As one of the organizers of the SRS Gay Pride Program, an award-winning diversity advocate in my professional life and a Christian, I feel qualified to comment on some of the misconceptions, fallacies and distortions put forth as facts in recent letters to the editor.
FUNDAMENTALIST and/or evangelical Protestants do not define the breadth of Christian identity or the spectrum of belief on modern-day gay identity. Not long ago, the moral outrage displayed in recent letters was directed against interracial marriage, racial civil rights, women's right to vote and slavery. The Bible was cited in all these instances as justification for continued discrimination. Many Christians consider divorce and remarriage a sin, but Protestants do it routinely without the need to endure social wrath - an advantage of being in the majority.
Being gay does not define a "lifestyle" any more than there is a single "straight lifestyle." I trust most of these writers would not identify their lifestyle with that of a heterosexual prostitute or drug dealer. As a gay couple, my partner and I pay taxes, participate in civic organizations, attend church, work hard at our jobs and care for aging parents just like many people living the "straight lifestyle."
I was aware of being gay at age 10, long before any sexual behavior was even physically possible. I was never sexually abused, recruited or otherwise coerced - I just was gay. The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association all agree that being gay is an innate aspect of one's identity. Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person; for gay men and women, this is someone of the same sex.
THE SRS program helped explain a common academic and industrial diversity program known as Safe Space or Safe Zone. Additionally, comparisons with the National Day of Prayer, which is not a Department of Energy diversity program, are unfounded.
Diversity programs are most commonly directed at underrepresented, historically marginalized, or other minority groups - Christians do not meet this definition.
(Editor's note: The writer is a research chemist at the Savannah River National Laboratory.)