Letter sparks strong response

GAY VERNON angered over letter that presented "limited, prejudicial and misguided views of what is or is not a healthy lifestyle..."

On the morning of February the 12th, I, as were a great many other of your readers, was shocked to read a letter that you printed from V. VanBeelen, reflecting on an article entitled “Contestant Seeks to Inspire”, by Jennifer Smith.

In this letter, the author expresses their limited, prejudicial and misguided views of what is or is not a healthy or even a normal lifestyle. The opinions that this person puts forward and further distributed by your paper, I believe, violates Mr. Brian Webb’s human rights, as identified by the Ministry of Attorney General of BC.

By printing this incredibly offensive and prejudicial letter, you have completed the three requirements that are necessary as outlined in the government website provided above, to file a complaint of discrimination under the Human Rights Code.

1- An individual has been singled out

2- An individual has been treated differently and poorly because of a personal characteristic

3- The treatment occurred in a public place

It may have been your opinion and intent that by printing this letter that you were providing a balanced sense of journalism, which a free and democratic society demands and expects.

However, there is a great deal of difference between balanced reporting and providing a public forum for those special interest groups that promote misleading opinion as fact and intolerance, while justifying this message in the name of God.

For the past 15yrs Gay Vernon also known as NOGLO, has represented the GLBT community right here in the North Okanagan, providing a safe and open setting for its members. The organization has also established strong ties with local business and other like minded organizations, including those of the church where members of our society have been married in public ceremonies.

Gay Vernon, strongly promotes those democratic practices of equality and tolerance; supporting education and understanding. It is our hope that your paper, as an equal opportunity employer, also considers GLBT community as part of its circulation base.

In closing, I would like to say that, as a society we have outlawed the outdated notions that certain people may ONLY ride at the back of the bus, that only men should have the vote, that woman are property or that government has the right to dictate what happens between consenting adults in the privacy of the bedroom.

And as an enlightened society our institutions, the press included, are expected to promote the ‘Greater Good’ of its people and not to isolate and belittle them, creating class differences or ghettos of dissent.

Gay Vernon, would very much like to hear from you with respect to the issues raised and to pass those thoughts onto the membership and its affiliated organizations.

On behalf of GAY VERNON

and its Board of Directors