After reading a March 31, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article titled “West Bend couple circulate petitions to remove library books they consider obscene,” I felt compelled to look up the Maziarkas on whitepages.com and send them a letter:

Dear friends,

I read about your petition to restrict access to certain library books on jsonline.com. While I understand your intentions, I want to share another perspective.

First of all, citizens will find the books in which they are interested regardless of where they are kept. That is the beauty of this search driven technological world. Your efforts on that front are probably in vain and cause more harm than help for your cause.

Secondly, and more importantly, it is imperative you consider the effects your actions have on youth questioning their sexual identities. I attended Hartford Union High school a few years ago, and many students I knew were very sensitive about antigay messages — so sensitive they were quite unstable. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to struggle with the conflict between religion and what one feels inside. It can tear you apart to know much of the world vehemently hates who you are, especially when you cannot control your feelings. Hearing of people like you who are seemingly against everything one feels can make life ten times worse, and in many cases, that social stigma can drive young people to end their lives. Gays and lesbians comprise a third of the 4,000-5,000 suicides among youth each year, and the suicide rate among gays is around four times higher than among heterosexuals.

I hope you take these tragic facts into account and revise your strategy. You are free to speak your minds, but attempting to impose your political and religious views on others is not worth the additional burden on struggling youth.

How many more child suicides are acceptable to you?

Are 5,000 deaths not enough?

Sincerely,

Charlie Gorichanaz
Madison, Wis.

I attached a printout of “Suicide Note of a Gay Teen” from http://www.suicide.org/suicide-note-of-a-gay-teen.html.