Queer: December 2002 Archives

In the current (December 30) issue of The Nation there is a brilliant piece of writing about a brilliant man writing about a brilliant generation of queers, and you'll feel brilliant if you read it. Richard Kim writes about Douglas Crimp writing about AIDS activists, but unfortunately this particular article is not available online, so I can't link anything here.

Well, they can use your money, and the $2.95 will be money well spent. Better yet, on the basis of Kim's review, you and I should probably both spring for Crimp's book itself.

It is this expansive vision that has guided all of Crimp's work on AIDS, and thus, read end-to-end, Crimp's essays are more than individual polemics: They present a counterhistory of the AIDS epidemic. Throughout, Crimp demonstrates an unflinchingly critical gaze in the face of crisis and a determination to articulate a genuinely humane political vision.
The expected villains are attacked in Crimp's essays, but it seems that the real excitement begins when he discusses the self-righteous and moralistic Andrew Sullivan, Gabriel Rotello and Michelangelo Signorile, as he continues to outline the lessons of the past and an assignment for the future.
The task becomes especially treacherous when one takes on sacred cows like Randy Shilts, Larry Kramer and the NAMES Project AIDS quilt, or the deeply ambivalent contradictions within the art and activist worlds from which Crimp writes.
Oh oh.


So the Catholic Church was "fiercely lobbying" up to the last minute to defeat the modest, and decades-overdue, extension of the New York State Nondiscrimination Act (to include homosexuals and bisexuals).

It managed to pass yesterday, although minus any protection for the transgendered, and it was signed into law by the governor.

Yesterday's short Daily News article doesn't mention the notorious word, "lifestyle," but it's permanently etched in the minds of religious and conservative bigots, and in fact it's the basis for their rejection of a good portion of humanity. Next time I or anyone else gets a chance to do some serious lobbying against state protection and encouragement of religion, something which actually is a lifestyle, I want to see the kind of consideration and protection that the Church always enjoys.

The Daily News this morning printed my letter responding to a piece by their own editor, Jonathan Capehart, published last week. Capehart had suggested that Tom Duane was destroying the chances for enacting a state act protecting homosexuals because Duane wanted to include in the statute a category of people understood by very few others.

Just protections

Manhattan: In his Dec. 11 Opinion column, Jonathan Capehart wrote that he doesn't understand why State Sen. Tom Duane is insisting upon the inclusion of the transgendered among those to be protected by the proposed state Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. Could the answer be that Duane knows and understands who needs the protection most, and that is* not newspaper columnists and state senators?

James Arthur Wagner

*small syntax quibble: the last line above read "they are" but the News printed "is"

The letter has been edited down, and the published portion does not include these additional questions:

Could it also be that he understands that he serves an entire community, and that he believes that such service demands courage and not merely professional calculation? Unless he realy believes the stuff he writes, Mr. Capehart should be asking himself about courage and calculation. Would Mr. Capehart have suggested to Martin Luther King, Jr., forty years ago that the stuggle for civil rights could collapse if King did not limit his initial objective to securing protections for those blacks who were most white?
More exciting than the appearance of this letter is the fact that the paper decided to print a second letter on the very same subject today, this one also berating their conservative columnist.
Rights for all

Manhattan: State Sen. Tom Duane is right in trying to kill the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act. The transgendered population should not be excluded from having the same protections under the law as other citizens. Transgendered might be a difficult concept for some to understand. That ignorance should not be justification for this discriminatory bill to pass.

Sean Labbe



If Pennsylvania has done it, New York should do no less.

A remarkable thing has happened in Pennsylvania.

The state legislature passed an amendment to the hate-crimes law that made Pennsylvania only the fifth state in the union to protect not only gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, but also those who are transgendered.

In a state renowned for its heartland conservatism, many people were stunned that the controversial bill, signed early this month by Gov. Schweiker, could triumph.

New York State, we need to be reminded, still has no law whatsoever protecting even lesbians and gays.

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from December 2002.

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