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Your views - responses to last week's Whitstable letters page

By Whitstable Times  |  Posted: October 11, 2013

Comments (0)

PERSONALLY I doubt if 'God' had any problem with homosexuality; and more likely the interpretations in the bible.

If however 'God' had a problem, I like to think that over 2000+ years, he (or she) would have moved on with the issue, as has the Church of England.

As for sinners? My partner and I have been in a monogamous and loving relationship for 16+ years; some thing many people would consider commendable.

As for the slogan, ‘Some people are gay. Get over it,’ perhaps it is doing just what it is meant to, stimulate awareness and debate.

Peter Cronin-Hill

Whitstable

IN RESPONSE to D Bryson's letter of 10/10/13, It's just possible that he may have misunderstood what the word 'Gay' actually means.

The buses bearing the slogan may be telling us that people are 'Gay' as in Stupid. On many occasions, my 15 year old daughter has called me 'Gay' (pronounced Gaaaaa-yeeee) because I can't do basic maths or make custard.

Or, it could be a show of disdain for something. Like when I said that I thought Ghost was a terrific film, I was again called 'Gay' but in a more disapproving context.

But I think that stupidity is more of a threat to world peace than a bunch of men who like watching The Sound Of Music and listening to Barbara Streisand. So maybe the slogan is warning us about the amount of stupidity that's present in the world from, for example, the sort of person that still believes in what the bible has to say.

A. Capon (Not Gay)

Whitstable.

I FOUND the letter last week from Mr D Bryson very offensive (Your views, Times, October 10).

I understand that the page is for people to express their views and comments on recent and local news but having a title so insulting in a local newspaper that is read by all ages I found to be very insulting.

Alongside one other person I run the Gay Kent Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gaycanterbury and I would like to draw your attention to some of the comments that have been said in regards to this article.

The Local LGBT community don’t have much to be able to access at the moment in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay and when articles but when Stonewall campaigns are on Canterbury busses I feel proud to know that it’s happening and will hopefully changing people’s minds.

But when comments like Mr Bryson’s are read it can really affect a lot of people like myself. I understand it’s not the view of the paper but for it to be published with such an insulting headline is beyond me.

Stonewall (Lead of the ‘some people are gay, Get over it’) campaign do a lot of hard work in making the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community more acceptable and provide a lot of support for the LGBTQ community, and views like that almost shoves it back in their face and upsets me.

I work in a whole range of different jobs from community development to night club promoting and all in which I try and promote the acceptance of the LGBT community in the Canterbury district.

As gay man myself I think it’s something we should be proud of.

Dean Heckley

by e-mail

FOLLOWING the publication of your recent letter about Stonewall's advertising campaign (Your views, Times, October 10) I would like to take my right to respond.

I would like to start by saying that if the person writing the letter in question has the right to offend then certainly I have the right to be offended.

As it happens I am less offended by the content of his letter (I live in Kent after all and encounter such homophobic views regularly) than I am by your paper’s chosen header.

Why am I so offended by "Take Heed, all you homosexual sinners?" Well to me it is deliberately designed to be provocative and if it was genuinely innocuous why not apologise instantly for any offence caused. Instead the diligent owner of your Twitter feed has consistently defended it as 'not your papers' view' - clearly recognising it as an offensive view to hold!

More importantly we seem to live in a society where you can say what you like as "freedom of speech". I'm not agin this freedom but I am against the freedom to express views which cause damage and harm. Racism, anti-disabled views, sexism, homophobia all fall in to this category. And unchecked they cause untold damage to our society. Did you know that 55 per cent of young people say they've experienced homophobic bullying and suicide rates amongst the LGBT community are well above the national average?

Are these two things unrelated? I think not? Am I being extreme? I think not.

So yes Mr D Bryson has the right to his opinion and yes in our free society you have the right to publish that opinion, but why do it with such a damaging headline - why not simply - state "Stonewall slogan upsets residents"?

