Editor's note: All seven Miami High articles by Robert Andrew Powell are available on our Website, www.miaminewtimes.com.

Steroids: Through the Eyes of a Sophomore
Regarding "Size Matters" by Ted B. Kissell (August 13), Jason DiBiaso's assertions seem to cut both ways. He accuses author Michelangelo Signorile of being harmful to gays because "he factionalizes and divides" the community. This statement was made in regard to Signorile's concern about the expanding abuse of steroids by gays around the country, and in particular in South Florida. Signorile's concern addresses the real medical consequences, psychological implications, and criminal truths of illegal steroid use. His concerns are well grounded, as the ultimately detrimental outcome of nonmedical use of steroids is undeniable.

On the other hand, DiBiaso promotes the events of Miami Beach Hardbodies, an organization that states, "Muscle guys only.... Expect to take your shirt off to prove it. If you don't measure up, you don't get in." This statement, along with DiBiaso's own statement, prompts the question: Who is being divisive within the gay community?

I would be less judgmental if the Hardbodies participants had obtained their musculature solely via hard gym and physical work and not from steroids. These are the same gay men who openly condemn women who have face-lifts, liposuction, and breast augmentation without realizing the deep irony that their physical enhancement is equally artificial and stems from emotional need.

DiBiaso's declarations, his work as a model (code in the gay world for work as an escort), and his perspective of the gay community through the eyes of a high school sophomore (attractiveness and sexual appeal are based solely on physical attributes) lead me to believe that given the choice of sex with either DiBiaso or Signorile, I would be repulsed by DiBiaso and ecstatic over the opportunity to be intimate with the intelligent and thoughtful Signorile.

Alexander Patrick Lamb

Steroids: Smeared with His Own Audacity
It just galls me that Jason DiBiaso, a man who sponsors parties for men who fit his ideal body image, could have the audacity to say this about Michelangelo Signorile: "I think the lady doth protest too much. If someone doesn't allow you in, you find a way to demonize them in order to justify your nonparticipation. And that's essentially what [Signorile] has done. And I think his view has been very harmful to the gay community at large, because he factionalizes and divides a community that can survive only through unity. By being such a divisive element, he panders to those whose self-esteem is not what it could be or should be. And offers them a scapegoat as to why they feel the way you do."

So tell me, how unifying is it to exclude members of the community who don't fit your stereotypical image of how gay men should look? Can't DiBiaso see that he's accusing Signorile of the same attitude he displays in that statement?

Jeff Slone
Atlanta, Georgia

Steroids: Women -- They'll Just Never Get It
Michele Sinisgalli's letter (August 20) in response to "Size Matters" does not paint a very attractive picture of the gay male culture in South Florida. She criticizes the superficial emphasis on physical appearance, which is not entirely a gay phenomenon. Her letter, in fact, is a cliched female complaint about men that applies to straight as well as gay men.

The article on steroid use focused on the gay community because there is such a large number of gay men in South Beach that the practice becomes visible. But for every stand-out body on SoBe, there are many other gay men of average build who go unnoticed. Also, not every buff bodybuilder who uses steroids in South Florida -- or the rest of the country -- is gay.

There are many men who are attracted to others and who form loving relationships not dependent on body appearance. But most men are discerning of beautiful bodies and are quite capable of being aroused by such images. It's in our nature from a distant past, and most women can understand it only academically, not viscerally, as we men do. Notice that I do not differentiate gay men from straight, for they both respond the same way toward their respective gender preference. So don't disparage gay culture for focusing on body image; in fact, it is just a male thing.

Rob Boyte
Miami Beach

Daryl Jones and the White Man's Credibility Gap
I find it rather incredible that Jim DeFede so easily dismisses the possibility of racism in the defeat of Sen. Daryl Jones's nomination to become Secretary of the Air Force ("Only Himself to Blame," July 30). Mr. DeFede was provided with the testimony of Senator Jones, Col. Thomas Dyches, and retired Lt. Col. Jack Connelly. There was no written evidence presented. Mr. DeFede could have said there were conflicting versions but he chose instead to take the word of two white men at face value rather than give equal credibility to Senator Jones.

I do not know those other individuals. I have not seen them helping the community over the past decade, making commitments and keeping them, as I have seen Senator Jones doing. Senator Jones did not talk publicly about the impact of racism as he surmounted barrier after barrier. But we in the NAACP continually receive significant complaints about the impact of race and know that racism is alive and well.

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