Bureaucratic jargon means never having to say you're sorry: I read your article ["Fishing on the Dock of the Bay," News, Dec. 15] with great interest. Are you aware of the work that was done under the lead of the Department of Health Services on this issue? They coordinated with literally dozens of government agencies and local [nongovernmental organizations] to reach out into local communities to bring this message to the communities using established service delivery systems. They were extremely effective in this unique approach which goes so far beyond the effectiveness of merely posting signs.
This group also did create and post signs in six (or was it seven) languages on piers all around the bay (including S.F.). A follow-up survey was performed to check the effectiveness of these postings.
Fishing in the City Coordinator
San Francisco Bay Area
Editor's note: We were aware of the initiative Mr. Rotman references but concluded, after many interviews and much other research, that it was ineffective.
Pretending to be pretentious Angelenos, we'll just call it "the 5" from now on: Regarding your article "The 5 and Whine" [The Apologist, Dec. 29]: You imply in question No. 6 that the name of Interstate 5 is "the Golden State Freeway." This is incorrect. I am a student of city planning with a concentration on transportation planning. The correct and official name of Interstate 5 is "the Westside Freeway" (because it runs on the west side of the Central Valley). State Highway 99 (which used to be U.S. 99), which is parallel to and east of Interstate 5 and runs through Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield, is called "the Golden State Freeway."
Via the Internet
Excellent!: Thank you for your excellent article ["Onward Christian Ex-Gays," Infiltrator, Dec. 22]. Being told by Christians that you and your "lifestyle" are "sinful" and not pleasing to the Christian God is not a recent concept. Many of us are over 40, married women, had children, went to church, dressed and acted the part, and yet ultimately failed at doing something that was completely alien and unnatural to us. I am a 43-year-old gay man who was married to a woman for 18 years and have an 18-year-old son from that marriage. I was not having encounters or relationships with men during this time and tried desperately to "act" straight -- and yet almost everyone who met me was surprised that I was married.
I was never able to fit in with straight men, even the ones who went to church. I learned that being gay has very little to do with sex, even though the Christians will tell you otherwise. It very much is about your entire personality and state of being. Coming out after this experience was much more difficult than it would have been had I not have allowed myself to be lied to and misled by the fundamentalist Christians. I brought myself down and took my wife and son with me. I believe from experience that these organizations are doing more harm than good.
Thanks!: There should be more of these in-depth analyses of these gay-bashing groups. In our days, when science and education opened the door for human rights and progress, there still are groups of people who try to give superstitions the same importance as science, and try to impose them on everybody else.
A big thank you to the author! And to the editors.
Dr. Michael Sharon
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Pointless!: I respect investigative journalism, but why do this? What could possibly be the point of "infiltrating" and reporting on this subject, other than to report negatively on other people's (obviously strong) beliefs? Obviously, this writer has some unresolved issues with people and/or organizations he considers "Christian." Hmmm.