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Gay Prom Photos in Need of More Balance

March 21, 1999

It was good to see that you covered the "gay prom night" ("Putting Prom Night in a New Light," Feb. 16). Michael Quintanilla seems to have caught the spirit of an affair that was both serious and a good-natured sendup of the standard high school prom. The pictures accompanying the article were another story.

Mr. Quintanilla wrote: "While most of the guys donned tuxedos (emphasis added) . . . a few, natch, partied in dolled-up drag." Two of the three pictures, however, stressed the minority who attended in drag. This just reinforces the stereotype of gays being ersatz women.

Most gay men have never gone anywhere in drag, even on Halloween. In fact, 90% of all transvestites are heterosexual men. Just as your reporters and editors strive to keep cliches out of their prose, a truly great newspaper needs to be accurate in its photographs. In the future, please shun these simplistic photos in favor of a more rounded, balanced representation of the gay community.

JERRY D. KUHN

Long Beach

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