protecting also those who need it most

The Daily News this morning printed my letter responding to a piece by their own editor, Jonathan Capehart, published last week. Capehart had suggested that Tom Duane was destroying the chances for enacting a state act protecting homosexuals because Duane wanted to include in the statute a category of people understood by very few others.

Just protections

Manhattan: In his Dec. 11 Opinion column, Jonathan Capehart wrote that he doesn't understand why State Sen. Tom Duane is insisting upon the inclusion of the transgendered among those to be protected by the proposed state Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. Could the answer be that Duane knows and understands who needs the protection most, and that is* not newspaper columnists and state senators?

James Arthur Wagner

*small syntax quibble: the last line above read "they are" but the News printed "is"

The letter has been edited down, and the published portion does not include these additional questions:

Could it also be that he understands that he serves an entire community, and that he believes that such service demands courage and not merely professional calculation? Unless he realy believes the stuff he writes, Mr. Capehart should be asking himself about courage and calculation. Would Mr. Capehart have suggested to Martin Luther King, Jr., forty years ago that the stuggle for civil rights could collapse if King did not limit his initial objective to securing protections for those blacks who were most white?
More exciting than the appearance of this letter is the fact that the paper decided to print a second letter on the very same subject today, this one also berating their conservative columnist.
Rights for all

Manhattan: State Sen. Tom Duane is right in trying to kill the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. The transgendered population should not be excluded from having the same protections under the law as other citizens. Transgendered might be a difficult concept for some to understand. That ignorance should not be justification for this discriminatory bill to pass.

Sean Labbe

____________________

BOX STORY:

If Pennsylvania has done it, New York should do no less.

A remarkable thing has happened in Pennsylvania.

The state legislature passed an amendment to the hate-crimes law that made Pennsylvania only the fifth state in the union to protect not only gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, but also those who are transgendered.

In a state renowned for its heartland conservatism, many people were stunned that the controversial bill, signed early this month by Gov. Schweiker, could triumph.

New York State, we need to be reminded, still has no law whatsoever protecting even lesbians and gays.