In my ideal utopian world the letter wouldn't be published, Mr Bryson would hold his view but we wouldn't live in a society that tolerates and allowed such views to be expressed publicly - after all what is he spreading other than hatred by his extreme statements?

My message to any young people out there that have been upset and damaged by his views and your headline is - it's okay, I'm gay, I'm proud to be gay and you know what to the world - some people ARE gay so get over it!

Jo Frazer (Ms)

by e-mail

SORRY to jump on the proverbial band wagon, as it were about this letter printed in The Whitstable Times “Take Heed all you Homosexual Sinners”.

I am currently writing from New Zealand and am a local to the Kent area usually, A lot of my friends are Gay and religious (sometimes both), and although I understand the need for people to have the freedom to say what they think and feel, I find this letter (and am sure others do too) inappropriate.

Yes there is a lot of support for homosexuality now than there was before and the current slogan going round “some people are gay, get over it” may make those who are uncomfortable with homosexuality a little intimidated or affronted at how outspoken gay rights have become, and yes they may have a point that people can be gay without shoving it down their throats and so feel the need to react.

HOWEVER! The difference between being surrounded by a slogan and a way of life that you don’t agree with that is simply telling you to either accept it or leave it alone, that it is not a big deal to be different, and actually publishing a verbal proclamation that a set of individuals are actually evil?!? This is a huge difference. Just because some people believe it does not make it right to publish.

By saying that someone has brought evil upon themselves is actually quite threatening and implies (as far as Christian beliefs that I am aware of) that the person in question will burn eternally in hell, be a damned soul and have a horribly painful time. I don’t know about you but I find this far more aggressive than necessary, generally peoples beliefs are their own choice and can/should be shared with others at times, but no matter how kind things may seem they should be thought about before being promoted.

Aggressive statements shouldn't be plastered about without thought first.

This is why I find myself annoyed that you thought it appropriate to print a letter that in reaction to (probably from his point of view) a wrong, uncomfortable and intimidating display of public support, essentially states that the people involved reminded him of a passage from a book he believes in that condemns them to aggressively horrible suffering and hurt for the eternity of time and that they have brought it upon themselves........

Is that right?

Rebecca Winsdale-Floyd

by email

I WAS born in Kent and Canterbury Hospital and grew up opposite the Sir William Nottidge School on Invicta Road. I spent my summers on Tankerton Slopes and my winters tobogganing alongside the Thanet Way.

My brother played for Whitstable Wanderers, my sister danced at the local ballet school and my parents were hugely involved in the town’s community.

Whitstable is my home and where I have always felt safe and loved and the Whitstable Times is something that has always been a huge and constant part of that. But I was absolutely disgusted to see a letter printed in the Whitstable Times from a Mr D Bryson regarding the Stonewall bus campaign.

I was even further dismayed by your newspaper’s response, claiming free speech. This newspaper chose to give the article the title “Take heed, all you homosexual sinners.” I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press, absolutely, but this freedom comes with the responsibility of ensuring that those that use their rights to this freedom to spread hate and bigotry are called out and challenged.

I am not going to argue with the religious quote; there is no point and no need. You are correct in what you say, this bigot is entitled to his views, but the Whitstable Times has a responsibility to its readership and to the people of Whitstable to ensure everyone knows that this man does not represent our town.

I came out at the age of 16 and I received all the love and support I could ever have wanted and for this I am forever grateful to the people of Whitstable who knew me when I was going through this incredibly hard time.

So to the readers of this otherwise brilliant paper, I implore you to make your voices heard and to show the rest of the world that this man does not represent your town.

Chas Brickland

USING this as a headline in 2013, shame on you. Whoever the quote was from, this headline jumps out at you, and will fuel the fire of the many ignorant homophobic people who, surprisingly, still exist.

I will not be reading the Whitstable Times any more, the headline gives a good indication of the views of the editor and staff and although I believe in freedom of speech, I also believe journalists should be intelligent enough to create an article that does not offend.

Perhaps it's time to review your equality policy!

S Frewin-Clarke

by e-mail

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