current letters | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
Civic Life and Death in the Gay Apple
What? We can only be consoled by gay people now? This article is ridiculous. Perhaps gays were silent, but I guarantee you that plenty of us were working hard afterwards and that if we were not going out a lot, it was because for awhile the priorities shifted. Sexual persuasion was at the bottom of the list. Wipe yourself out of the nation's consciousness. Hell, even Condit got a reprieve!
Jose de Quesada
Gays Shouldn't Be Silent Or Invisible
Lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender citizens should also look back to the beginning of our civil rights movement in the 50's, and learn how a few people started the work, first sharing experiences among themselves, then reaching out to the public, dreaming that someday later generations would be able to march proudly down main streets across the nation, and have full acceptance in jobs, homes, churches, colleges, government and society.
The dream is close to reality, but it seems that many of us have no interest in knowing our history, or carrying the fight forward [Why Queers Were Silent and Civic Life and Death in the Gay Apple].
During this month when we "celebrate" gay and lesbian history month, just as Hispanics are celebrating their history, we should take the time to visit a gay/lesbian library, archive, or community center, and see what has been done and what needs to be done.
We must remember what it was like when a few individuals began the journey, starting publications, picketing for justice, appearing as homosexuals for the first time on radio and television and in the general press, not knowing what would happen to them. Then, we should appreciate our lives today, not just as Americans, but as homosexual/gay/lesbian/dyke/faggot/queer/trans/bi Americans.
Why Should Queers Call Attention to Themselves?
Was the WTC targeted because there were queers working there? No. Did they rescue straight people before they rescued queers? No. Is every decent person in NYC and around the country and world saddened by this senseless loss of life, and by the equally senseless civilian casualties in Afghanistan? Of course.
What does being queer have to do with it? Except, I imagine queers would be dead for being just that in the Taliban regime, where in this country that is not necessarily the case.
Bronx Pride made a mistake. Of this there is no doubt. I am certain that much of the community recognizes this, including those of us who were involved in planning the Pride march and festival. Of course, knowing the history and background of a problem is the way to avoid it.
I don't know all of that history, but I do know that the community was invited to be involved in the planning. Not just the Bronx community, and not just the Queer Latino/a communities, but all of New York. Most people chose not to support Bronx Pride with time. Some gave money. Others came to the march. A sincere thank you should be sent their way. But for the most part, the lgbt community in New York City was not interested in helping plan Bronx Pride.
It would be simple to claim that the lack of involvement, as well as the resulting controversy over the Vacilón marshals, were due to one person's indifferent attitude or one political appointee's desires (which was insinuated in Cogswell's article), but that would be a gross oversimplification of a much larger dilemma. This is akin to the white middle class attributing African-American and Latino poverty to laziness.
The truth is, when the leadership of our community is splintered and fractured into "boroughism," for lack of a better term, communication breaks down. Racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of oppression are systemic, and thus require a systemic measure for relief. But developing a long term plan for eradicating bigotry through community education requires a united front, not a divided one.
I was, unfortunately, out of town for the ten days leading up to Bronx Pride. I was not here to hear about the very valid and accurate concerns. Had I been, I can assure you, I would have done everything in my power to resolve this matter in a way that demonstrated Bronx Pride's commitment to, and history of, celebrating people who build up the queer community, not tear it down.
While I would not have consented to honoring people who, even under the auspices of humor, made light of lgbt needs and rights, I do want to add though, that there are sensibilities within communities of color about various issues that take forms that are variant from those in the mainstream community.
Nevertheless, please accept my public apology for this misstep, and join me in asking all of us in the world of progressive queer politics to have constructive dialogue and honest continued communication to avoid this sort of obstacle to a united front in the future.
Yours in the Quest for Equality,
Snuff Show Falls Short
Well... no. That is too formulaic as well and all too safe. And the John Brown comparison while quoting the thoughts of Henry David Thoreau shows how badly you missed the boat here. McVeigh and Brown do have something in common, but neither is the tragic anti-hero. And it ain't Emerson's poetic interpretation either.
