Advice columnist Jeanne Phillips has
advised a homophobic couple unhappy with their gay neighbors to learn
to accept them.
letter, the Tampa, Florida couple asked Phillips to help them
ferret out the “true bigot” in their dispute.
“My husband and I relocated to
Florida a little over a year ago and were quickly welcomed into our
new neighbors' social whirl,” the couple wrote. “Two couples in
the neighborhood are gay – one male, one female. While they are
nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our
turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices.
Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and
someone even suggested that we are bigots!”
“Abby, we moved here from a
conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If
people were 'different,' they apparently kept it to themselves.
While I understand the phrase 'when in Rome,' I don't feel we should
have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our
neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like
to weigh in?”
“I sure would,” Phillips responded.
“The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you
were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation
isn't a 'lifestyle choice.' Gay people don't choose to be gay; they
are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can
change being heterosexual.”
“I find it interesting that you are
unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you
and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are
receiving similar treatment.”
“From where I sit, you may have
chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be
happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who
think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like
yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what
you have been offered here. Please don't blow it,” she added.
Jeanne Phillips says homophobes should be ashamed.)