A difficult, but necessary discussion

The letter writer was clearly upset.

Why, he wondered, would the Times put a photo and story about a vandalized rainbow crosswalk on the front page while relegating a story about a GoFundMe account for a family displaced by an explosion to page 3?

Get our priorities straight, we were admonished.

The letter did not acknowledge that the story about the explosion itself had appeared prominently on the front page of the previous Friday issue, thus making the choice for Wednesday’s front page the more timely news story — having occurred over the weekend following the blast.

Perhaps the writer wasn’t aware.

Or perhaps he thought the crosswalk’s defacing was not news.

We would suggest that since it was, in fact, one of our best read stories online that day, clearly, a lot of readers found it newsworthy.

The woman on the phone was not happy.

What were we doing giving space on the Times letters page to a writer whose views the caller found reprehensible — a letter for which we’ve since received a number of responses, both in opposition and in support.

The caller made no reference to the story about the group representing the opposing point of view, which was featured prominently on the front page of the same issue.

Nor did it acknowledge that the letter came in response to one critical of the writer, that was also printed in this publication.

When we hear from people on both sides telling us how obviously biased we are against their point of view, that is when we know we’re doing our job and allowing people on both sides to have their say.

The place we let our own opinion shine through is not on the front page or in which side’s letters we choose to print exclusively, but here on the editorial page.

And we have done that.

We realize that SOGI and LGBTQ rights in general are incredibly divisive issues and that people on both sides have deeply held convictions.

We certainly don’t agree with all of them, but unless someone is threatening or advocating violence, we believe in their right to have their say, however distasteful some may find it.

Rather than be angry that a point of view that doesn’t align with your own was allowed to be expressed, a more effective route would be to write a well-thought-out letter that addresses the other side’s argument, point by point.

But insisting that any point of view that opposes yours be buried — or disallowed entirely — does nothing to promote the type of conversations we will need to have if we are ever going to be able to move past this point as a society.

And a newspaper is one of the places where these difficult discussions need to take place.

Not everyone will agree with this stance. And that’s fine.

That’s your right.

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