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The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), October 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

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Danny grows up

Danny Pintauro finds himself trying to break patterns that repeat relationship problems ["He's the Boss," September 26]. He realizes this is good, but that's a sign of getting older. He may find himself an older man stuck in his ways of not being attracted to older men. Twenty-four is older nowadays.

Wayne Bancroft, Hardy, Ariz.

Pintauro is asked if he ever had a crush on fellow actor Tony Danza--to which he answers that Danza was more like a father. Pintauro also adds the common refrain of many young and beautiful gay men, "Besides, I have never really been attracted to older men." Now, Pintauro and the thousands of other younger men who share his feelings have a perfect right to have sexual choices, preferences, and attractions. However, might this not have been better expressed as "I really am attracted to younger men"?

My point is that ageism is alive and well in our community, and it is, in its worst form, as harmful as racism, sexism, or homophobia. It denies valuable role models to the young, diminishes nurturing, and reinforces predatory stereotypes. We all will be better off when the issue of age is removed from the gay lexicon.

Dale T. Read, Hope, R.I.

I have been a subscriber now for a couple of months, and I must say, stories on these former child stars who come out are an A+. Keep them coming.

Michael Anderson, West Fargo, N.D.

Harassment K-12

I just finished George Loomis's sad but telling story ["Triumph Over Trauma," September 26]. I shared Loomis's experiences while in school, but the harassment started for me in kindergarten. On the first day, when I asked if I could play in the girls' section, the teacher replied, "No, only a girl would want to play there." It never occurred to me that I could be anyone but myself, and my tone of voice, gestures, and general effeminacy got me into trouble with my peers, teachers, and administrators. In fact, just about every adult in my world registered their disgust with me at some point in my childhood, including my parents.

Loomis's experience should make us question the line that "we've come a long way." Oh, really? I wonder what the Loomises of the world have to say about that?

Scott Walsh, Brooklyn, N.Y.

As George Loomis's proud adoptive mother, I am glad to see the light of day shone on what he has suffered and am hopeful of preventing future discrimination against other children in similar circumstances. Not to be ignored are the clearly discriminatory admissions policies of the University of California, Berkeley, and the rest of the California university system that exclude any credits earned in independent study programs, which provide local public high school district bigots in California with a handy tool for burying our bright kids alive for any reason whatsoever.

It has become the preferred academic extermination mechanism used to deal with any kid who opens his or her mouth to dissent, to support the rights of himself or another, or to pursue even the slightest exercise of his First Amendment rights. Not only are these children immediately shuffled off to oblivion, deprived of adequate instruction and the company of their peers, but they are--without disclosure to them--being simultaneously deprived of admittance to a university education. In our area independent study transfer has been used against Hispanic, Asian, and other minority students as well as serving as a convenient dumping ground for GLBT students for years. If UC really seeks, as it claims, increased admissions of minority students, this is a policy change it could make that would go a long way in that direction.

Elizabeth Weir, Visalia, Calif.

Olympian ideals

I was pleased to be reminded of Mark Tewksbury in your special report on gay Olympians ["Silver, Gold, & Gay," September 26]. Tewksbury was a featured speaker at a conference I attended in Toronto a few years ago. …

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