VOLUME 3, ISSUE 347 | November 18 – 24, 2004

Letters to the editor


November 11, 2004

To the Editor:

Brendan Keane (“The Case for Spiritual Secession,” Gay City News, Nov. 11-17) has missed the point in taking issue with the moralistic tone in Larry Kramer’s directive for gays to stop engaging in drug-fueled, unprotected sex. Mr. Kramer was not making any inherent judgment on sexual experience and its varieties; rather, he specifically was condemning dangerous sexual practices by some in our community that are killing people.

If Mr. Keane believes that all sexual behavior should be exempt from societal judgment—even where that behavior results in widespread suffering and death—then perhaps the Republicans are right: it’s time to focus on values.

Phillip Crawford, Jr.

New York

November 16, 2004

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Keane’s article, I’d like to turn it (and him) on its head:

1. “Some activists from the ‘80s made real gains… but did not succeed in building a culture of beauty which my generation could inherit.” They died. It ain’t beautiful.

2. “My generation only imitates and amplifies the older.” If Mr. Keane had actually read Mr. Kramer’s speech, he makes exactly this point.

3. “The older generation… has two reactions… to youth. The first is to condemn us as forgetful, depraved and ungrateful. The second…is to crave our bodies for their feast, to make whores of us…” Last time I checked, the average age group at a circuit party wasn’t much older than Mr. Keane’s 28. And the rooms at the LGBT Community Center, aren’t filled with these ‘whores’.

Mr. Keane’s arguments are too broad, and stereotypically do what humans do when they don’t like certain types of news: attack. On one hand he cuts the “older generation”, mine being ten whole years than he, out of his life, then turns around and blames them/us for not being there. It is this (dare I say) community-wide immaturity that gets us tackled by the right wing and corporate America EVERY TIME.

We’re here, we’re queer, people are still dying, grow up.

Martin Belk

New York City


Brendan Keane replies: To stop barebacking, Kramer condemns faggots. But these are the lost boys of our community, and there’s a better way to transform their consciousness. Demonizing those who love or fuck obliviously is easy, insensitive to complex motives and provokes dangerous repercussions. Ronald Reagan ignored the faggots because they brought it on themselves. Kramer channels this same spirit in saying he “no longer cares.” At best he invokes Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no.”

Instead, platonic symposia could ignite a cultural revolution to inspire a brotherhood of compassion for the lost boys. Kramer’s speech merely fails them.

November 16, 2004

To the Editor:

I really liked the article by Brendan Keane. His thoughts are a great echo for many of the youth who find themselves in a vicious double bind between sexual exploitation and respect for one’s elders. Most of the members of the older generation in the gay community are just as conditioned by gay AIDS fear commercially as the youth are. Just as homophobic, no more or less socially conscious or sexually addicted. It’s time to quit the us verses them crap and start to get together on common ground and begin the process of healing from the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and economic molestation of society and this government at large.

Xavier Paul



November 11, 2004

To the Editor:

It still amazes me how an attempt to reach those in need warrants attacks not from those it intends to help, but the parasites that prey on them (“Feds Target Chelsea Crystal Use,” by Duncan Osborne, Nov. 4-10).

Lawyers for convicted crystal methamphetamine dealers are complaining about posters depicting their clients as felons in hopes of reaching crystal addicts and those not yet hooked on this new gay plague.

The fact is that these posters only put forth the truth—these men are convicted felons. These criminals have poisoned the gay community over and over again for their own personal gain and these lawyers in turn have had their pockets lined by the same tainted currency.

Unfortunately, I know crystal addicts and their ongoing plights with this scourge. Not only do we need to show the legal consequences of dealing this poison, but we need to stop enticing them with the posters. Many have revealed to me that they walk across the street to avoid a poster depicting a handsome, half-naked man alone by his computer getting high while looking for his next trick because it actually triggers their craving for crystal. Imagine an ad to stop drug use actually increasing it. This has got to stop.

Tom Wolfe


November 13, 2004

To the Editor:

Duncan Osborne’s front page article and the accompanying image of a poster to be distributed by the U.S. District Attorney for Southern New York’s office in a campaign against the distribution of crystal meth would leave the impression that the lesbian and gay community is united in opposition to this campaign. Osborne quotes the usual talking heads that are paid to both educate and treat the addict for the dangers of crystal meth addiction. Each took the position that these posters which feature the name and face of a convicted gay male crystal meth dealer and their prison sentence would not be helpful in dealing with their crystal meth addict client base. Only the Center’s Barbara Warren refused to dismiss the program entirely.

Nowhere in the article was the distinction made between people who profit from the sale of an illegal substance, the dealer, and the person whose addiction leads them to buy an illegal substance.

I believe it critical to present not only the health and social consequences of addiction but to also present the punishment consequences that one can face for dealing illicit drugs. If we can make crystal meth less available it will have the harm reduction that I believe is truly effective.

I certainly agree that treatment is of the highest priority, but it is not the only priority in saving lives from the ravage of drug addiction. My own personal position is to decriminalize the sale of illicit drugs to remove the profit motivation and to open the path to a meaningful treatment agenda.

While institutionalized treatment resources are severely under-funded, there is a free and helpful 12-step program, Crystal Meth Anonymous. It is not the only answer, but in these days of few treatment options it does offer hope to the addict willing to face his or her addictions.

I must also note that unlike the sentences given out for the distribution of small amounts of crack cocaine, the sentences of five to seven years are remarkably fairer that those given to the mostly non-white convicted crack dealers in New York.

Gay City News and particularly Osborne have been vigilant in reporting the crystal meth epidemic in the mostly male, mostly gay, mostly HIV-positive New York City community. May I encourage you to continue with a more nuanced and less “politically correct” coverage?

Jim Fouratt

Member, Circle of Lesbian and Gay Elders

Greenwich Village


November 12, 2004

To the Editor:

I have been mourning the loss of the election to that person in the White House. Part of my dismay is due to my belief that gay people may have, at least in part, contributed to our loss. (Did Gays Cause Kerry to Lose?” by Duncan Osborne, Nov. 11-17). It seems to me that many evangelist/born again Christians or just plain ordinary bigots would have stayed home or even voted for Kerry had the gay ban initiatives not been on the ballot. This was especially important in Ohio where about 50,000 votes would have given Kerry the Electoral College lead.

There are many of us out here who are proud and left-leaning gay men and women who are not in favor of “gay marriage.” We seem to be un-represented in the media. It may seem old fashioned, but marriage is a concept that many of us rejected a long time ago as a government intrusion into the lives of citizens. I totally agree that we should have the rights now associated with legal marriage. But there are other ways to make that happen, and piecemeal, they have been happening in quite a few places all over the country. Most Americans, in polls at least, believe that civil unions are not so threatening.

I say let them keep their word “marriage” if it is so important to them. Who wants it? And if two gay men or two gay women want to marry, then that can be accomplished by a religious ceremony. The legal rights can be won but will take time to win. Civil unions will give us many of those rights in one fell swoop, or we can simply keep our relationships private as many homosexuals choose or must do. This is a “cause” that wastes time, energy and money while more important issues go begging.

We have important work to do in the areas of gays in the military, adoption rights, protecting our kids (and those perceived to be gay) from abuse and bullying, helping to save homeless gay kids and stopping job discrimination and violence against us. Why not be realistic about the unimportance of gay marriage, and, at the same time, get to work on the problems that oppress us daily?

Gregory Norris



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