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Homosexuality's cause irrelevant

While I completely agree with the main sentiment of Jason Satterfield's letter ["Breaking the long chain of intolerance," April 28], there is one point in it that warrants discussion. In his letter, Satterfield describes a recent incident at an MIT fraternity party. Two gay students were "scolded" for holding hands and were asked to be "less conspicuous." Satterfield bemoans the "intolerance and mindless hate" (not to mention fear and ignorance) which led to this incident. He goes on to compare discrimination and prejudice against gays and lesbians to discrimination and prejudice against other minority groups. I share Satterfield's concern about the lack of respect and rights that non-heterosexuals like myself confront as part of our lives; he is to be applauded for speaking out for better treatment of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

As part of his defense of equal treatment for non-heterosexuals, Satterfield claims that gay people are "born as minorities" and have "no choice" as to their sexual preference. Satterfield is not alone in the opinion that sexual preferences are innate and determined but it is far from clear that this opinion is correct. In fact, there is evidence to suggest the contrary -- that sexual preferences are (at least to some extent) the result of socialization and acculturation. Whichever view is right, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals deserve respect and rights. Regardless of how people become gay or bisexual, they should not be discriminated against.

Edward Stein G->