But I will agree on two points. We created McVeigh and the collective media should be taken to the woodshed on its coverage of him. All that was missing was Brittany Spears advertising Pepsi at the event. May I also add he will not be the last.
Investing in Peace
The trouble is, with over $2.3 billion dollars being sent by the US Congress to Israel each year, we can hardly be non-partisan.
I do not support violence in any form, but I do insist that we reevaluate what the true spirit of democracy is. It is impossible to please all groups in all areas. Deciding what is acceptable in a given society should therefore be dictated by majority consent.
I believe strongly that the overwhelming majority of the Serb populace does not support such displays of "democracy." What takes place in these parades is what gives you people a bad name. I've seen many of them, and believe me these are more than parades. So please do not judge a society that has long held religious and family traditions. You can't please everyone.
I myself am Cuban born, gay and liberal and I find that article full of lies and stupidity. The majority of us Cubans, whether gay or not, wanted the kid to remain in the U.S. for a simple reason freedom something no American will ever understand without living under a communist dictatorship. It had nothing to do with whether the kid belonged with the father or not. The mother gave up her life so the kid could grow up in freedom, nothing more, nothing less.
Regarding Cubans discriminating and not being tolerant towards gays I don't know whether someone tried to kick the hell out of you for being queer and this person was Cuban, but that has never happened to me. People around me accept me the way I am, and no one has ever been thrown a rock or a brick at me.
Last, but not least, learn about the work and principles of the Cuban American National Foundation before you just go along with the U.S. liberal media propaganda which most of the time praises Castro, but hardly ever exposes his atrocities and human rights violation.
"Why Gays Got Attacked in Belgrade"
Just say no to giving them our dollars.
Letter From Belgrade
Our pleasure is mitigated by the fact that there are still individuals who should be in The Hague with him, like Milosevic's main companion, Franjo Tudjman. Also troubling is the fact that the spirit which inspired Milosevic and his followers is still alive and active in our immediate surroundings.
The situation in Macedonia continues to confirm how a low-intensity war is transformed into a full-scale one. This is a war in which people who think like Milosevic are on both the Albanian and Macedonian sides. Cooperation and dialogue have been all but destroyed.
As usual, the international community is showing its proverbial inertia. When will the world hear the voices of Macedonians and Macedonian Albanians who speak of peace and dialogue but whose voices are muffled by the terror of homogenized militants of their ethnic communities?
Will the leaders of the crime and ethnic cleansing in Macedonia one day answer to the Tribunal in The Hague? It won't make a difference to their victims.
Women in Black Belgrade
But one recent chilling episode spotlights a possible reason why they may not be willing to take on the powerful and corrupt Bush Cartel: fear of retaliation.
Greg Palast, one of the few real journalists with the gonads to report on the stolen election and corporate ties of the Chief Thief, is under attack by the Cartel. Mr. Palast has written reports such as "Theft of the Presidency," aired on BBC Television's "Newsnight," and "Best Democracy Money Can Buy," published in The Observer. Mr. Palast recently posted this alert of the attack at gregpalast.com:
"In retaliation for the investigative story about the finances of the George W. Bush campaign, Barrick Gold Mining of Canada has sued my paper, The Observer of London, for libel. The company, which hired the elder Bush after his leaving the White House, is charging the newspaper with libel for quoting an Amnesty International report, which alleged that 50 miners might have been buried alive in Tanzania by a company now owned by Barrick...
My Observer story, "Best Democracy Money Can Buy," looked into the activities of several corporations linked to the Bushes. It was in that article I first disclosed that over 50,000 Florida voters, most of them Black, were wrongly tagged as 'felons,' and targeted for removal from the voter roll.
My entire continuing investigation is in jeopardy."
This kind of blatant retaliation puts our entire country in jeopardy. The Bush Cartel has already denied us our right to vote, denied us our right to choose our President, packed the US Supreme Court with partisans willing to corrupt the law to deny these rights, and reduced most of the media to merely reciting press releases for the bogus administration. Now the Cartel is going after the few genuine investigative reporters left to oppose them.
