From: Andy Bauer
I am writing today in response to the several letter writers who spoke Mr. Rupkey’s letters regarding gay people. Hello, fellow community members! My name is Andy Bauer. I am a 27-year-old straight, unmarried male living in Winona. You probably do not know me, but I read your letters to the editor. Would you like to get coffee with me this upcoming weekend? I would like to talk to you in a one-on-one setting in a public place about the content of your letters and what you suggest with your writing. I do not agree with what you have said. But, I can understand why you would think that a homosexual “lifestyle destroys lives, families, society, and a country.” I would be interested in hearing why you think that homosexuals are destroying lives, families, society, and a country. I will agree to this under some certain sets of rules.
1. We respect each other. I am genuinely interested in listening to your opinion and your life experience. I want to hear specific examples of why you believe that homosexuals are destroying lives, families, society, and a country. I will ask questions, but I will not lose my cool. We are adults discussing things we both believe. Yes. We have different viewpoints, but I think we could both learn from each other. For me, I have grown the most when I have challenged my values. We can do this civilly.
2. I would like for you to hear my side and to treat me with the same respect that I show you. I would like for you to hear why I do not believe that the gay community is destroying lives, families, society, and a country.
I have grown up in somewhat diverse communities my entire life. I have been fortunate to have a diverse circle of close friends. This diverse circle of friends has people of different religions, different sexualities, nationality, interests, political views, professions, economic standing, and upbringing. So, when you say that homosexuals are destroying lives, families, society, and a country, I think to the people that I know, and that is where I begin to disagree. I have experienced an incredible amount of wonderful humans in my short time. I would like to share with you some of my experiences and try to humanize the gay community and create personal connections, through stories, about these people. These interpersonal relationships have changed, and still change me as a person. I am still learning more how to be as compassionate and empathetic as I can be.
I believe that you are concerned citizens. I believe that you care deeply about the future and civilization. I want to understand your concerns, and I hope that maybe you can understand mine as well. I am not asking you to change your opinion, but to hear my concerns and what I disagree with in your letters. I am also a concerned citizen. I think we all aim to be the best people we can. I think we try to help people in any way that we can. I think we are all proud of the lives that we have lived. I think we cherish our relationships in our lives. If anything, we are all human. And we are scared for the people and things we love.
Look, I don’t expect to change your minds. And I don’t expect that you will change mine. But, I would like to hear more of your opinion and I would like you to hear mine. At the very least, I would like to understand your opinions better. Even if I disagree with them. Logistically, I don’t know how this would work. But, I am willing to work to figure out a time where humans can talk about issues close to their hearts.
So, friends, coffee?