Queer: March 2003 Archives

I'm mad as hell!

And it's not just because my country is about to blow up millions of people on the other side of the world who wish us no harm. I'm a bit upset that my country has been stolen, from all of us, along with our civil rights and the remote hopes of people around the world that we might champion their own human rights.

For two years I've been depressed about not finding people who felt as strongly about these issues as I do and in whose company I felt comfortable and, well, amused. Queer activists, there's nothing like 'em.

Tonight Barry and I spent two fantastic hours in the midst of such a community, and this week we will be with our people on the streets once again. New York now has a group of genuine queer activists organized against the war with Iraq. A lot of you will find you already know many of these people, and they will know a lot of you. Where that won't be the case, all the more exciting for both sides!

Join tons of lesbians and gays under a big pink triangle boasting a particularly colorful peace symbol on Saturday, and also on the day the bombing begins, whether that's before or after Saturday, when we meet to raise a huge, very visible ruckus in the massive antiwar march down Broadway.

On both days, bring big, fierce queer signage and all kinds of noisemakers (maybe earplugs should also be part of your ditty).

For logistical details, email me at james@jameswagner.com

Don't be quiet.

JACKSONVILLE, AR -- The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging officials at Jacksonville Junior High School over repeated punishment of a 14-year-old student for being openly gay. In a letter to school officials sent today, the ACLU demanded that the school stop violating the student's rights and remove all unconstitutional disciplinary actions taken against him from his record by March 21 or face legal action.

In its letter, the ACLU said that school officials "outed" the gay student, Thomas McLaughlin, to his parents against his wishes and have since told him he must not discuss being gay while at school, forced him to read from the Bible and disciplined him for being open about his sexual orientation.

"My school forced me out of the closet when I should have been allowed to come out to my family on my own terms and when I thought it was the right time. And now the school has been trying to shove me back into it ever since," McLaughlin said. "I’m through with being silenced, and I don’t want this happening to other gay kids at my school."

The story. It sounds like fiction, but it groans under the burden of its truth, and it reminds us how far we still have to go before we can establish the basic rights of our sexualities, regardless of our ages. But years ago there would only be silence, and sometimes death. The story which came out of Arkansas yesterday would never have been heard. The victim would have had no defense. Today there is at least hope.

Another thought. First they outed him as a homo, then they persecuted him for being out as a homo. Oh, but it's all not really important, since at 14 he's only a child and he has no sexuality, right? But he's not a child if he commits a major crime. Still, he is a child if he has sex, yet is not a child if he has a driving learner permit, is a child if he wants to drink alcohol. Any of this is still subject to change in different jurisdictions of course, and outside the U.S. there are entirely different stories. What's the answer? I don't think there is an answer which will satisfy every situation, every question. We might have to use our heads and begin to understand that we cannot impose our prejudices or even the huge weight of our statutes upon the truth represented by real human beings.

Some would say it's about decorum. His.

I say it's plain political hypocrisy and homophobia.

The man who claims to be a mayor for all New Yorkers says he will march in the St. Patrick's Day parade again this year.

Parade organizers have long banned gays and lesbians from marching under their own banner, a policy that a federal judge upheld on the grounds of religious freedom 10 years ago.
Bloomberg excuses his insult to all New Yorkers by insisting that it's not up to him to tell parade organizers who they can exclude.
"If I were running a parade, I'd run it differently," he said. "But you know, [if] you're invited to somebody's house, you don't walk in and tell them how to decorate, or what to serve or what the conversations should be."
City Councilwoman Chis Quinn didn't let this one go by:
"I actually find the mayor comparing discrimination and gay civil rights to upholstery, curtains and other decorations offensive," she said. "That's bizarre."
Begging your pardon, Mayor sir, but last October you very dramatically boycotted another celebration of ethnic pride on grounds which you refuse to apply to this one. Columbus Day parade organizers vetoed your marching with two cast members of "The Sopranos," complaining that the hit HBO show negatively portrays Italian-American life, so you treated the stars to lunch elsewhere while the parade was in progress. On the day before the big event you marched in a different Columbus Day Parade in the Bronx, boasting,
"It's great to be in the Bronx and it's great to be at a parade where you can march with all your friends," Bloomberg said as he walked with local officials.
It's obvious that you do not consider the New York area's two million queers to be your friends, and it's absolutely clear that they mean nothing compared to two millionaire television stars.

Hoping to offend only those who should be offended, I finish with a rhetorical question. The Mayor agrees with the atavistic professional Irish in New York who own the Parade, and one federal judge, that their precious rally is first and foremost a service of a religion whose cult members are forced to represent themselves as heterosexual. If their St. Patrick's Day Parade is about the Catholic Church and exclusivley-procreative sex, why are they bellowing and guzzling and pissing in our streets instead of praying in church or fucking and making babies?

Ok, one more rant. None of the devotees seems to have had any problem with a still-married Mayor Giuliani participating in their rites three years ago by prominently marching with his mistress, Judith Nathan.

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from March 2003.

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