If the few remaining real journalists are successfully silenced by the Bush Cartel, then next "Independence Day" will be even more hollow than this one. And this one's none too great.
Bush and The Middle East
Seems to me, after eight years, all we have to show for the Clinton administration is a lot of legal fees. Let's call apples-apples and oranges-oranges. Bush didn't create the Middle East problem, and he won't solve it. That's why people outside of the U.S. have such a problem with Americans, because we think we can do it all. We can't. It's their land, let them decide who rules it.
Sympathy from Brazil
Unfortunately, that seems to be universal, since it is done here in Brazil as well. As a bisexual woman, it bothers me a lot that the word 'gay' is used as an insult. I never allow it to be done in my presence, but when I say something the response I usually get is "Lighten up."
There is still a long way to go until gay people will truly be an accepted part of society. Until then, we must keep on fighting. So congratulations on the article, and good luck with the anti-Bush movement. Down here in Brazil we feel sorry for you guysyou deserved a better president.
Telling It Like It Is
Maybe your article will have the unintended effect of helping the gay community understand what gay Republicans face on a daily basis, as well as showing that courage and patriotism is required to take a proud gay stand at either end of the political spectrum.
While I'm sure we'd disagree on many key political/social issues, I really appreciate the courage Weintraub shows in 'telling it like it is.'
Gay-Bashing in the Anti-Bush Movement
Since the Election 2000 debacle, I've become involved with a number of people from NOW, NAACP, Alliance for Democracy and other groups which are definitely not conservative. New to this movement, I can see a lot of their activities with untainted eyes. And Weintraub's commentary really hit the nail on the head.
It really surprised me to find that some people within the more enlightened community (that is, the non-Radical Right community) still harbor views of gays which are demeaning at best. Many of them also hold the same views about African Americans, and people from different cultures. I met one fellow who absolutely prided himself on his open-mindedness, espousing the equality of all people and the importance of supporting the needy. Yet he refused to get into an elevator filled with African Americans!
Coming from the side of politics where the gay and the dark-skinned are only allowed in as tokens, I was expecting something different on the other side of the fence. Well, it is better, but not nearly what it should be.
The last time I was in D.C., I met with a person from the Justice Action Movement and someone from the DC Black Panthers. I commented to the JAM person after the meeting, "You guys have got a problem with people with dark skin," with regards to their interaction with the Black Panthers. She apologized profusely and then said something very interesting: that they actually are aware that they are not treating African Americans completely as their equals in JAM. But, that they intend to fix it.
That is the difference between the Radical Right and the rest of the world. The Radical Right sees heterosexual white males as the dominant species on the planet: anyone else is inferior and to be used solely for the purpose of fattening their bank accounts and enlarging their power base.
The rest of us realize where we are wrong, and are reaching out to fix it.
Open Letter To Mr. Bush
With about 5% of the world's population, the United States produces about 25% of global warming gases. Sabotaging the Kyoto Protocol puts the USA into a position of environmental isolationism and makes it responsible for climate catastrophe.
We ought to be the leaders in tackling climate change. A great majority of Americans recognize that alternative and renewable energy, and energy efficiency, offer enormous potential for creativity, innovation, and profit (which even oil companies like the forward-looking BP recognize). This will be the new economy for the world. We do not want to be left behind and left out.
The voters of the United States, including Florida, rejected you and your agenda. You have no mandate at all, and absolutely no right whatsoever to hijack this country in directions contrary to the desires of the majority of its citizens.
If you fail to reverse your decision to kill the Kyoto Protocol, future generations will not forgive you; you will be the poster boy for environmental and human disaster, and for the decline of the United States as an economic and principled world power.
Mr. Bush, the science is as 'proven' as science ever is, and the international political will is there to tackle climate change. The U.S. must join the world in fighting climate change.
Merlin Montgomery, MD
P.S. There is no prize for guessing that I will be campaigning against Republicans (and your enabling Democrats) for the foreseeable future.
Send your own letter directly to Bush via Friends of the Earth.
