Inbox — July 23, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Trans Support
I understand your What a Week and its “world-classness meter” should probably be taken somewhat lightly, as it is entirely subjective, usually satiric and oftentimes just in fun. However, the recent criticism of the upcoming Louisville Forum event, “Growing Up Transgender,” combines two traits that are extremely toxic when mixed: ignorance and snarkiness (LEO, June 25). To criticize the event because a transgendered person is not appearing is maybe not an indictment of this event or them, but rather of us and our ability to accept them.

Many transgender people just want to “pass” — as belonging to the gender they identify with — so to be recognized as differing from that would be an anathema. It would be like having a conference on “superheroes and their secret identities” and then rebuking the same for not coming forward and revealing theirs. Believe me, the metaphor is apt, because what these youths deal with and how they cope day-to-day with society’s hurdles is nothing short of super-heroic. They need support, not criticism, even if well intended.
Bob Brousseau, Crescent Hill

Pass on the Puff
In regard to Robin Garr’s article about smoke-free al fresco dining (LEO Weekly, June 25), are we now so intolerant of smokers that we can’t even share outdoor space with them? As a non (tobacco) smoker, I find it absurd that even the whiff of smoke impairs one’s ability to enjoy a meal. For the very few times I’m able to eat out, my al fresco dining experience has been affected by leashed dogs, loud motorcycles, exhaust fumes and all manner of wild beasts. None of these has affected my ability to enjoy having food served to me while eating outside.

If we really want to clean the air in Louisville, perhaps the best way would be to reduce the number of coal-fired power plants. It doesn’t help that we have nominated a coal-defending Democrat, Alison Lundergan Grimes, to represent us in the Senate. Nor does howling about too-weak EPA regulations that would help mitigate the effects of coal as we eat our salmon niçoise salads seasoned with microscopic coal ash and sulfur compounds. Not to mention the lack of investment in public transit that would reduce the amount of fumes we are huffing from that passing Ford Taurus as we drink our lunchtime cocktail.

Another lunchtime hazard more dangerous than outdoor cigarette smoke is the chemical additives in our lunches, including the Monsanto-grown corn-sourced high fructose corn syrup in our Beam and Cokes or the insecticide-coated romaine salads that go so well with balsamic vinaigrette. Chew on that.
John Beechem, Highlands

I hereby apologize to the motorcycle riders along Bardstown Road and other area thoroughfares if my recent attempts to express, or even have a complete thought while walking or dining outdoors, interrupted the roaring of your engines. I realize that the marketing line that loud engines are the ultimate American form of self-expression is indeed correct.

Words, however, are just noises produced by modulating vocal chords, and when you’ve heard one of those, you’ve heard them all.
Brian Arbenz, Cherokee Triangle

Document and Discuss
On June 29, I watched the documentary “Documented” on CNN. Jose Antonio Vargas tells his story of coming by himself to the United States from the Philippines in 1993 when he was 12 years old. Leaving his mother behind, he lived with his grandparents in California.

Despite living the past 21 years as an undocumented American, a very intelligent, industrious Vargas went to college and became an outstanding young journalist. Through it all, he lived in constant fear of being found out as being undocumented. He shows great courage in coming out at a time when immigration reform is such a hot-button political/justice issue.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner should call their respective bodies of legislators together for a required viewing of the 90-minute film and then discuss. “Documented” could be a catalyst for initiating some productive bipartisan work on an important issue that’s not going away.

Kudos to CNN for airing the documentary. The other two cable news networks, Fox News and MSNBC, should also air it so that no one is deprived of getting a chance to view Vargas’ story.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews