The American Family at the Beach

July 11, 2004

To the Editor:

On Saturday, July 10, the president carefully chose the topic or his weekly radio address. Mr. Bush did not address the week’s Senate report on the failures of his administration’s intelligence gathering before the Iraq war. Nor did the Commander In Chief choose to discuss the week’s increasing U.S. body count in his family’s second war for oil. The subject deemed most important for his address was the upcoming vote in Congress on the Federal Marriage Amendment, the piece of legislation written to enshrine discriminationin our nation’s most precious document (“Senate Vote on Amendment,” by Bob Roehr, July 8 –14).

While the president babbled on about preserving family values, my husband and I—yes husband as of December 13, 2003 in Toronto—went to the Empire State Pride Amendment Tea Dance at the beautiful estate of Christopher Browne and Andrew Gordon in East Hampton. As the delectable D.J. Lady Bunny played the best dance songs ever written, I looked around and the profound changes in our community were glaringly evident. Young girls in party dresses twirled on the dance floor with the muscle boys, little boys and their two moms stood on the shore and looked for fish in the beautiful pond, toddlers played with their shovels in the sand pit and conversations stopped so fashionably dressed gentlemen could coo over the party’s youngest guest, a 13-week old boy proudly held by his two dads.

I overheard a comment made in jest by a group of Prada-clad men, “A play area for kids at a Tea Dance! Look at what it has come to!” Yes, he was exactly right. The Tea Dance accessory for this new millennium is Pampers not Poppers. Too bad Mr. Bush wasn’t there to see it. Perhaps he would have realized that the family values he fears are in grave jeopardy are in fact alive, well, and proliferating joyously.

John Caminiti


July 13, 2004

To The Editor:

President Bush keeps saying that “people,” not the courts, need to decide the issue of gay marriage. Funny, he had no problem with the courts, not the people, deciding the last presidential election.

William Stosine

Iowa City, Iowa

Miss Tina’s Big Shadow

July 12, 2004

To the Editor:

Andrew Miller was right when he pointed to trauma associated with losing friends and loved one’s to AIDS as a reason for our community’s addiction to drugs. (“Miss Tina. What’s Shame Got to Do With It?” July 8-14).

However, I think there is more behind all that is “bad” gay behavior than just that particular grief.

Why do we abuse ourselves with cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol at higher rates than our heterosexual peers? Why do we experience certain mental and physical health problems at higher rates? One need only look at the public debate over gay marriage to see how the experiences of being gay in America can lead to illness and destructive behavior. Put simply, growing up gay – with all the textbook experiences—and living as a gay adult in George W. Bush’s America fucks people up.

I believe that the key to decreasing rates of substance abuse, suicide, etc, goes far beyond learning how to deal with AIDS. Until the social, familial, and political context within which we are forced to live out our lives changes, from childhood on, these demons will continue to plague us.

Jason Cianciotto

New York City

July 12, 2004

To the Editor:

I have been reading Andrew Miller’s recent pieces in your newspaper. In fact, they have become the primary reason I cross the road to get your paper out of the tin box on Broadway at 116th Street. His column is always fun to read, especially his heated exchanges with Assemblymember Deborah Glick about same-sex marriage.

His piece on the Reagan era spoke to me and my generation’s concerns in ways very few saw fit to discuss. And the latest piece on crystal meth introduced me to, actually immersed me in a side of gay life that I never get to see, living with my partner up in Inwood.

He is intelligent, opinionated, and researches his subjects well.

Michael V Susi


Pioneers in the Pride Parade

July 9, 2004

To the Editor:

A friend sent an e-mail with your coverage of the New YOrk Pride parade and the wonderful pioneers you mention (“Movement Legends Lead the Parade,” by Andy Humm, July 1-7.). I am sorry that the West Coast has never done such a thing, especially since I have for years pointed out that the movement really started in Southern California. As you quote one of the pioneers, without the movement, there would have been no Stonewall. While circuit parties are ok, common sense should tell young homosexual men and women that they have work to do to keep and expand their/our civil rights.

The saddest irony is that even educators and editors of gay/lesbian publications have little knowledge of the movement, have never seen a copy of ONE/Tangents magazine, The Ladder, or Mattachine Review, or the

later publications, such as Vector. So your readers have at least heard of the great, important work or pioneers such as Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols, Barbara Gittings, and others. They can’t say that they have never heard of those who devoted their lives to getting civil rights for homosexual citizens. Too bad that the TV talk shows—even C-SPAN—don’t have enough interest in those who did the serious work, but instead constantly give us ‘celebrities” who just sit and look pretty.

Billy Glover

Co-founder, Homosexual Information Center

Bossier City, Louisiana

Marlon Brando, RIP

July 11, 2004

To The Editor::

Someone should write an article about Marlon Brando”s performance in the film “Reflections In a Golden Eye.” (“A Force of Nature,” by Jerry Tallmer, July 8-14). I saw that picture in Bangor, Maine when it was released in 1967. Certain members of the audience were very uneasy about the highly secretive, and at the time shameful subject of an army officer’s latent homosexuality, and both hooted and aughed nervously in several spots. I held my breath so much that I damn near suffocated. Brando had the character perfect, right down to the soft, not quite Southern accent that 20-year career military men acquire along the way.

It’s too bad that this film is never mentioned along with the rest of the late Mr. Brando’s resumé. Directed by John Huston, subject-wise it was a revolutionary piece of cinema at the time, not to mention a great risk for an actor of Brando’s status to take on. That still holds true even today, 37 years later: what with “ Don’t ask-Don’t Tell.”

Perley J. Thibodeau



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