Letters

From Our Readers: March 2009

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Obama pro and con; saving our history; and more…

JUST THE FACTS

I don’t usually write in to newspapers and magazines, but felt that this occasion warranted breaking that silence. I wanted to thank you for printing the rebuttal information regarding Mark Timmers along with the complaining letter [Letters, “Don’t Let the Facts Get in the Way,” January 2009].

I thought it was absolutely fabulous that you defended yourselves as journalists in checking your facts and that you defended the honor of a wonderful, honorable, and honest man. Mark is a man of great integrity, and it is unfortunate that someone felt the need to continue to attempt to tarnish his reputation as a peace officer.

Again, thank you!

Andrea Washington
Houston

STRIKE UP THE BAND

I was so proud of our new president when I read that members of the Houston Pride Band were invited to participate in the Inaugural Parade. This certainly is a sign of good things to come!

Su Darmody
Detroit, Michigan

MINING OUR HISTORY

The small article in the current issue of OutSmart [News Briefs, “Pre-Civil War Newspaper Article Sheds Historical Perspective on Same-Sex Marriage” by Nancy Ford, January 2009] is very interesting to people interested in understanding history and thinking about same-sex marriage. It is ironic that, apparently, the Transgender Foundation of America’s transgender archive in Houston has a copy of a pre-Civil War newspaper that has an article on two women who fell in love and entered into a domestic co-partnership. The article is from the Newark Daily Advertiser, 1846. Also of interest is the fact that these two women were Millerites, Millerism being a forerunner of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. And to add to the story, we have one woman trying to have the other one arrested when she left, showing the need for legal remedies for domestic disputes. Thank goodness for the archive preserving this material, available at 713 Fargo in Houston. And thank you for letting us know about it.

Billy Glover
Houston

PANHANDLERS, BEWARE

Thanks for exposing the God Bless–HIV/AIDS Awareness scam [“Not–So-Sweet Charity” by Kelly McCann, August 2008]. Now, where is the city of Houston in stopping their activities and prosecuting the head of the scam organization? We shouldn’t have to rely on word of mouth to stop giving to them—they should be stopped by the authorities!

Rebecca Novak
Houston

WAR ON WARREN

As a supportive and loving PFLAG mom with a gay son and a lesbian daughter, I have been following the Rev. Rick Warren fiasco with great interest on various websites and have mentioned it to several people. [This letter was written before the inauguration.] I have come to the following conclusions:

Most straight people and a few gay people have Melissa Etheridge’s tolerant, wait-and-see attitude. They are unwilling to let anything destroy their hopeful attitude for change and are willing to accept President-Elect Obama’s reach for inclusivity. But there are many more gay people who feel deeply hurt and betrayed, and a very few straight people, such as myself and columnists Frank Rich and Richard Cohen, who are quite perturbed and who wonder how a president-elect who claims to be a “fierce advocate for GLBTs” could at the same time choose a pastor who is quite the reverse to deliver the inauguration invocation.

I think Obama truly has no inner understanding/sensitivity of how the passage of Prop 8 punched GLBTs in the stomach, as did the ugly antigay measures that passed in three other states; the lack of any GLBT being appointed to the cabinet; the U.S. being the only Western nation that has refused to support a United Nations declaration decriminalizing homosexuality, thus allying us with Africa and the Middle East in their homophobic prejudices; and the lifetime of fear and second-class citizenship that has wounded GLBTs. Obama doesn’t realize how this additional spit in their faces is so deeply offensive.

Obama looked virtuous to many by reaching out to those who disagree with him. He and his supporters seem to think that the Warren invocation is a small, passing issue—unfortunate, yes, but not something to get really upset about. After all, Warren was not appointed to a cabinet post. . . .

Just as it is impossible for most white people to understand their white privilege and why black people are so aware of it, and why most males think their gender privilege is justified, I believe that most straight people are unable to grasp their heterosexual privilege and why GLBTs are upset. After all, GLBTs have had second- and third-class citizenship for years; they can just wait a little longer. Some GLBT people are so accustomed to being relegated to the back of the bus that they can’t imagine fussing about it, either. Or they refuse to lose hope of the possibility of Obama’s supporting at least some of their issues.

The gay-friendly straight people I talk to simply can’t see what the big hullabaloo is about; they see it as a minor thing because it’s not personal to them; they or their family members are not the ones suffering from a loss of rights or the feeling of being devalued by a president in whom they had invested so much hope and energy. I can only hope that this ugly snub to gay people is not the start of further similar incidents and that Obama’s message of change will include GLBTs as well.

Sue Null
Brevard, North Carolina

Editor’s note: Formerly active with PFLAG-Houston,

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