March 29, 2010.
Dear Richard Schneider:
Your issue focused on “Gay Rights in the Age of Obama” is good.
I liked the colorful cover picture of the flag being waved around D.C. at the Equality March ’09. In answer to the question, “Where are we now?” I would say much better off than ever before.
Whether or not this is reflected in interest in our community/movement organizations and publications, I don’t know. But for sure there has never been more of these available or more activity and coverage on TV and in print. Just the “news” seen on Comedy Central’s shows, especially Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s show is amazing. And the coverage, since you published, on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell changes is extremely good and mostly balanced — CBS’s Sunday show did a good job this past Sunday. Better than any of the talk shows that compete with it on Sunday mornings. And Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, plus Ellen, etc., are certainly more than the wildest dreamer could have asked for when those early people gathered at Mattachine’s secret meetings in Los Angeles.
As to David Mixner judging Barak Obama, how do we judge previous presidents? My main argument with all these Republicans fussing about the new health care bill is obviously: Then why didn’t you do something in all the past eight years you were in charge?
I thought it very interesting in “Letters” for Larry Kramer to come up with the final thought, about words/terms — “homosexual sounds good.” I am not sure now what I actually thought in reading Marshall Yaeger’s letter (on Kramer’s article in a previous issue), but I do know that Don Slater and ONE/HIC emphasized the “issue” that if everyone can be homosexual or is capable of having a homosexual act, that is really what scares the poor heterosexuals. They love that we are all drag queens, etc., as they don’t have any desire to do be “like them.”
Of course that is not true of a few who are transvestites, but they aren’t homosexual — they just dress like women.
As to the article earlier by Patricia Warren, I think it was, knowing others’ views helps us to examine ours. I think Barbara Hoffman is right — follow the money. Bigots exist, but it is “religious” leaders who make money from pushing fear of homosexuals, as do right-wing politicians.
And John Eilers reminds me of my thought that people who are given the basic needs of life don’t always use their free time, energy, or money for cultural things but do as I do now — watch TV. Only a few get so bored they actually try being creative, much less get out and mow the yard or clean up their house.
But a few of us did use the fact that we had the basic needs (thanks to our family or partners) and used our ability to work for change instead of just buying larger houses, taking more cruises, or buying expensive clothes, or spending money following the various “party” events where you don’t even need clothing.
As to whether we need “gay writers,” they do have to have an income, but how many of those in the past or present who did/do have income, contribute to “their” cause? The good publications do, and now resources on the Web / Internet as is shown by the short update letter from Ken Furtado who says he got an answer to his request for information on Victor Garcia.
In the BTW section, I am glad Martha Stone covers our community/movement workers we lost in 2009. The diversity of their place and work shows that we are everywhere. But GOProud got noticed — in answer as to if they are doing any good for the cause. Being ignored hurts us. And the comment on an “Irish Mrs. Robinson” of the movie type is funny except that the woman, a Member of Parliament, not only took a young male lover but used public funds to help him, all the while attacking homosexuality as an abomination.
And the thought that some people might find the new airport “full body scanners sexy” is interesting — if those who oppose them would use this thought they might get the religious nuts to support them as a way of keeping a few people from getting a little “sexy” pleasure from the thought of the scanners.
And you do make life interesting pointing out that some religious nuts are saying they will ignore laws they don’t like; they sure didn’t think Dr. King had that right. As you say, homosexuals have ignored the anti-gay laws for centuries.
I’m not sure how many LGBT people still are concerned with Oscar Wilde and other literary figures from England. Or for fake celebrities like Andy Warhol, although there are two TV shows on him I saw this week.
But I did find John Lauritsen’s coverage of the book Manly Love: Romantic Friendship in American Fiction of interest because I had never heard of what is called the first gay American novel, Joseph and His Friend (1870) by Bayard Taylor, and I had not thought much about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in our context.
And I do think few people still know much about the French magazine Arcadie, covered in the book Living in Arcadia: Homosexuality, Politics and Morality in France from the Liberation to AIDS. Probably the only reason I found My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene, and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement of interest is that I saw at the same time a documentary on Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights, which was a Jewish area in the 1920s and ’30s and slowly died by the late ’50s. The issue of Communism and support of labor unions was covered. What was not covered was homosexuality — and I think that should be looked into, as this book shows.
I have not seen life in Turkey (homosexual in this case) discussed anywhere else so was glad to have the information. Although it is not good news, it could be worse considering what we hear and see in the daily news. Does the LGBT organization mentioned, Lambda Istanbul, get any outside support? The problem for such groups is that if the government knows outsiders are helping, they use that fact against them (although most governments get outside help from the U.S.).
Subjects for future G&LR issues sound interesting. They may be discussed in some online blogs, etc., but I see few places that actually discuss current problems such as how to judge what LGBT groups are doing what, and in fact few publications even mention the hundreds of groups serving the community/movement. How about an article on where to find such resources, such as Gayellow Pages.
The arrest of Lt. Dan Choi, after what was supposed to be an HRC discussion of DADT, brings up a need to discuss the several good organizations serving each aspect of the movement, in this case homosexuals and the military.
For other legal issues there would be Lambda Legal, NCLR National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAD, etc. And there are the various groups in religion such as Dignity, Affirmation (Methodist and Mormon), Integrity, Kinship, etc.
So you have a lot to keep you busy and readers entertained an informed. Thanks in advance, as the saying goes.