Being LGBTQ not a choice
Thank you so much, Mika Hunter Twietmeyer, for your thoughtful guest editorial on Saturday urging teachers to march on at the NC LGBTQ+ Pride Day, Saturday, Sept. 29 on the Duke Campus. I would urge all those who care about equality for all to join in that march as we support our gay and trans loved ones.
As a member of PFLAG (formerly known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the proud mother of a gay daughter, I know how meaningful this day is to all of us who love someone who is LGBTQ+ or anything else! But please, Ms. Hunter Twietmeyer, do not say sexual “preference.” Preference denotes choice, and as a parent who has raised a gay child, I know that this was and is no choice. My daughter was born exactly who she was meant to be and who she was meant to love. Choice has nothing to do with it.
So thank you for your sentiments, but please don’t use “preference.” How about orientation?
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Protest fell short of principles
Once Silent Sam became a focus for protesting against racial oppression, its removal became totally appropriate. But the North Carolina legislature imposed virtually impenetrable barriers to making this happen, and the university administration showed a lack of courage in its response to the legislature.
What I have found most compelling in mass protests against injustices (such as the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements) have been two principles: (1) devotion to non-violence and (2) willingness to be arrested when one violated unjust laws. These build sympathy for the cause and weaken any moral arguments by the opposition.
Last Monday’s actions on the UNC campus fell short of these principles. Fortunately, the violence seems to have been directed against an inanimate object, the statue. But I fear that anyone who tried to interfere would have been violently attacked. Also, it appears that the protesting group sought to hide those who actively brought down the statue in an effort to avoid arrests.
Nevertheless, some arrests have now occurred, and I agree that the specific individuals responsible for removing the statue should face this consequence. The arrests themselves may be sufficient penalty, perhaps with an additional affordable fine and community service requirement. Surely, the penalty should not adversely affect the future lives of those who acted bravely, if rashly in my opinion, for a righteous cause.
I guess we are experiencing a revolution of sorts. Our youth refuse to be placated by the immoral symbols of the past!!!
Brenda Buie Burnette
In this country, it isn’t illegal to disagree with politicians. It isn’t illegal to publicly call the president out for his transgressions. And, it isn’t illegal to protest, speak to the media, write books, or engage in public discourse that the president doesn’t enjoy.
In fact, publicly disagreeing with politicians — from president to local commissioner — are rights that were clearly and purposefully given to us by our Founding Fathers. Actively engaging in public debate is necessary for a healthy democracy. Washington, Adams and Jefferson knew this. So did Lincoln, FDR and Reagan. In fact, 44 of our presidents realized the critical responsibility that Americans have to freely express ourselves.
This is why I’m confused that the legislature is allowing Trump to change the entire fabric of the First Amendment? Why isn’t there congressional outrage, as security clearances are revoked, just because individuals disagree with the president? And, why have Burr and Tillis remained silent as the very fabric of our Constitution is threatened?
I used to respect our Congressional leadership, believing that they acted in America’s best interests. But, I don’t any more. Ever since Trump was elected, they’ve pushed aside the cornerstone of our values and instead kissed-up to a radical fascist with Russian ties.
I don’t know why they’re afraid to defend this nation against Trump’s treason. But I do know that America deserves more from Congress than we’ve been receiving. And, I also know that history will remember this legislature as complicit in the face of a constitutional crisis.