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No Matter How Subtle, It's Bigotry

October 14, 1995

I saw a recent article in your paper that questioned kids about their reaction to the hit movie "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" (" 'To Wong Foo' Delivers Unexpected Message With Its Humor," OC Live!, Sept. 14.)

The reporter described a particular scene in which a policeman is "getting fresh" with one of the main characters, a drag queen whom he has mistaken for a woman.

Well, man or woman, gay or straight, drag queen or cop: When anyone uses physical force to sexually violate another individual, it is more serious than "getting fresh." I found it particularly appalling that a reporter, especially a female, would belittle this depiction of attempted rape.

I wonder too if the character had been a woman instead of a gay man in drag, if the author would have been so quick to trivialize the policeman's behavior.

Sure, "Wong Foo" is a light comedy, but it has some important things to teach us about respect for all human beings. Please stay on the lookout for subtle expressions of bigotry, for they can be more insidious and harmful than the overt epithets your paper would plainly reject.

JACK HERZBERG

Laguna Beach

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