updated 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/07/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Cameron Diaz
I was enjoying reading about what a refreshingly down-to-earth person Cameron Diaz is until you mentioned that "She eats like a truck driver...then goes back for seconds." Don't you know that most of your female readers are going to hate her now? Why did you have to tell us?
Joyce Salomon Schwitzman, Boca Raton, Fla.

So she can drink like a fish, beat "the s—t out" of most anybody and has a winning-is-everything philosophy. Yes, there is something about Cameron—something very wrong!
Henry Brak, Nags Head, N.C.

What a breath of fresh air! Cameron Diaz is just how I imagined her to be—real. Thank you for an article on someone who isn't afraid to be herself and never afraid to let anyone see her smile.
Dana Donnell, Beaumont, Texas

Growing Up Gay
I struggled with the coming-out process and feelings of despair and loneliness that accompanied it throughout high school. I'm sure the experience would have been a little less painful if I had seen other well-adjusted, proud out teens represented in the media the way they were in your story.
Amanda Eugair, Cincinnati

I too came out at the age of 17, and it was the most important step I've ever taken. It allowed me to live honestly and be who I am. It makes me very happy to see that more kids are taking that step today.
Chris Gibson, Seattle

I am a very straight mother of four straight grown children, but I applaud Jamie Nabozny, Kelli and all of the other brave and courageous young people who make their stand against ignorance and prejudice.
Audrey Cleary, Myrtle Creek, Ore.

As a gay man who has been through the harassment, I wish there had been an article like this when I was in high school.
Gary Lipscomb, Arlington, Texas

With the current political atmosphere of gay-baiting by the GOP and one-sided, misleading ads from the religious fundamentalists, it is wonderful to read about today's young people who are standing up to the homophobes and demanding the right to be themselves. Bravo!
Daniel Patrick Jenkins, San Francisco

Thank you for a wonderful article. As parents of gay children we love very much, we know it is very important to give the public good information and allow them to realize that prejudice in any form hurts every member of a family. Being gay is not a choice; it just is.
Frieda and Leonard Saraga, Jacksonville, Fla.

After years of torment and nearly tearing our family apart, my brother Steven finally set himself free. He told me he was gay. To his surprise, most of the family suspected it. Now for the holidays Steven's boyfriend John joins in the celebrations and is accepted as one of the family. There are many who firmly support family members and friends who have done something wrong. Why can't we do the same for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who haven't?
Paula Valdez, Houston

As the mother of one of the teens in your story, I thank you for sharing this important topic with such candor and objectivity. It is equally important to direct these youths and their parents to support groups that offer information and assistance: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), 202-638-4200; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 212-727-0135; National Youth Advocacy Coalition, 202-319-7596; Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, 212-809-8585. These organizations are more than willing to assist any youth and his or her family with the journey so many of us have traveled.
Carolyn Wagner, Fayetteville, Ark.

One in 10 children is gay. If you are teaching your children to hate gays you might be teaching one of them to hate himself. That is a form of emotional child abuse.
Anne R. Samuelson, Cedar Rapids

I was very discouraged to find your article on gay teenagers. Homosexuals are trying to find acceptance in a society that knows that kind of lifestyle is not appropriate. I'm sure you are aware that many young people read your magazine. I feel you could write about positive issues with teenagers rather than focus on the negativity of homosexuality.
Carrie Donald, Las Vegas

Krystle Newquist
Way to go, Krystle! She deserves thunderous applause for her decision not to wear the Softball jersey with the name of a tavern. She is a great role model. She is also apparently more mature than her team's coaches and officers. How dare they get a local tavern to sponsor their teenage softball league!
Claire Sewell, Houston

I chose early in life not to drink or support the use of alcohol because my father died in a drunk-driving accident. Twenty-two years later I have never regretted that decision. Hold your head up, Krystle! You are doing the right thing.
Ronnie Sleeper, Corinth, Miss.

Leonardo DiCaprio
My 16-year-old daughter, Jessica, has leukemia, and about a year ago I wrote to Leonardo's manager asking for an autographed picture. Knowing he must get thousands of such requests I was astounded when he not only sent a picture but also a personal letter with very encouraging words for Jessica. I think it's sad that the media wants to portray Leo in a bad light. Let's not forget that he is a young man thrown into the spotlight and that he will make mistakes. I just know he has a big heart and that he made my daughter very happy and optimistic.
Christiana Beglinger, Seattle

Thank you for your stories of proud, strong young people, including new gay advocates, the teenage softball player and the injured gymnast visited in the hospital by Leonardo DiCaprio. I am left with a feeling of promise for the future and a deeper respect for PEOPLE.
K. Barnes, Berea, Ohio

Can we have the name of the catalog that will be selling the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial rose?
Kate Sturgill, Pickerington, Ohio

The Jackson & Perkins toll-free number is 1-800-292-4769.—ED.

It was a sad day for me, a 31-year-old mother of two small children, when I heard Shari Lewis had passed away. I have been watching Shari and Lamb Chop all my life, and when my first child was born he gave me the excuse to watch them again. God bless Shari and her family. She will be missed.
Michelle L. Beyer, North Canton, Ohio

One of my favorite pictures of my brother Nate was taken when he stood proudly in full cowboy regalia for his appearance on TV with Buffalo Bob Smith. His smile said it all! Buffalo Bob put that same smile on the faces of "kids" young and old.
Mimi Waybright, Walkersville, Md.

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