Surreal history


To the editor,


I was disappointed that Reverend Stewart’s letter in last week’s Tribune called my recent proposal to the City Council an effort “to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance against gay, lesbian, transgender people.” Trust me. I’d never propose such an ordinance against these people.

The main point of his letter seems to have been that there is no reason for an ordinance protecting LGBT people since no discrimination complaints have been filed in Montana against employers or landlords. This is partially true. 

Discrimination complaints have been filed against government employers because Montana law requires them to treat employees fairly. But it’s perfectly legal for private employers, businesses, and landlords to discriminate against homosexuals. This is why they haven’t bothered to file complaints.

My proposal is an attempt to remedy this lack of protection.

I think the most disappointing thing about the Reverend’s letter was that it lacked the creative flair of a letter he wrote in 2009 to the State Legislature when he was a school board member in Lima. Courageously revealing his own sexual orientation (heterosexual), he warned legislators about what might happen if they passed a law affording equal rights to LGBT students. 

 “If a young man plays football in the fall,” he wrote, “and then begins to express himself as a young woman and wants to play on the women’s basketball team in the winter,” the school board couldn’t prevent it.

He then went on to worry that “a young lady may choose to express herself as a young man and come to the pool without wearing the top of her swimming suit.”

Finally, he warned about what might happen “if a young elementary girl leaves class to use the women’s restroom, [and] a high school young man who chooses to express himself as a woman also leave[s] class [and] enters the same restroom.”

Reverend Stewart’s 2009 letter delivered a marvelously surreal world of capriciously shifting gender expression. Imagine the star quarterback deciding to play point guard on the girls’ basketball team. Imagine a girl expressing her masculinity by going topless in the school pool (yes, what screams Masculinity louder than a teenage girl’s uncovered breasts?). Imagine a high school “man” leering at an innocent young girl in a restroom.

It’s riveting images like these that I looked for but didn’t find in the Reverend’s latest letter. 


Richard Turner