Like Liza With a Z

August 16, 2004

To the Editor:

I appreciate the coverage Gay City News gave to the staffing problems at the Village Voice (“Village Voice Fires Richard Goldstein,” Aug. 12-18). I hope your newspaper continues to follow this story as it develops. To your credit I believe this article shed more light on the firing of Richard Goldstein than the New York Times piece.

However, I saw one seemingly small, but glowing error in Paul Schindler’s article. As a lover of r&b singers from Bessie Smith to Etta James to James Brown and beyond, I was sorry to see the misspelling of Janis Joplin’s name. She never, ever went by Janice. As her famed increased, she became known to many as simply Janis!

Look forward to reading more. 

Richard Myers

New York City

The Margaret Cho Flap

July 30, 2004

To the Editor:

Thank you for the excellent piece on HRC’s decision to nix Margaret Cho at the Boston event. (“Notorious H.R.C.,” by Andrew Miller, Jul. 29-Aug. 4). I especially am grateful for Miller’s swift investigative work, ability to get people to speak on the record and thoughtful and balanced analysis of the ways this action is firmly rooted in the tradition of HRC’s failure to work in partnership with other groups.

While our community needs a strong and effective HRC—and I for one am grateful for their recent successes—we also need an HRC that works in true partnership with other community organizations. My heart may remain with the smaller, more progressive and more visionary National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, but my brain knows how important it is to have the strong lobbying voice that HRC provides.

One small correction—the Cho bookstore was on Polk Street, the 1970s version of Castro Street in San Francisco.

Eric Rofes

San Francisco

August 10, 2004

To the Editor:

Andrew Miller’s recent article has come to my attention via my fellow committee members for the Michigan HRC Steering Committee. While the remarks that you receive from them may be reactionary in nature, my belief is that your article was rather even-handed and balanced. I agree that HRC needs the support of all of its members, and I personally disagree with their canceling of Margaret Cho at the recent Unity event (although I can understand why).

It is a failure of our democracy when a performer has to be censured because her views and statements may be considered controversial. It is truly sad that the right wing could successfully use her remarks as fodder for their campaign to effect a negative reaction from the populace.

Your points on alienating some members of the LGBT community (particularly the transgendered) are valid. I would argue, however, that support for the hate crimes and worker non-discrimination legislation, while not inclusive of transgendered individuals, is an important first step. While Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force may disagree, I don’t believe his comments on HRC’s Cheryl Jacques are helpful. We need not to cause division in our already outnumbered community.

While it may have been apparent that the Federal Marriage Amendment wouldn’t pass before the vote last month, HRC’s efforts in mobilizing voters to influence their representatives in Congress against the issue are helpful. And finally, regarding HRC support to block state-specific anti-gay marriage amendments: Mr. Foreman must also realize that the support of HRC can only go so far. Despite HRC being one of the best-funded gay advocacy organizations, its budget is significantly smaller than that of its right-wing enemies. Realize, however, that HRC has been instrumental in supporting efforts to defeat the constitutional amendment against marriage in Michigan—contributing a significant sum of money to do so.

Joe Wozniacki

Fraser, Michigan

A Community Divided

August 17, 2004

To The Editor:

As a longtime gay activist and Oklahoma City gay and lesbian community leader, I would like to know when we all became the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community rather than the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT). Was there a vote that I missed? Or did a faction of our community decide to take over no mater what the cost to our community, and say that they were our leaders and this is what we are now going to be called? Please educate me as to who made that decision and why.

Most of us remember when we were one community instead of the alphabet soup that we are now. But I will concede the G & L or GLBT, but when your articles consistently have to mix up the world and community by reversing the letters it is a terrible disservice to our community. In other cities in this country and around the world where someone made the decision to change the order of our community “letters” it has hurt our community. One simple example is the LBGT Centers cannot be found in the phone directory. If someone in need or from out of town calls information for the gay and lesbian center, they will not find it. We all lose.

One day when we all work as one we will be able to get things done again. Only with a singular voice will we show strength. To separate ourselves into the alphabet soup we can be picked off, one by one.

Paul Bashline

Oklahoma City


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