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Gay rights should concern heterosexuals also

Rebecca Kaplan's letter ["Poster attack was act of hatred," Oct. 13] was an eloquent defense of National Coming Out Day as a necessary part of the struggle for gay and bisexual civil rights nationally and at MIT. I doubt, however, that the perpetrators of that same day's "Get Back in the Closet" poster attack will pay Kaplan much heed -- after all, they demonstrated a complete lack of respect for her, all members of Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals at MIT, and every other gay and bisexual in the world. Because of that, I would like to provide them with another view.

I am straight. I am also white, male, and an atheist. I have never been a victim of prejudice. I am extremely lucky but I wish I was not. I wish everyone could lead a life free of senseless hatred.

As a society, we have progressed pretty far towards complete equality, but it still seems acceptable to persecute people on the basis of their sexual preference. This is mostly due to the fact that we are all supremely insecure about our sexuality, but it also has roots in the common perception of sexual preference as just that: preference. That attitude is simply wrong. Generally, there is not much of a choice involved, as is the case with race and sex. For that reason, people who openly persecute gays and bisexuals might as well be publicly racist and sexist as well. (Of course, many of them are.)

I am confident that the posterers' prejudices will catch up with them some day. The future is bright, and the recent passing of a gay rights bill in the Massachusetts Senate is testament to that. There is still, however, a distinct lack of gay rights activism in the straight community. I do not have to be hurt directly to be outraged by prejudice, and I think I speak for a lot of people in saying that. I am amazed at the extraordinary self-confidence shown by everyone who organized and participated in National Coming Out Day. Their strength seems even greater next to the pathetic weakness of those who anonymously tried to ruin their day. I hope they have learned a lesson, and I hope their actions have helped more straight people like me to take an active role in the fight for gay rights.

John J. Magee '92->