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Homosexuals and the Military

April 08, 1993

The reluctance of heterosexuals like Coats to understand and "accept" homosexuals as productive, functional human beings is a tragedy rooted in fear and ignorance. But homosexuals, like myself, should not blame Dan Coats or Pat Buchanan or Pat Robertson or the fundamentalist Christian zealots for our oppression until we've examined our own fear and ignorance. Many of us put our hopes for a semblance of acceptance in President Clinton and then sit back and do nothing else.

We don't march in parades or demand equal rights. We will not put forth an effort to enlighten co-workers, family members or neighbors by showing them that "ordinary guys" like us are sometimes gay. That might be painful. We remain safe behind our heterosexual facades but we are petrified that someone might find us out. Heck, some of us are married and sneak around when we're supposedly working late. We are true cowards with far less conviction than someone like Dan Coats--no matter how shallow his thinking may be.

Unfortunately, homophobia is the saddest reality within the gay culture and probably more harmful than any hatred or bigotry from unenlightened heterosexuals. DARYL VALDEZ

Long Beach

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