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Lions Roar : September 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2012 13 Letters to the Editor THE DEATH OF RAYMOND TAAVEL I come from an old-fashioned place in Nova Scotia where “gay” is a four-letter word. When I moved to Halifax in 1997, it was the first I was ever knowingly exposed to homosexuality. I went to a computer college where one of the teachers was Raymond Taavel, the Shambhala Sun staff member who was murdered in April. Instantly rumors spread about the “gay teacher,” and although Raymond was kind and profes- sional, the rumors, combined with my stereotypical opinion of what it meant to be gay, consumed my mind. A couple of months later, my girlfriend and I were having drinks at a local pub when we were approached by Raymond and a male companion. I felt awkward, never before having been exposed to this type of social interaction. Raymond knew it too, telling me he would respect my space if his presence was too much for me. I told him his respect was all I needed. Raymond sat at our table, and we began joking and having a great evening. He was very candid and open. After some time I thought, “What the hell am I intimidated about?!” It was Raymond Taavel who, in a sin- gle night, dismissed every stereotype and misconception I had about what it meant to be gay. He was a great teacher, a kind person, and a strong rights activist. He helped this country bumpkin realize how wrong it is to judge people. My wife and I are going to miss him dearly. Kenny Marsters Kentville, Nova Scotia Truth, beauty, and openness are often tar- gets for the darkest impulses. My heartfelt condolences to your wonderful and lov- ing community at the Shambhala Sun. Peace and light be to Raymond. John Bush Brooklyn, New York DIVERSE DIVERSITIES With every respect to the many great articles I’ve read in your magazine, I find it dominated by male images and articles written by or about men. Whether in tra- ditional or modern Buddhism, there are many wonderful, positive women, such as the Dalai Lama’s mother and the great Machig Labdron, and many female role models outside of Buddhism, such as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Are men more important or more evolved than women? Can we please see some greater representation of women? May Adams Kaikohe, New Zealand I love your magazine and its articles, but I am a little saddened by the fact that it features predominately white people and, of course, Asian Buddhist monks and masters. Is there no room for Latino and/ or Black Buddhists who are doing positive things? I am a Mexican-American Bud- dhist and I would love to read about the spiritual experiences of people of color. Maybe your editors can contemplate this. Dave Padilla Benicia, California I am intrigued by reader Jen Evans’ ques- tion, “Can someone not be both Bud- dhist and conservative?” (May 2012). As a subscriber who has read every issue from cover to cover (sometimes twice) for years, I am hard pressed to recall any- thing that overtly intends to “follow along the liberal way of thinking about govern- ment handouts and spreading the wealth around.” Maybe this is how Ms. Evans interprets your numerous articles on generosity, step #1 on the Buddhist path—serving oth- ers with no intent of personal gain. Fun- damental to the global transformation at hand is a rising awareness of our univer- sal interdependence and the resurgence of