To the Editor,
Statements made by Mayor Bill Mills cannot be seen as just a local incident. Attitudes such as displayed by Mr. Mills remain an issue for the GLBT community, and in this case serves to further the need for more involved positive educational programs.
The fact Victoria Park is a meeting place for those who seek sexual encounters has been known for years. The point is that gay men are singled out by the mayor and that is the crux of the problem. An area such as the park and many other locations are used for this purpose, and is a fact of life for a few individuals regardless of sexual orientation. This is true of cities and towns throughout the world, including Amherst.
The fact Mr. Mills wants to crack down on gay men in particular is of great concern. A few years ago, in a different matter concerning the gay community, he made homophobic remarks based on his right-wing religious beliefs.
He has an obligation as the mayor of a town, to treat everyone with respect and dignity. One does not have to agree with cruising areas and rightfully so, especially in view of the fact that these are public places. However, gay men are only a handful of individuals taking part in this practice.
Of interest is the fact members of Truro Town Council are distancing themselves from the mayor's statements, and that speaks volumes.
Simply put, it means that the majority of citizens are coming to terms with need for equal treatment, regardless of sexual orientation. However, the attempt by some to keep the fires of intolerance burning is not a problem in Truro only, but nationwide.
Gerard Veldhoven, Amherst