The University Record, October 22, 1996


Battle still rages over
sidewalk chalkings

Eight days later and the battle still goes on. So, as one of the few who can claim to have joined in all of the College Republican's chalkings this year, I feel a responsibility to respond to the small war that seems to have started.

First, the chalkings done by QUP were not merely "pro-gay" as Katie Hutchins would have us believe. QUP's chalkings were blatantly anti-heterosexual. "A pair beats a straight," "Join a Fag Frat," or, my personal favorite, "Sorority women are lesbians." I'm the one being offensive?

The hate, Mr. Neal, was spread by QUP. None of our writings called for "violence against other members of our community," as you wrote. That some of our members covered over QUP chalkings was an unfortunate lapse of judgement. The additions, that I saw, at least, were light-hearted plays on words.

I doubt that Mr. LaLonde has had to change his phone number because of harrasing calls from College Republicans. What is unacceptable is that Nick Kirk should have to keep his number unpublished in the first place, much less that he should have had to change it this week.

We are the civil ones, Mr. President. To Miss Hutchins' implication that the CRs are "bigots" and "homophobes," I must answer emphatically that we are not. I oppose homosexual behavior. Nothing more. Nothing less. As with most Americans, I do not think of homosexuals as less than human, for we are all created equal. I will defend their right to practice their "sexual orientation" to the end.

I do, however, consider their behavior to be immoral. I will not assign and I will not accept the assignment of moral parity, for it is impossible to do so and maintain a civilized society. Sexual orientation is not like race. It is a learned behavior, a choice, not a consequence of genetics. We are all created equal, but all of our actions are not.

Am I a bigot for standing up for my convictions? Am I to overlook the fact that homosexuality is an immoral lifestyle, so that I may "celebrate diversity?" I guess I should ignore the words of John Adams. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and a religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Ryan LaLonde, obviously, knows more about preserving civilization than John Adams ever would.

Finally, let me return for a moment to the claims that we are intolerant of other views. While I do not support the altering of QUP's chalkings, where were the O holy supporters of free speech when our flyers were being pulled down? And where were they when Republican chalkings were altered or destroyed?

Oh that's right. Mr. LaLonde and his friends are liberals. "Free speech for me, but not for thee." "This is what we believe, if it's not offensive to anyone." No right or wrong. Just do what feels good. You can affirm behavior, but you must affirm everything because everything is morally equal.

To borrow a word from my 8th grade sister . . . whatever.

Jim Riske, engineering sophmore

U-M should continue work in field of human sexuality
Bruce Bender's letter (Oct. 1, 1996) concerning transgender and transsexual issues reminds me of the discomfort expressed by many when women went outside the home for employment during World War II and began wearing "men's" clothes and smoking in public.

And I recall the dismay of Russell Kirk, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, when he learned in 1971 that a staff office ("Human Sexuality Office") had been established at the University of Michigan to provide services for lesbian and gay male students.

I am happy to have been for 23 years the co-coordinator of the HSO," which was renamed the "Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office" only in the mid-80s. I believe that the office, which in the early 1990s added "Bisexual" to its formal outreach and title, has significantly contributed to the University's moral leadership and to the well-being of countless lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, people uncertain of their sexual orientation, families and friends of the foregoing, and many others.

Since 1969, the year of the "Stonewall Riots," many bodies---politic, religious and educational---have been inspired to support the concerns of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. The rights of transgender and transsexual persons have more recently come into broad public awareness and discussion: I am pleased that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office (the present title), under the leadership of Director Ronni Sanlo and other staff members, is advocating for these rights now as "LGBPO" has done in the past.

May the university continue and expand its work in the field of human sexuality---a risk-taking and much-appreciated endeavor.


James Toy, affirmative action representative, Human Resources/Affirmative Action