Readers respond to LGBTQ letter

Apr 08, 2017

In the March 30 Edmonds Beacon, reader Paul Townsend of Mountlake Terrace wrote a letter to the editor disagreeing with the paper’s placement of a story announcing the formation of a support group for LGBTQ family and friends started by an Edmonds residents.

His argument: The article could have been included on an inside page because he felt Edmonds’ demographic included many seniors who hold conservative or traditional values.

The Beacon received many letters disagreeing with Townsend. Here is a sampling:

LGBTQ article deserved to be on the front page of The Beacon

Re: “LGBTQ news gets front-page status?” Letters to the Editor, Paul Townsend, March 30:

The March 23 front-page story in the Edmonds Beacon, “Local woman starts LGBTQ support group,” was a very encouraging article for LGBTQ people in Edmonds, and good material for non-LGBTQs to learn about.

Relegating it to an inner page for fear of annoying a few seniors – and let's not forget that many seniors have LGBTQ relatives – would send a discouraging message to the very people it should encourage or educate.

Condensing the article (why?) would drain the importance of the PFLAG story, which deserves to be told, and would certainly do nothing but good for those who are unaware of PFLAG's often heroic work in the past, or its continued good work today.

I was delighted to see it placed on the front page where it belongs. Edmonds is not, I hope, ashamed of its LGBTQ residents.

Nathaniel Brown


Letter patronized Edmonds seniors

Mr. Townsend, your "respect and care" for everyone is fundamentally flawed. Not only do you show blatantly that you do NOT care for everyone, by trying to hide a story that shows the community supports its LGBTQ members, but you do NOT respect the older members of the Edmonds community.

To suggest that just because they're older, they will be affronted or discomfited by the existence of the article or the PFLAG group, is to patronize them and assume they have ossified in their social views.

I will stand on the stage of McCaw Hall today (April 1), with 200 men, most of them gay, and sing about the right of individuals to live their lives honestly and fully. Many of those men – and many, MANY members of our audience, are "seniors."

I know at least a half dozen Edmonds "seniors" who attend.

I will read your letter to them, before the show, to remind us all of how important it is to NEVER be ashamed of being, or loving their LGBTQ family members, friends, or themselves.

Brian Potter


Seniors support LGBTQ community

Mr. Townsend shows little understanding or respect for his neighbors to the west.

As a recent newcomer to Edmonds, I have met people of all ages, some of them even more senior than I am, who are very aware and supportive of LGBTQ members of the community, including their neighbors, relatives and friends, in Edmonds and elsewhere.

I applaud and applauded Brian Potter and the 200 men with whom he performed with at McCaw Hall to a very full house. It was an inspiring show. I don’t know Brian personally, so even though he "knows at least a half dozen Edmonds seniors who attend,” he can now add at least two more to that number.

I derive little comfort knowing Mr. Townsend is not himself a resident of Edmonds, and I hope Mountlake Terrace is a more welcoming community than his comments indicate it currently is.

Edmonds is becoming an ever more vibrant and diverse community all the time, and the Edmonds Beacon is doing its part to make the community even more welcoming by posting information such as the article about the new support group on the front page. Thank you, Edmonds Beacon.

Lora Hein


Coddling fears not necessary

Mr. Townsend: Coddling white, conservative, upper-class fears is quite unnecessary. First, those dominant views are – and have been – covered in the news forever, while the needs of our LGBTQ family and friends go unmet. Dominant culture is the news, covers the news, edits the news and owns the media outlets.

I think sharing the front page with long-silenced voices is quite overdue. Second, I suspect you underestimate your audience in their capacity to learn and grow and move toward justice. As a white, heterosexual woman, I am glad to live in a time when I see people like myself learning the truth of it: People are born the way they are, and we can choose to celebrate our inherent diversity.

Edmonds is more embracing and justice-minded than you seem to know, Mr Townsend.

Kindly refrain from mapping your bigoted fears on your Edmonds neighbors. Life is so much more joyful when we have faith in others to know and be and express who they are, without shame, hate and violence from dominant culture.

I am also grateful to see mainstream churches doing the philosophical searching that brings them to be mindful of all people. Many churches in Edmonds lead the way in ending hate toward folks who identify as LGBTQ.

While I am a community minister, I and my husband are longtime members of one such congregation: the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation, where we have joined voices of many faiths in standing on the side of love.

Susan Cyr


Queer folk become seniors, too

In response to the letter to the editor complaining that news about LGBTQ community is "out of touch" with Edmond's senior demographic: queer folks get old and become seniors too.

Edmonds has a very diverse senior community. If the Beacon is meant to appeal to all seniors, then that means there's going to be news to interest the LGBTQ seniors.

LGBTQ support groups are not a political issue, and suggesting they are shows a lack of compassion and understanding for the difficulties we face in our lives. Support can literally mean the difference between life and death for us. If you care for us as much as you care for everyone, then don't ask the media to keep the news that affects us out of easy public view.

Cory Hanson


Support for much-needed service

The March 23 issue of The Beacon had an article about an Edmonds woman starting a LGBTQ group. I would like to express my support to Marlene Lund and to the others who will provide a much-needed service in south Snohomish and north King counties.

In this article, it does explain the history of the LGBTQ group and the reasons for the organization to have meetings in our community.

I feel that being on the front page of The Beacon is the appropriate place to inform the community about this vital support group.

Toni Janus


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