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Letter: Coming out week chair

My name is Jessica Rosario, one of the student leaders that Bill English calls a "homosexual activist" that "aims at nothing less than bullying the student body into fully consenting to extraordinarily unconvetional sexual mores."

As the chair for Coming Out Week 2002, I would like to clairfy some of the technical mistakes and misinterpretetation of intentions in English's column. I do not intend to force anyone to agree with my views on homosexuality; however, I will continue to puruse my rights and provide an affirming space in which lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered students can gather.

To begin, in no way have this week's festivities been pushed onto anyone. All events are free and open to the public if they desire to attend. The Kiss-in is not an attmept to force anyone to agree with or participate in the acts; however, it does provide a safe place for same-sex public displays of affection if the attendees so desire.

Furthermore, the NC Pride parade is not an Alliance of Queer Undergraduate Students (AQUA) Duke event, though we fully support it. This event is a statewide gathering of LGBT people and their allies to celebrate a culture that includes the freedom to love whomever a person pleases.

English is also incorrect in claiming that "consenting adults have full license to any and all bedroom activities." In fact, according to the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick, homosexual acts do not fall under the protection of home. Such acts can be regulated at the discretion of each state.

In addition, my efforts in planning COW were not to draw "attention to [our] differences." COW is an opportunity for LGBT and straight-allied students to gather in a comfortable space and to celebrate and discuss issues, political or otherwise. Last year, three hate crimes (murders) were committed against homosexuals in the community, making it painfully clear that not all spaces are safe.

English also claims that we have used our funding for politics, and he is correct. Last year, during both Black History and Latino Heritage months, funds were used to sponsor political speakers and events, and this week's celebrations are no different.

As long as gays and lesbians are discriminated against in housing and employment, excluded from history books and as long as standing up for our rights is considered over stepping our boundaries, LGBT issues will be political in nature.

Last, but not least, whom I choose to love and what issues I choose to address have no bearing on whether I am a decent human being.

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