Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, September 05, 2003, Page 27, Image 27

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    September
S. 2003 <
Learning Curve
C im tinued from P age 25
Dangerous ground
t its Aug. 14 meeting, The Dalles school
hoard considered— and rejected— this
“Statement of Affirmations’’ signed by 35 local
clergy:
find this especially offensive and believe it is danger­
ous ground upon which to build one’s self-ideiuity
and self-esteem during these form ative years.
We further affirm that true compassion for those
who are m iolved in a homosexual lifestyle requires
offering them options that are still recognized as phys­
ically, psychologically and morally healthy and safe.
M odem sociology has shown us the pam and grief
associated with the homosexual label and
practice .W e do not wish these consequences
upon any o f our young. Intellectual honesty
requires us not to assume genetics tobe the
determmtng factor for homosexual feelings.
M ore recent studies la short list o f titles is
referenced] by the medical and psychological
community have revealed that a number o f
recovered homosexuals are now leading
meaningful and happy lives as heterosexu­
als. Many o f them witness to their religious
faith as a key in helping them discover their
true maleness and femaleness.
For these reasons vie oppose the approval
o f the form ation o f an official club m our
public schools that would hace the effect o f
legitimizing homosexuality o f any sort.
Rather, we urge the endorsement and pro­
motion o f the positive provisions stated m
? our first affirmation. In contrast to the
3 divisiveness that a controversial G ay
5 Straight Alliance club would certainly ere-
I ate, these positive provisions would help
o promote unity around a commonly recog-
§ nized principle— respect for every person.
A
We affirm the provisions o f The Dalles Com m u­
nity Covenant that call for “respect for every person,
recognizing that all human beings ‘are
endow ed by their C reator with certain
unalienable rights,' as stated in The D ecla­
ration o f Independence” and to “promote
understanding and build relationships
by...en cou ragin g respect by the young
among t h e m s e l v e s . . A s a matter o f ju s­
tice, no one shmdd be treated m such a
manner as to cause pom , rejection and
alienation.
We also affirm that respect fo r the per­
son does not require the endorsement and |
promotion o f homosexual behavior as a j
normal and acceptable lifestyle. Though we
believe that everyone is to be loved, we also
believe that certain behaviors are inappro­
priate. In this “politically correct” age,
being tolerant still provides one the latitude
to disagree with the choices and values o f
others, while maintaining respect for the
person.
We also affirm that professional edu­
cators should not want young, developing
people who are dealing with the sexual
tensions o f adolescence to be labeled as
gay or lesbian at such a young age. We
W hile the battle may be won, the war is
not over, according to Allison. T he two
school districts in T he Dalles merge next
year, and she fears the G SA ’s existence again
will be threatened once a
new board is in power. She
says it’s still unclear whether
there will be a majority of
friends or foes.
hate crime occurs. She responded by saying:
" ‘Excuse me, sir, but this isn’t Law & Order, and
they don’t have to write ‘Die, dyke, die!’ in order
for it to be a hate crime. So it cixild have been.
Was it for sure? Definitely not.”
Although homophobia on the Eugene cam­
pus generally isn’t violent,
Melton admits little things get
to her over time, causing a
sense of intim idation— for
example, “Fucking faggot!” be­
ing yelled at someone or homo-
phobic views expressed in
classrooms. Still, she maintains
her determination.
“Don’t be afraid to engage
the world,’’ Melton advises.
“The oppression of the queer
community will never be
resolved or changed if queers
and allies don’t engage the rest
of the world.”
Always a tomboy, Melton
%
j
was raised among a large, close-
knit family in Cave Junction,
about 60 miles southwest of
Medford in southern Oregon.
By 14, she knew she was queer,
but she didn’t come out to her
family until a few years later,
due in great part to the influ­
ence of her traditional Catholic
upbringing.
Now M elton sees a respon­
sibility in serving as a positive queer role
model. “It’s so vitally important that queer
folks don’t just run from their rural communi-
"It's so vitally
important that
queer folks
don't just run
from their rural
communities,
although
oftentimes
growing up is
extremely hard
for us. It just
goes back to
you're scared
of what you
don't know."
Establishing
community
f p he waters are muddy in
Eugene, too, where ene­
mies and allies mix at Univer­
sity of Oregon. “People per­
ceive Eugene to be a lot safer
than it is," says Maddy
Melton, a 24-year-old queer
senior elected last spring as
president of the Associated
Students of the University of
Oregon.
W hen her apartment was
burglarized March 13, odd
things (a cowboy hat, for
example) were taken, while
more valuable items, such as
checkbook and computer,
remained undisturbed. This
led her to question whether the break-in was
tied to her campaign for student body presi­
dent, her sexuality or both.
Melton remembers the police telling her that
some indication is usually left behind when a
-Maddv Melton
C ontinued on P age 28
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