May 12, 2013.
Dear Richard Schneider:
It may not be what editors seek, but I usually find articles in publications not just interesting on their own, but relevant to issues in the real world now. But first I admit I thought, as I read the articles on homosexuality in other nations in your publication, of reading such articles in the 1950s in ONE Magazine.
I do wonder if anyone else will think of the issue of Chelsea Manning and the San Francisco Pride fiasco when they read the article on Spain, as it connects Lorca (Federico Garcia) with the war; fascist and Communist, and where he fit, etc.
The same theme is in the coverage of Cuba and Jamaica, and how politics affected/affects life of homosexual citizens. By the way, I gather our government did finally let the Cuban come to the Equality Forum event.
I had mixed thoughts on David Thorstad’s interview with the Cuban visiting the U.S. It is strange to hear that trans people are thought of as leading the effort to change things sexually in Cuba. I personally did not find drag queens here ahead of the middle class people like those in ONE and Mattachine and DOB. They were “out” in a sense but did not work for their civil rights in a way that would change society. In the 1950s transsexuals were non-existent, and transvestites were protesting they were not homosexual and were not out enough to be working for change.
And while I do not say he was claiming it, I do not believe that the visitor could have any valid view of this nation based on his first, short, visit. I am not sure who he visited with, and what places he went to, but it would take a lot of contact, and perhaps reading a lot of our publications and study of our history to really know how good life is for us today. Perhaps if he judged us by seeing a Pride parade, that might be a clue, but like in Cuba, there is still harassment of bars and people are still being attacked on the street. There is less government persecution, but how would he know that?
The whole issue of life for women in India is current, because they are not men and because they are lesbian and thus it is they who suffer when they are raped, not the men, no matter which religion dominates.
Religion is our worst enemy, and for women and it seems still for blacks. There is, for example, a church in Texas that preaches (from the Bible) that there should be separation of races, by law. So it is not surprising to read that such churches send missionaries to Africa, and we have the organization representing “Christian” churches telling the government of Malawi to keep anti-gay laws. It is referred to by MCC, which is strange, considering our MCC. Apparently ignorant people can not see the hypocrisy in the use of the Bible here to justify slavery and separation of race—thus making black citizens second-class citizens, and then black preachers using that same Bible to preach hatred for homosexual citizens.
I am not sure that, as we have to worry about Islam and the attempt to impose sharia law on everyone, we can ignore what is covered in the article on Israel. I had not known of the hypocrisy there shown by the marriage issue. Living in Louisiana, I am well aware of hypocrisy, both religiously and politically—shown by the fact that we have a law against gambling, but by using the term “gaming,” we now have six riverboat casinos in my area. (A “double” case of hypocrisy because those in the northern part of the state—WASPs—always spoke badly of those in the south—mainly French Catholics—for their gambling, drinking, all-night dancing, Mardi Gras. and today we have more of it than they do.) But I had not known that, again, sort of like Islam, the only marriage there is religious, and so only Orthodox can marry, and yet they let other citizens go to another country and marry and then that marriage will be recognized. Religion makes us hypocrites.
And I sure was surprised to learn that Plato thought the same way as right-wingers on marriage—that it was only for having baby.
Finally there is the question not of how Beye thought of himself but how we should. He used the word “gay”: he said as it was the word society used. But if I understand him, he denied he was bisexual (in theory) yet had been married (heterosexually) twice and had four children. He tells us most had no problem with his living with men, and this is truly what many in our community say is the way to change society—just to be. Let your children and others learn to deal with you. I did not understand how he dealt with himself—if he had thought about homosexuality, had been active in helping himself and others understand it and work for civil rights.
Like those who work for our cause today, the book on letters we got at ONE Magazine were what made us happy to go to work each day, knowing that we were helping people who had not known there were resources to help them and that there were people working for change: to make the nation gay-friendly (or as Don and Dorr preferred, homosexual-friendly). I of course believe that the world is better today not just because some celebrity recently came out, but because since 1950 there have been homosexual men and women who devoted their lives, at great cost in some cases, to educating people about homosexuality, using classrooms, courts, and even the streets.