by the University, or American attitudes and legislation on diversity?
Why does Mr. Bender feel that his rude and erroneous statements about these topics are appropriate, especially given his position of leadership within the U-M staff?
As a U-M student, no homosexual organization marked me or my friends as prey for recruitment. To the contrary, gay/lesbian organizations function as support groups: for those who are realizing their emotional/sexual orientation; for those who are victims of verbal, physical or legal abuse by people who have little compassion for minorities; for those who are experiencing a break-up, rejection by loved ones or the reality of AIDS; or for those who need a friend.
Homosexual propaganda against students' morals and standards is not part of U-M orientation. Orientation highlights the world's different ways of thinking, as well as its varied appearances and backgrounds, and helps students to explore their thoughts about those differences---and to learn to act responsibly. Students are challenged to respect and care for the individual---not to condone everything s/he does---but to fight discrimination against minorities---and to consider sympathy to the fact that no one's life is easy. Most of us have little choice over birth to a particular color or ethnicity, financial status, degree of height or sexual orientation.
It is everyone's right to be protected against discrimination. This is not "special privilege status." Heterosexuals have an inconsistent record regarding the sanctity of marriage, yet they still receive its legal benefits. Many same-sex couples engage in relationships that are equally as meaningful and long-lasting as heterosexual couples'. Why shouldn't they receive the same treatment under the law? And let me give you a hint ... most minority rights groups "can only be identified by a particular aspect" of who they are---it's whatever makes them a minority.
Mr. Bender's statements regarding technology are specious---if homosexual recruitment were occurring, it would make little difference whether it took place on "conspicuous bulletin boards" or "within the confines of ... dormitory rooms." Recruitment to homosexuality is unlikely, unless there is some internal response to the stimulus. I'm sure Mr. Bender would not be tempted to turn in his accepted, comfortable life for a world of frequent opposition, confusion and guilt over a personal quality which he could not deny, even if the homosexual community thought that he'd make a dandy gay man.
Non-heterosexual life is no bed of roses, and it certainly provides more "human suffering" for the homosexual individual (professionally, emotionally, culturally, medically, etc.) than anything the University could inflict on a first-year student. In fact, I imagine that Mr. Bender's fine letter has caused more pain and anger this week than he will ever acknowledge or apologize for. He is a poor reflection on his employer
Megan L. Robertson, resident director (1994-5), Residence Education, Housing Division; U-M graduate