To the editors.

I am responding to a letter that recently appeared in the Reader [“Behind the Times,” August 24]. The writer refers to himself as “one of many socially adjusted normal readers” so I think it safe to assume he is a straight, white, middle class identified type. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against such individuals as long as they’ve done their homework and come to realize the tools of oppression they allow themselves to become, often without really being aware of what’s happening.

After reading the rest of his letter, I can say with certainty that he’s homophobic.

If the gay movement is a passing “fad” that peaked some time ago, then why was the letter written in the first place? Actually, I never thought of myself as being part of a fad and I deeply resent anyone who attempts to dismiss or in any way belittle a people’s resistance to their oppression, suffering, and death at the hands of socially adjusted normal men down through the ages.

AIDS does not discriminate. But people can and do, and so do private and public entities. Every day that I read about ACT UP’s efforts on not just gays’ behalf but for the sake of everyone who has been or might in the future be infected with the AIDS virus, I’m thankful. (Who is really safe? Think about it.)

ACT UP has dared to pull the masks of deception and complacency (and perhaps complicity too) off the collective faces of government agencies, the medical establishment, and the insurance companies. Just like in the demonstrations against the Viet Nam war, people are daring to take to the streets and confront the legitimacy of the claims of those who act as our caretakers and leaders.

Concerning cancer and AIDS, I’m certainly qualified to speak. My mother died of cancer at age sixty. Her brother died of cancer at fifty-nine. My paternal grandmother died of cancer at fifty-nine. Out of the twelve individuals that I knew who died of AIDS, only one even came close to reaching sixty. And many people with AIDS die of cancer.

There does not and should not be a dichotomy here!

Both AIDS and cancer research should be fully funded. One should not take away from the other. Neither should our government but I believe it does to all our detriments.

Finally, the writer warns the Reader of lost readers and advertisement revenue if it continues in its “obvious support” of the gay movement. Well, aren’t we special! Not really, we’re just a people made up of individuals trying to stake our own claims to the “Life, Liberty, and Happiness” that I recall reading somewhere.

Besides, the Reader knows where it’s at socially and economically these days. All the Reader’s readers are not straight and neither are all its contributors. I strongly suggest that the letter writer take his own advice and “Think about it.”

David Lee Klein

N. Clarendon