Kristen Foery

October 1998

A letter to Trent Lott, Senate Majority Leader and, by extension, the entire religious 'right'.

Dear Mr. Lott,

As I'm sure you're aware, gay and lesbian issues have become a hot topic. You seem to have a lot of commentary on gay issues, comparing homosexuals to alcoholics, kleptomaniacs, etc. Because I don't believe you are coming from a position of knowledge, I would like to inform you of a few facts about homosexuality, as well as a few other things I think you should know.

I am a sixteen year old lesbian. And it crosses my mind that I should have waited to tell you that, because now you probably will ignore the rest of this letter. Regardless.

In 1976 the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Homophobia is still on that list.

Gay rights are a huge topic this year, with elections forthcoming. Consider that Ellen DeGeneres made national news as she leapt out of the closet and every other movie has a gay male character.

You are aware of the ex gay movement, I know. The ads that have people such as John Paulik and his wife Linda, both who are 'former homosexuals'. The ads cite Exodus ministry, a 'conversion group'. They urge gays and lesbians to reform their ways and change their lifestyle. You support this movement.

Trent Lott, I am your worst nightmare. As are all of my friends. I am of the next generation of queers. A little bit about us:

We've gotten a lot of publicity lately, ranging from the maddeningly trite of People Magazine to the fairly well researched Rolling Stone article. We have a few role models; Kelly Peterson, Gina DeVries, and Jamie Nabozny, to name a few. We also have many older role models.

We are under twenty one years old. All shapes, sizes, and orientations, all different backgrounds, upbringings, locations across the country, etc. In that respect, just like all other generations of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

We have tended to come out earlier, especially in our early or middle teens. We hear slurs against gays and lesbians in school upwards of a hundred times a day. Many of us have been threatened, beaten, ostracized, rejected, or even killed because of being out. We are more likely to know someone gay in our age group who has been injured, killed, harassed, or threatened because of our orientation than we are to know someone gay who has the AIDS virus. Freedom rings are our token jewelry.

We are as a group the ultimate forgotten niche market. Older gays and lesbians, afraid of being accused of that foolish 'recruiting' myth or of child molesting, which is equally absurd, tend to ignore us. We are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol and be depressed or commit suicide because of fear of rejection.

We start gay/straight alliances and try to fight homophobia. We're accused of being too young to know our orientation. We're everywhere, we're confused, we're teenagers. We have huge support networks. There is a huge backlash against us because of higher gay visibility.

I would like to point out that when Ellen came out of the closet, she didn't have to go to high school the next day.

You, sir, seem to think that homosexuality is a phenomenon that happens after one turns eighteen. It doesn't work that way.

Did you know that you're comparing ten percent or so of the populace to alcoholics? Mr. Lott, you have no idea what you are talking about. Or do you? It's been proven that most extreme homophobes are gay themselves. I know this to be true; several of the most homophobic people at my high school have later shown their true nature.

I made no 'choice' about my sexual orientation. Study after study shows that orientation, regardless of cause, is innate. And all psychological organizations with any credibility denounce 'conversion'.

As for Exodus ministries. John and Linda Paulik are simply two brain dead castrates living in denial. Ex 'ex-gays' have reported the brainwashing tactics of Exodus and it's abhorrent success rate. Furthermore, Linda Paulik never actually had a lesbian lover. She thought she was one. Maybe.

Those two are not 'cured', they have simply had their sexuality eradicated from their life. That is pathetic. They are pathetic. And I hope that whatever rhetoric you spoon-fed them helps them not to hate themselves.

It's hard to read this hatred and garbage, Mr. Lott. After all the emotional difficulty of coming out of the closet, we don't need to deal with people telling us that we can do something that we can't.

I will credit the gay rights movement; they responded to the ads quickly. But as Kate Clinton pointed out, why can't the movement help the broke gay youth organizations and GSA's?

I was never recruited, Mr. Lott. No dyke stomped up to me and made me sign papers to join the queer army. I have a two-parent home. I'm a normal kid. I don't even own a toaster oven.

My generation doesn't like what yours is doing. I'm looking forward to fixing all of the mistakes you have made.

You blame the gay community for the breakdown of traditional family values. I'm sure that you think two people who love each other living together or being married would make the republic fall.

Personally, I blame the narrow-minded zealotry that passes as parenting, pseudo Christianity, and the misinformed hatred of people like you.

Good luck next election, Mr. Lott. I hear your numbers are slipping.


Kristen R. A. Foery
Youth 13-17 Asst. List Manager

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