Labor's Queer Irish Troubles
I am very disappointed and saddened that unions support this criminal act of discrimination, and that the head of an "equal employment union" would proudly march down the street condoning and promoting hatred of others. I read between the lines.... it's okay to discriminate, provided you have the City's blessings. Maybe that is why so many City workers are treated so badly in terms of pay raises and fairness in the workplace. The City rules, not the people.
The writer is the first openly gay firefighter in New York City Fire Department history, and the founder of the national group FireFLAG/EMS (Fire Fighters Lesbian And Gay/EMS) http://www.fireflag.org.
ILGO and the Behemoth
The issue of press coverage has been tough for ILGO for the past few years. Last St. Pat's, the 10th anniversary of ILGO's exclusion, dozens of people were arrested in civil disobedience, including many of the more than 50 Irish queers who flew to New York to support the protest.
Ironically, that action seemed to receive less television coverage than this year's much more low-key effort. Why? Perhaps because this year's protest was located just three blocks north of St. Patrick's cathedral, and television crews were trawling the area for news. Perhaps because, whatever the moral high ground civil disobedience achieved, it gave us damn little visibilitymost years, ILGO protesters were hustled off the street and into police vans well before the actual parade was scheduled to start.
The parade itself is a behemoth (mind-numbingly boring, but a behemoth nonetheless), and it's hard to work out how fewer than 100 feisty queers can make a dent, let alone disrupt it without having to wind up in jail for more than 24 hours. But by standing on Fifth Avenue, we were seen and heard by every parade participant, and made it onto most television news programs.
ILGO energy is low for a lot of reasons, one of which might be that the Irish immigrant community in NY has shrunk considerably since the early 1990's, with many Irish returning home to a booming local economy, particularly in the cities. Another, I think, is that the organization, which had started off as a social group, became focused around the parade.
The politicization of ILGO had a lot of positive effects on its members and on the group as a whole, but the immense energy it took to put bodies on the streets every March 17th could not help but take its toll. Perhaps ILGO should rethink its St. Pat's strategy, but the group's choices seem to be either maintain some presence or back off.
The latter choice is too bitterit amounts to letting the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the cops, the Catholic Church, and Rudy Giuliani win. Isn't this the struggle of all grassroots organizations: how to maintain focus and energy without being either bought off or worn out? I don't know what the answer to this problem is, but I am proud to have been part of one of the longest-running protests New York City has seen. As ILGO itself says: "We're Irish, we're queer, we'll be here every year."
The Greatest Country in The World
I was born and raised overseas, in a country where no person goes without medical insurance and care, where all people share in the prosperity, and the differences of income are not as pronounced, where the spirit of sharing through government programs is accepted in the true spirit of compassion and Christianity, without the zealous religious fanaticism that exists here.
Please keep up the good work, until the self-effacing cry of the average American that "this is the greatest country in the world" will no longer make a lie of the words, but will be expressed in deeds.
Get Into The Gully
Third Party Imperative
The Justice Department, meanwhile, failed to file in support of defendants rights in numerous court cases while Clinton celebrated increasing the number of police. What about the tripling of the prison population, Bill? Got a plan? Nope, it's punishment over treatment, revenge over empathy. And how about those judge appointments? When we hear Dems arguing that their judge nominee is good to go because he executes prisoners just as effectively as other judges, then we have hardly a nickel's worth of difference between the parties.
You'd think Democrats would learn a lesson one of these days, but now it's Rightward, ho! for the Congressional Democrats, chasing votes that just aren't going to be theirs (fearful white males) while running away from the votes they could have if they wanted! Which is why the New Democrat standard-bearer for 2000 lost! It isn't Nader's fault.
Why does the Left demand more from, and criticize and cut down, people who support their issues most of the time [Ralph Nader's Vanishing Act], but forgive the frequent pain inflicted by the people who mostly sell them out? It's pathological. The trick for a Third Way is to find a spokesperson who transcends an issue focus, because to the Left, nobody is good enough.
