School Gays

Gaily forward: Congratulations to the Pitch and Bruce Rodgers for the article on gay and lesbian students in our public schools (“Gay Studies,” October 12). The piece was excellent reporting, and both informative and touching. You may be interested in knowing that the Lawrence School Board is in the process of implementing a new policy manual that for the first time will explicitly ban discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation. I am a member of a Lawrence organization, the Freedom Coalition (www.freedomcoalition.org), which, along with Lawrence-Topeka PFLAG, has been working with the school board to include “sexual orientation” in the district’s new policy.

All students and staff in our public schools deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. There should be no room for ignorance or discrimination based on sexual orientation in our educational system. I hope that the Pitch‘s article, along with the work of concerned citizens in our region, will help make the schools safe for everybody.

Mike Silverman


The rights stuff: Thanks so much for Bruce Rodgers’ article on GLSEN-KC. I greatly appreciate the Pitch allowing a story about gay issues. We all need to be educated about diversity and tolerance. There will be no real change anywhere until education is provided about different cultures, religions, and ethnic origins.

The gay community is in a civil rights battle parallel to the Civil Rights Movements of our African-American sisters and brothers. Rights are rights for humankind and should not be based on skin color, gender, or sexual preference.

So thank you again for helping to enlighten everyone.

Shelly Stone

Edgerton, Kansas

Car Wars

Spin city: I am writing to add my support to the Critical Mass campaign to wake up the citizenry of this city to the thought of alternative transportation (“Bike Pains,” September 28). For five of the six years I lived in Minneapolis, I had no car. I depended on my bike to get to work, go to the grocery store, shop, etc. I worked and resided close to downtown, so it made my transportation choices easy. But for anyone who has been to “Minne-Apple,” they know that the city is much more open to alternative transportation, with over 40 miles of paths for biking, skating, and walking that wind around the four lakes located within Minneapolis proper, not 40 miles away, out in some suburb.

The skyways (walkway connections between downtown buildings) encourage walking, especially to escape the city’s brutal winters.

In Kansas City, everything is built to accommodate the motor vehicle. Conserving energy doesn’t even occur to our city planners. I don’t expect this letter to make much of an impact. I live north of the river, where sidewalks are as scarce as hen’s teeth. And bicycle riding is done only if one has a death wish.

Michael Cindrich


The Pack Mentality

It’s a dog’s life: Thank you for drawing attention to the feral dogs near Linwood Boulevard (“Dog Gone,” September 28). While walking my dog last winter, I observed a dog pack in that area. The largest was a magnificent male yellow chow with long, shaggy fur that appeared to be the leader. The dogs were beautiful but at the same time miserable-looking, and one of them was definitely sick. Struggling to keep up with the pack was a yellow chow puppy with an injured leg that appeared broken.

I was losing sleep over this and shared my concern with some sympathetic family and friends. After several telephone calls and an Internet search for information, I felt compelled to attempt to rescue the puppy myself and developed a plan to cut it off from the pack. My trusty fiancé agreed to help on an early Saturday morning. Dressed for combat, we entered the dog pack territory loaded down with a fishnet, a blanket, rope, 5-pound bag of dog food, and two packages of hot dogs.

Alas, our efforts were thwarted when the pack ran across Linwood. Weighted down with so much gear, we were unable to engage in a foot chase. We got everything loaded back in the truck and circled around the block just in time to see them headed toward home. After the pack crossed the street, the yellow male also crossed safely, taking up the rear.

I went home feeling I had given it my best shot and never went back there again. Thanks again for Patrick Dobson’s article about homeless domestic animals.

Dee Ann McCreary

Kansas City, Missouri

A bone to pick: In response to Patrick Dobson’s article about the wild dog pack in midtown, I see them almost every day. I call Animal Control several times a week and appreciate Dobson’s effort to get the city to take responsibility. Once again today they were roaming Liberty Memorial, and it saddens me to know how hard their lives are.

I would ask you to keep up the pressure on Animal Control to get the dogs off the streets before winter comes. And I would ask that your readers who work in the midtown area call Animal Control every time they see the dog pack. Maybe together we can rescue them.

