I recently attended a Supervisorial Candidates' Forum sponsored by the San Diego Democratic Club. This organization represents the gay and lesbian members of our society and has around 4,000 members.
I knew that this would be a real test of my sincerity and a mind opening experience. I felt that it would be especially tough for me since I had spent 10 years as a federal agent investigating allegations of homosexual behavior in applicants for security clearances.
But I really felt that if I wanted to be a representative of all the people I had to face the fact that these were people too.
I had been advised that all seven of the candidates for supervisor of the 5th District had been invited to attend this forum, and therefore, I was really surprised when I found that only myself and Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald had the courage to attend this meeting and face the tough questions.
I do not condone the life style of the gays and the lesbians, but I do believe that they have the same rights under the law as the rest of our citizens.
What I saw was a group of people who are scared. They are scared about job discrimination, they are scared about being social outcasts, they are scared especially about the rampant spread of the AIDS disease, and the public hysteria forming throughout the country.
They remember what happened to the lepers from biblical times until quite recently, and they fear that they too will be sent off to colonies to await death. What was really sad, too, was that they feared Republicans. They seriously believed that all Republicans were out to eradicate them. I was probably the only Republican speaker at the forum, and I hope that I left them with the impression that a Republican can have a heart and soul too.
I think that it is very important for all of us to educate ourselves about AIDS, and ask for the funds to research and eradicate this dreaded disease.
Fear is caused by ignorance, so we must attempt to educate ourselves so that we might overcome the fear and face and conquer the disease.
RICHARD L. REPASKY