That messagethat Ralph Nader was not good enough to represent progressiveswas shrewdly developed and promoted by the Gore campaign, and supplemented by advertising to convince those who liked Nader that they would be helping elect Bush. It exploited the unconscious lefty belief that Virtue will always be humiliated in a confrontation with Politics.
Sometimes I think the Hard Left functions as emotional ballast to the Nut-Wing Right, both with about a 5% voting bloc. The emotionally crippled (don't trust your friends!) balancing the angry paranoids (only trust your friends!) A crucial difference is that the GOPs grant occasional victories to their bloc to keep them loyal. The Dems say "maybe later," but that's exactly what works to keep the loyalty of those who live to be perpetually spurned.
Open Letter To Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire):
First and foremost, the support of the Republican Party to my nation becoming a state of the Union is an oxymoron we must fight together. Puerto Rico is a country with a distinct nationality and culture that has resisted over one hundred years of American subjugation. We are, and will continue to be, citizens of the Puerto Rican nation...state or not. Besides, statehood will give many independence supporters yet another legitimate reason to take on armed struggle as the only viable means to attain independence. This will be a recurring headache to your government with over two million Puerto Ricans in the United States and almost four million in Puerto Rico, all U.S. citizens since 1917.
For the welfare and the integrity of both nations, your Party should favor independence for Puerto Rico, albeit upsetting some loyal millionaire supporters that the GOP has on the island. I urge you to take action to correct this terrible mistake.
Furthermore, due to the traditional military values that the Republican Party upholds, President Bush is better positioned to order the permanent cease and desist of all military activities in Vieques than was the draft-dodger Bill Clinton. Although I understand the need of your troops to be trained with live-fire ammunition in realistic conditions before being deployed, understand that those exercises should be conducted in the continental United States, since that is the country those soldiers have sworn to honorably defend.
Up with Bush! Down with Gay Dictatorship!
Hate cops and American establishment [Confessions of a Cop-Hater].
That is why President Bush won.
Gore Did All He Could
Yes, a democratic Senator should have come forward to support the challenge to the Florida electors, so that there could have been a congressional vote on record. The sad reality is, no one did. There also wasn't one Republican in the House that would've voted to throw out the fraudulent Florida electors.
I think we need to follow the fine example being shown us by Rev. Jesse Jackson who is urging the progressive community to work together.
What is Gore Supposed to Do?
Without democracy, there is no rule of law, only the rule of tyrants.
Democrats Betrayed Us
When he resigned, many disappeared, leaving us with only a few hundred doing media campaigns and congress letters, phone calls, telegrams, and faxes, not to mention online petitions and friend-organizing in an attempt to overturn the certification through electoral defection, or an electoral challenge. We worked pretty hard. And it came to nothing.
There was a real sense of betrayal on this mostly white bulletin board when the Senate unanimously failed to challenge, and the Democrats failed to even support the walkout, except for the one brave soul from California. There was a real sense of identification with, and respect for the Black Caucus. None of us will soon forget who was there when democracy needed them.
Now there are just a few dozen of us still together, working hard to create a grassroots organization holding to principles first, and building on truth. Many of us have no idea if we will support Greens, Democrats, or others in the next electionsbut we are for campaign reform, human counted paper ballot reform, media reform, environmental sanity, and a severe housecleaning in Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court.
I am part of the World War II generation, and have seen enough of those military personnel. Powell is just a hand-me-down from Bush's Daddy, a token black and worthless. Many of us, not just black folks, will never, ever consider Georgie anything but a thief.
Gore Insults Supporters
When I saw a report yesterday that Gore had told black leaders to get behind Bush, I realized that I had reached my parting of the ways with him. My passionate support of him during the election was deflated. I always bristled when I heard the post-election struggle portrayed in personal terms, as if Gore's fight was just about his personal ambition, not all the people who supported him because he was all that stood between the right-wing and the White House.
But telling black leaders to support Bush condones, in effect, the unsavory character of what Bush and his mob pulled off. Why did Gore have to endorse them now, after they cynically stole the election? It's an insult to the people who supported him. Ugh.