Jealousy's fine: I was thrilled to see the Houston Press article on polyamory ["Meet Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. Jones," by Jennifer Mathieu, November 30]. It is wonderful to have this subject treated thoughtfully and honestly. I have been practicing polyamory for all of my adult life, and it has brought me greater emotional satisfaction than monogamy ever did.
A few things about this piece did bother me, though. I was slightly offended by Jennifer Mathieu's somewhat sarcastic, condescendingly skeptical tone throughout the article.
My other peeve is with the attitude expressed by some of the interviewees. In the poly community, I often hear jealousy described as "a backward emotion," something we all need to "evolve past" or "ignore." This attitude dooms many poly relationships to failure.
I would like to see a poly community that embraces all emotions, including the negative. Jealousy ignored only festers and hurts relationships, whereas jealousy confronted and discussed can be worked through and learned from.
I also want to applaud the Houstonians who came forward and allowed themselves to be interviewed. Thank you for bringing polyamory out of the closet, and for revealing that we are not sick, that we are in many ways ordinary families, and that we are everywhere.
Deck the halls with vows of poly? Thank you so much for writing a good and positive article on polyamory. I have lived in this lifestyle for most of my adult life. Never would I consider monogamy as something good for me. I believe it is a good thing for some people.
Polyamory is not for everyone. It takes courage, honesty and more communication than many people can imagine. I wouldn't trade that for anything. The rewards are so wonderful.
Thank you again for a really good and expressive article.
Kids will suffer: I'm "Brianna's" dad. I don't support this "marriage" whatsoever. And no, we are not "coming around." And if it doesn't matter to "Brianna," I really feel sorry for her but mostly for her children.
Our main concern is that our grandchildren will suffer in the long run. Folks, this is not normal, and as all of us know, children can be cruel. Alex and Andy will suffer at their peers' delight. "Brianna" says that children are so understanding -- yeah, right. She wasn't a boy, she doesn't know. Alex and Andy are going to be the brunt of jokes and teasing, and the sooner these "adults" realize it the better.
The article didn't mention that these people generally don't support themselves. They are getting assistance from all sorts of places (food pantries, etc.). "John" doesn't have a job and hasn't for most of his and "Brianna's" marriage.
These people are playing house, generally being irresponsible to themselves and their children. I could see their activity as not harmful if there were no children involved. Poor Alex is having lots of trouble in school.
Name withheld by request
Freakless: Ms. Mathieu's article had been getting rave reviews, so I was curious and read it on the Internet. I was astounded. That was, without a doubt, the best-written piece on polyamory that I have ever had the pleasure of reading, outside of the poly community itself. And quite possibly within it as well. Not only did she cover the subject matter in a fair, unbiased manner, her writing style is clear, concise and easy to comprehend.
Thank you, Ms. Mathieu, for doing what so few writers and journalists have done: showing the polyamory community as human beings and neither lunatic cultists nor complete "freaks."
Don't work it out: Steve McVicker's story about the tragic death of Donald Davis ["The Private Trial of Donald Davis," November 30] holds an important lesson for all of us: No matter how much you love your work or how much emotional fulfillment you get from it, don't let it become your life.
Davis was so personally involved with each of his cases that every defeat became personal, leading to the depression that eventually led him to take his life. The fact that Davis had no romantic interests and few friends outside his legal practice should have sent up a red flag long before the end came. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" is more than just a clever saying; it's the absolute truth.
Respect diversity: Right on the head! This article ["Gentleman's Agreement," by Margaret Downing, November 30] was well written and accurately portrayed what has happened. The hypocrisy of touting the wonderful diversity of Fort Bend while subtly but effectively sending the message that the best and correct way to be a good person with "Christian" values is to be a Christian.
Having lived here for nearly six years after spending 12 years living overseas, I can say with confidence that the Hindus, Muslims, Baha'is, Buddhists and even those we might label unbelievers all have a conscience that embodies the same values as a good "Christian" does. There are many paths to a spiritual center, and we must follow the one that is right for each of us. True tolerance and respect for others means appreciating their beliefs, not dedicating our efforts to convincing those who believe differently from us that they are wrong.
We are not a Christian nation; in fact, our forefathers came here to pursue religious freedom. Our country's greatness is strengthened by our diversity.
Our schools and other public institutions must send a clear message to students and parents. There is room for us all as long as there is respect. May all of us realize that prayer can be said anytime and anywhere without it becoming a public matter. To just mouth the words of tolerance without living them daily in our schools is talking the talk without walking the walk. That's hypocrisy, and kids know it when they encounter it.
The kid's wrong: I recently read this story about this so-called transsexual, and I am sorry, all you have is a mixed-up kid who has no clue what he wants ["A Diva in the Making," by Melissa Hung, November 16]. He is a he and not a she.
I am appalled at the way they talked about Covenant House. As a former resident who had Ronda Robinson as a counselor in 1983, I know that it never imposed such guidelines. Covenant House was there for me. They took me in when I had nowhere to go. They fed me, clothed me and helped me establish myself, and for that I am thankful. This mixed-up kid needs to seek some therapy.
I can't believe this newspaper even gave the time of day to this joke of a person. Talk to me if you want to know the real truth about Covenant House, and not to some spoiled little brat who doesn't appreciate what someone is doing to try to help him.
Timothy W. Coman
Mental health headway: The consumer members of the Houston Area Mental Health Advocates, Inc. (HAMHA) thank you for your comprehensive article regarding MHMRA of Harris County's profound service delivery difficulties, as well as its relationship to the Mental Health Needs Council and the Mental Health Association ["Catch Us If You Can," by Brian Wallstin and Margaret Downing, November 9].
As a member of the Adult Mental Health Planning Advisory Council of MHMRA and an honorary member of the Mental Health Needs Council, HAMHA has worked to strengthen the consumer voice in Harris County with regard to mental health service deficiencies. Your article provided a rare and wonderful opportunity for consumers to broadcast their concerns.
To clarify the issue of low SSI/Medicaid claim approval rate, MHMRA of Harris County has implemented an SSI Service Coordination pilot that promises to improve the documentation of functional limitation information of consumers in the disability application process.
I hope the Houston Press continues to examine the public mental health services system that indigent consumers so greatly depend on.
Kristi Huddleson, HAMHA president
Class act: Very nicely done, Lisa ["Street Scenes," by Lisa Gray, November 23].
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Chicken-fried heaven: Your writer ["Deep-Fried Greenhorn," by George Alexander, November 30] apparently has never been to Dirty's on Durham off I-10. If he had, he would understand the greatness of the chicken-fried steak. It also shows that Georgie is a sissy non-Texan, because anyone that says this is not a true delicacy of the great state of Texas must be a pussy -- or on a diet.
As a native Houstonian, I can give you a list of places that serve a "true" genius CFS, and the FM 1960 place your punk writer mocked was the best one for CFS in the state. It was outside Tomball, and it was called Goodson's Cafe; not the place called Goodson's now, but a small shack in the middle of nowhere. Sorry, dude, Ma Goodson didn't make it till 2000 to serve the likes of you.
This is the town that made Urban Cowboy a great movie and where you can enjoy a good meal of chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and a cold beer. The Paris eateries may not panic, but it's good to us!
David W. Dealy