1. Archive

Courage of gay speakers was real story

The Times report about the School Board meeting on April 28 missed the important story. The presence of David Caton, Tampa troublemaker, and his supporters to protest the Gay and Straight Alliance student support group at Largo High School was reported at length. You also noted that "some of the roughly 50 speakers supported GASA."

In fact, half the speakers (and many in the crowd) passionately defended GASA. More important, most of those speakers were gay men and lesbian women who identified themselves with courage. They spoke with eloquence and pain about their own experience of harassment and abuse growing up gay or "perceived to be gay," or searching to understand their sexual orientation in a homophobic society.

The important story Tuesday was the voices of gay residents long silenced by the all-too-real threats of a fearful culture.

The Rev. Dr. Harold M. Brockus, vice president for

advocacy, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians

and Gays) Pinellas, St. Petersburg

Opposition shows need for gay support

It seems to me that the opposition voiced at a recent Pinellas County School Board meeting to the Gay and Straight Alliance at Largo High School actually reinforced the need for some sort of organized plan to help these young people.

It is bad enough when you go through school, and life in general, feeling that you are so different as to be evil in some people's eyes. The additional fact that fear-filled (as opposed to love-filled) religious and other conservatives would find it necessary to organize against you would seem to add weight to the validity of supporting students whose safety and well-being are so obviously at risk.

Mark Davis, St. Petersburg

Faction's noisy intrusion unwelcome

Re: Your report on the April 28 School Board meeting.

I believe you are missing the real story, that a noisy faction is seeking to impose its interpretation of religion on the entire community. I find it grossly offensive that people require me to read their Bible, their way. How dare anyone prescribe how God is to connect with any of us? I wish the negative clergy members who spoke at the School Board meeting would preach often that harassing and beating people up is a sin. If they did, we might not need a GASA.

Eileen O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg