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Commentary of '89 : Rusty Kennedy on Crimes Against Gays

December 31, 1989|Rusty Kennedy

During 1989, many Orange County residents wrote about their thoughts and feelings in commentary pieces for Orange County opinion pages. As the year comes to a close, we look back on some of those thoughts.

Name-calling, tire-slashing, thrown objects and violent physical assaults are a regular part of weekend nights in Orange County near gay and lesbian social centers, as bigoted criminals prey on people assumed to be gay.

This hate and extreme vituperation are products of deep-rooted prejudice in our society. People project their fears on people who are different. The message of these anti-gay efforts is clear. It says some people are not hearing from their parents, clergy or teachers that attacking people who are different is illegal, immoral and intolerable.

They are not hearing that gay men and lesbian woman are contributing members of our society. They are not hearing that gays are brothers and sisters and that they have mothers and fathers.

If it becomes acceptable in our society to consider gays less than full citizens with less than full human rights, who will be the next target? What unpopular group will be set upon next to eliminate from our midst? Gays and lesbians are not asking us to join their ranks, only that we allow them to live their lives without fear of persecution.

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