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Ordinance would protect rights, freedom of us all

As a citizen of the city of Largo I have been reading and following with interest the debate going on about passing a human rights ordinance in the city. I support this idea and I applaud the city commissioners for discussing this issue and I ask them to support the passing of the ordinance.

Why do I support this? There are a couple of reasons. First, how can we as a society say we are for democracy and fair treatment for all when we then become selective about who will have that fair treatment? To say yes, this group can expect democracy, but this group we won't give it to, is nothing short of hypocrisy at its worst. In the end it makes the whole U.S. Constitution a mockery.

We recently celebrated Memorial Day, where we remembered those who died to help preserve our freedoms. We just celebrated the Fourth of July, the birthday of our country. We always say with pride on that day that we are a free nation and how we have the rights given to us by the Constitution to live our lives in peace and without restrictions.

How, then, can we honor those who died for the freedoms we have and celebrate our country's birthday when we know at the same time that there are those who live with the fear that their rights could be denied just because their lifestyle doesn't fit what the rest of society defines as "normal"? What right does society have to tell gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered, "We are a free country but not for you because we don't understand and therefore we condemn you for your lifestyle"?

The other reason why this is of importance to me is because as I said earlier in this letter, I live in Largo. I also happen to be transgendered.

I did not choose to be this way. This is the way I was born. There is no choice involved to become transgendered (or gay or lesbian, etc.). Yet I know there are those who would take equal rights away from me just because they don't understand what I am or what being transgendered is all about. Instead they may just decide to deny me and my brothers and sisters the same rights they freely expect to have because it is easier to deny based on prejudice then to learn about alternative lives and get to know us as people, as individuals. Then, they would have to face and admit that the lies they have heard and the beliefs they have held about us "deviants" are not true.

It is because of this thinking that we need things like the human rights ordinance to protect those who don't live lives that others expect them to. It is a shame we have to have laws like this passed to protect all. It shouldn't be necessary. But until we live in a society where prejudice and hatred are things of the past, until we have a society where all can live in peace and without fear, we will need ordinances like this.

I have always been proud of Largo. I am glad to live in this community and be a part of it. I also took part in serving the community. Just for the record, I was for four years a volunteer patrol (commonly known as a VIP) with the Police Department. By the time I left the Police Department, I had 3,000-plus hours of volunteer time and I was proud to serve every single hour I put in. There is no doubt the time I put in as a VIP helped lead me to my current job as a community service officer with the Florida Highway Patrol.

So I will ask and I would hope, as someone who not only lives here but has taken an active part in my community, that the city will pass this ordinance. We need to see that all who live within this city are protected and have the same opportunity to live their lives without fear of discrimination.

Janet Chandler, Largo

Seminole should follow

Largo's good example

I have to praise the city commissioners of Largo for having the decency to discuss the need for a human rights ordinance in their city. I also am pleased that they are considering having sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression as a minority class.

Largo is following the true principles of a city based on a democratic form of government _ that is, public hearings on a controversial issue.

Seminole, on the other hand, refused to address the same issue. I live right in front of the sign on Park Boulevard that says "Welcome to Seminole." I have been seeking a part-time job at local food markets with no luck. It seems the three local food markets are never in need of bagging help when I apply.

I went to the Seminole city commissioners last March requesting a city human rights ordinance with "sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression" protections. I was told repeatedly that the commissioners were planning a workshop on the subject.

Well, there never was a workshop, but I got a letter from the city attorney, John Elias, stating, "Seminole will continue to monitor the issue of sexual orientation in both the United States and the State of Florida and will continue to evaluate the need for legislative action in the city of Seminole." How is the City of Seminole evaluating the need for legislative action by doing nothing? How is the city of Seminole monitoring the need for a human rights ordinance by not even having an educational workshop for the city commissioners?

As a disabled Vietnam veteran, I salute the city of Largo for being a true democracy. On the other hand, for shame on the city of Seminole for rule by one lawyer's opinion.

Janice Josephine Carney,

unincorporated Pinellas

Wake up to the ways

of the world today

Re: Some practices shouldn't be protected, letter, June 27.

How fortunate for the good people of Largo that Warren Andrews, James S. Miles and Edwin I. Ford are their former elected representatives. (When was that, guys? In the 1950s?) Their homophobic advice to the current government is so ignorant of the times as to be laughable, in a tragic sort of way.

My advice to these three is to enjoy your retirement from city government, take time to read the papers, catch up on stuff like Supreme Court decisions and, oh, by the way, get to really know your neighbors. You might be surprised to learn how many of them are gay or lesbian and are cohabitating. And, in the privacy of their homes, have a richly creative sex life that they find neither "unnatural" nor "lascivious" _ even in good old Largo!

Bob Schur, Dunedin

City needs no more

talk of human rights

Re: Largo's commission has the right idea, letter, June 29.

Just as letter writer Eliska Adema was flabbergasted by the letter that she read from R. Bruce McManus (Human rights policy isn't the right thing to do, June 27), I was flabbergasted at her response.

I am wondering what version of the Bible Eliska reads, because looking for her quotes from the Bible I can find only one, that being "Judge not lest ye be judged." (Matthew 7:1) I was unable to find the other quote, "Hate the sin but love the sinner." This quote is a phrase that can be heard in many fundamental churches today because it is an admonition to born-again believers in Christ Jesus that we as "saved" persons should show and have the love of Christ in our hearts for all mankind with the motivation to bring sinners to Christ.

I was also interested in her reference, "Jesus himself mingled freely with people considered to be immoral in his time." This very argument was used by his critics in Luke 19:7. Let's look at the incident of Zachaeus, a tax collector, hated by all because the tax man was considered the lowest of the low. But on his way to Jericho, Jesus called him down from a tree to be a guest in his house.

The critics of Jesus said the same thing as Eliska has said in her letter, and the answer from Jesus to his critics in those days and today is found in Luke 19 verse 10: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Christ's intention at the time was to bring Zachaeus to the saving knowledge of himself. We read the results of Christ's visit to Zachaeus where he repented of his wrongdoing, sold what he had and gave back to those that he had cheated.

We do love the sinner but we do hate the sin. What is being asked of us (regarding the Largo ordinance) is to not only love the sinner but to condone his sin and to embrace it as normal. This is impossible to do if you read and believe the Bible, which includes the book of Romans.

The city of Largo has gone far enough. We need no further enhancement of the human rights policy that we now have.

Walter LaBorn, Largo

Rights of others destroyed

for those of few sick people

Re: Largo human rights ordinance.

At election time, I sure will remember the names of the Largo commissioners who vote for this immoral policy. The Constitution already protects all the people who need protecting.

There is no such thing as "sexual orientation." You were born male or female _ period. This is a sickness and should be treated as such.

Prostitution, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, sex addiction, smoking in public. These are all sicknesses that are hard to control, so I guess we should just accept them in our society and expose all of our children to them. Let them decide what they want to do.

Why destroy my rights for a few sick people? Remember Sodom and Gomorrah.

What a legacy for Largo. I'll make sure my grandchildren never visit this place. Go ahead, take the easy way out. Legalize everything.

David McCann, Largo