From Our Readers: June 2009

No to Jamaica. Yes yes yes for Iris Sizemore.


I loved OutSmart ‘s May issue and wish to commend Leigh Bell for the excellent job she did in piecing together bits and pieces (plus important slivers) of information I gave her   [“Mother’s Knock-Kneed Cowboy,” ReadOut]. Not only was she accurate with the facts, but she also caught the spirit of my words. Interviewing someone who rattles on about topics relating only remotely to the original question is no easy task, and Ms. Bell did a
terrific job!

Recently, as I was readying to present to an H.I.S.D. school on self-acceptance (which is the theme of my book, The Knock-Kneed Cowboy), I overheard fifth-graders accusing each other of being “gay.” I suddenly felt the pain for GLBTQ youngsters, the pain that many OutSmart readers felt during their own youth.

I would like to extend my encouragement to OutSmart readers to commit to affecting youngsters’ attitudes toward both themselves and others. While GLBT adults are pushing for equality with other citizens, I hope they (you) will remember your own struggles as a youngster who felt “different.” While kids may know about “safe sex,” most today remain unprotected emotionally.

We cannot depend upon stopping ridicule to protect GLBTQ (and other) youngsters’ emotional health. Children must be taught that they have a choice about internalizing others’ comments. That’s where age-appropriate emotional instruction comes in. Show your concern; get involved; ask a children’s librarian for appropriate materials. Donate such materials to libraries or schools. Help protect youngsters from others’ cruel comments, just as you wish someone had done for you years ago.

Billie Willmon Jenkin
Houston, Texas


Kudos to Wayne Besen in his call for a boycott on traveling to or buying from Jamaica [“Jamaica Is a Killer,” May]. A real downturn in its tourist economy may make a change in their policy. However, why did OutSmart publish a Carnival cruise “Gayribbean” advertisement that includes a stop in Montego Bay only three pages past Besen’s column?

Hello! Montego Bay is the second-largest city in Jamaica. Shouldn’t the editorial section and the advertising department be working together, or does the need for ad revenue outweigh the importance of making a “homophobic hellhole” feel the pressure caused by its own hatefulness?

Richard O. Williams
Houston, Texas


I just have to say that the Women’s Group [founded by Iris Sizemore] is a lifeline to women here in Houston. Every week there is a different speaker [who discusses] women’s issues, and then everyone meets somewhere for lunch. All women would gain enlightenment from this wonderful group!

Thank you, Iris, for your hard work.  

Shirley Heller
Houston, Texas


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