Ellen Eisen

Kansas City, Missouri

Two Rivers Runs Through It

The power of suggestion: I am appalled by the behavior of the therapeutic staff at Two Rivers (Deb Hipp’s “Could It Be … Satan?” October 12). As the article stated, research into repressed memories has proven many times that they are unreliable and often influenced by other members in group therapy or by misguided therapists themselves. The patients profiled in this article actually suffered greater harm being patients in the Masters and Johnson program than if they had not sought treatment at all.

A responsible organization would analyze this and make changes accordingly. This just shows that while mental-health treatment can be misused, it can also be very beneficial if the therapist is professional and current on his or her understanding of modern research and treatment methods. This article also continues to show how old names in psychotherapy continue to dominate the field while not changing to meet current knowledge and changes in the field. Two Rivers should be ashamed of itself!

Nick Crossley, MSW

Kansas City, Missouri

Psych out: Thank you for doing this article. I was a patient at Two Rivers in the summer of 1992.

I was a graduate student at KU and living in Lawrence. I began to retreat emotionally my second semester and I needed someone to identify what was happening to me. One of the college psychiatrists that I was referred to convinced me I needed to go to Research Hospital and commit myself. Of course she made sure I had insurance. At Research I was recruited to Two Rivers by a phone call in the waiting room.

Once Two Rivers got all its paperwork and a $2,000 deposit, I was taken down to the chronic and drug-dependency ward. I sat there waiting to be processed, and after an hour I decided this was not the place for me and I requested to leave. They told me I couldn’t until I saw a doctor, and one wouldn’t be in until morning. I realized then I had no rights and that I had voluntarily signed myself in, and now I couldn’t get out. I was immediately offered a Valium after my outburst.

During my month and a half there, I was on four different drugs, encouraged to stop talking to my parents, and allowed to delude myself with their psychobabble. After my friends pointed out the effects of those drugs on my being, I quit taking them. Of course, the hospital said my system would go into shock. Thank God for those friends who said, “Something is not right.” I began to get much better after I quit their legal-drug taking.

I am doing very well today and as well-adjusted as an artist can be, despite Two Rivers. They almost got me, and I’m more educated than most, so what about those who aren’t?

Name Withheld Upon Request

Kansas City, Missouri

The devil’s in the details: Deb Hipp’s article was one of the best pieces on the craziness of satanic ritual abuse and multiple personality “therapy” I have ever read. That mental health facilities like Two Rivers continue to use these types of questionable therapies is amazing and that the state licensing board allows it is frightening for citizens of the Midwest. Unfortunately, it takes lawsuits and insurance companies’ refusing to reimburse these companies before they stop harmful actions as described.

Dean Hughson

Las Vegas

Crossed Circuits

White out: Kudos to Pitch Weekly for Allie Johnson’s very informative article on Kansas City Power & Light (“The White Power Company,” September 21). I would like to enlighten her to the other end of that story.

Since KCPL has been so overwhelmed with discrimination lawsuits from the black employees, it is now afraid of them, and the white employees are now victims of reverse discrimination, which runs rampant throughout KCPL.

I believe that everyone should be treated equally according to his own individual work performance. However, in the call center for KCPL, white employees are now the minority. Anything that happens is now a black and white issue, when in reality, KCPL management treats everyone like shit!

The call center is a union workshop where management twists the reading of the contract to take advantage of employees any way they can. The business manager for our local is in bed with the company so deep that we have basically no union representation. The company robs its employees by overcharging them for benefits. They also pass over excellent, well-qualified candidates for promotions and promote underqualified employees to meet their minority quota. In the call center over the past two years, there have been 25 new employees hired. Of those 25, only eight were white or “nonminority.” (Who determines what a minority is?)

When things happen within the company that negatively affect the employees or the working environment, everyone complains, but no one stands up for fear of retaliation. If you are one of the few who do stand up to them, you will be harassed and retaliated against!

We have been told by our union president and by KCPL management that as long as only one or two of us are willing to stand up to them, nothing will change. Until everyone overcomes the fear of retaliation and stands up, things will remain the same. It is now a very hostile workplace, where once-strong friendships between black and white coworkers are now challenged.

Name Withheld Upon Request

North Kansas City