Letters to the editor (January – February 2001)
Readers respond to stories in the November – December issue of L.A. Youth.
An incredible mom
Yuliana is someone who can give you strength to do anything if you just put your mind and soul into it. A mistake changed her life, but from it came something wonderful. She was able to turn her life around and set a goal to finish high school. Others might have just given up, but not her. Kudos to Yuliana. That kind of positive attitude can get you anywhere.
—Joanna Quach, 14, San Gabriel HS
After reading "An incredible mom," I felt sorry for Yuliana. She has a lot to take care of, but what was a 13-year-old doing having sex? It was her choice to have sex and her choice to keep the babies. She should have thought about the consequences before she did that.
Dr. Bass said that Yuliana was a good role model for other girls, and I agree on some of the terms. She took care of her kids and finished school. But her having sex and kids at 13 is not a role model I want for my 13-year-old sister. She should have thought before she acted.
—Dawna Driver, 17, North High School (Torrance)
Am I American or Chinese?
I read the article of a boy struggling to try to fit in as an American, even though he has a Chinese face. His mom wants him to go to Chinese school to learn his own heritage. My mom tells me to go to Chinese school, but I really don’t want to. Come to think of it, my mom is right, because knowing my own language has many advantages and it will bring honor to my culture and my family.
—Kristy Hwang, 14, San Gabriel HS
Coming from two different cultural backgrounds shouldn’t be as hard as Vincent made it seem. The article made the two cultures seem as different as life and death, black and white.
I am also an Asian American. Maybe Vincent’s making it too hard for himself. Chinese, American, Latin, African, it doesn’t matter where you come from. Everyone should be in the pursuit of happiness and of doing what they think is right. I could have been Chinese, or I could have been American. But I choose to be both.
—Timothy Loc, 14, Alhambra
It’s a guy’s natural instinct to check out girls’ butts and the girl herself. Even if the guy has a girlfriend, he cannot help it and girls also check out guys.
—David Zeng, 14
I never knew big booties were in. It surprised me that many people were not offended when they were complimented on their butt.
Give me a break! The source of the loud/silent noise but yet deadly smell—how can anyone find it attractive or sexy? How shallow can a person be to judge someone by his or her butt? No cute butt will last forever! At a certain stage in everyone’s life, their butt will become pruney and saggy. People need to realize that there is more to a person than his/her butt. What happened to the good old "personality"?
—Ann Tran, San Gabriel HS
Homophobia is a problem at our school
In our last issue, Julissa Espinoza wrote about intolerance toward gay, lesbian and transgender youth at her high school. Her article provoked readers to take a second look at their schools and ask, "Is my school homophobic?"
Students in Bridget Brownell’s class at Taft High School in Woodland Hills confronted stereotypes and the social pressures associated with homosexuality on their campus. They submitted their findings to L.A. Youth. Here’s what they said:
Tal Kohen wrote: People make fun of gays, and people make a big deal out of it. For example, people say, "See that guy over there… he’s gay." And they say it for no reason. They just feel it’s important to announce. Also people say, "Fu–ing faggot, I’m going to kick his a–." It happens all the time. Also, people stereotype other people. For example, people say, "He’s so gay, he sucks at basketball," or "He was talking to that gay guy, he’s really gay."
Even though Taft High School is homophobic, it’s pretty good compared to other schools…There’s nothing to really do about it. People will always be homophobic, but I think it’s wrong and it should be stopped.
Samantha Galupo wrote: Once in my math class our teacher read us a story called "The Hobbit." She came across a quote that this boy in class just had to say something about. The quote was, "He had his father’s queer look in his eyes." Then, out of nowhere, this boy in class yells, "Queer." I found him to be very immature. The teacher then sent him out of the room.
Also, if you go on the upper P.E. field you find the baseball field named Ray O’Conner Field. If you look very closely, the letter R in Ray was replaced with a G. So now it says the Gay O’Conner Field. I thought that was disgusting, because that’s someone’s given name and somebody just decided to do that to it. This could make gay people feel bad.
Tina Monson wrote: People are homosexual and bisexual and heterosexual. You should just deal with it. I have talked to bisexual people. I’ve heard a lot about them being in love with the person, not with their gender. I’ve also heard that everyone is born with their sexual preference, and they later realized it. Some people have to hide their sexuality, because they are afraid of not being accepted. I think that’s sad.
Kenny Gast wrote: There’s this kid at school. He’s homosexual. He gets treated well, but at the same time he’s ridiculed by people. People choose not to sit next to him in class for fear of being gay.
Another example is when a gay person chooses to play sports. He receives problems from his teammates. They don’t want to share space with that person, for fear of becoming gay.
Donald Brown wrote: People who are homophobic are just scared about what they don’t know. Or they think that if they get too close, they’re gong to turn gay or lesbian. People who aren’t homophobic see homosexuals as normal people like they are. They see homosexuals as friends, family, neighbors, business partners, etc.
Vernon Garza wrote: Personally, I do not promote the homosexual lifestyle, but it’s the person’s choice to become homosexual. One should be prepared to accompany that particular lifestyle, choose whether or not to be open about it and think about the consequences.
Society is very opinionated. I’m sure others have different views on the subject.
Shira Okon wrote: I am not exactly sure if my school is homophobic. It could be so-so because there are those people who just don’t care or support GLBT students and those who make comments to people whom they suspect as gay. I myself have not heard the principal say anything about the topic.
I think that most problems come from people who do not know much about the topic. At school, you do not learn about human sexuality until you take health. It could be that a lot of those kids making inappropriate comments are uneducated in this area. What they do not understand is that any type of degradation toward any group of people is like racism.
Samantha Rea wrote: Most people here can accept someone who’s gay, but others are scared of them. The people who accept are normally women and maybe a few guys. The people who are scared are usually guys. Women are able to accept, understand and deal with things a lot better than men. However, some men do fall into this group because they know that gay people can’t hurt them. A lot of women also like having gay people for friends because they have good advice for all problems, they have great taste and shopping partners and they understand. The other group of scared people are usually men, because they feel intimidated by them and maybe jealous. This starts in high school when being judgmental is at its peak. Men also usually face things that scare or intimidate them with violence. I don’t know the reason for that, but I do know they don’t like them.
Teresa Rico wrote: I think that the most homophobic are the boys more than the girls. They think being gay is something of another world. I think it’s OK, as long as they don’t try to get with you. Maybe they act like that because they are afraid that maybe in a way they are gay.
Mansoon Hassanknail wrote: I was in class and we were taking a test. Everyone finished the test and handed it in. Afterward, everybody started talking and this group of guys that sit in the back started to pick on this one guy. They called him, "Gay, cupcake, queer and fruit." Everybody started to laugh out loud, and that was really horrible.
In the P.E. field, this one kid got beat up because people said he was gay. That was really sad to watch. I don’t think that gays feel really accepted and that’s sad.